Think of Egypt, and the first thing that probably comes to mind is pharaohs, pyramids, and camels. But while those are all part of classic Egyptian culture, the country’s cuisine and the Egyptian food are much more than that.
Egyptian food is one of the best ways to experience Egypt’s culture. If you’re traveling to Egypt, here are 30 dishes you won’t want to miss! From savory meats and dips to sweet pastries and desserts, there’s something for everyone on this list.
So put on your stomach braver and start planning your culinary journey through Egypt!
- Food in Nigeria
- Food in Iran
- Food in Morocco
- Food in Tunisia
- Food in South Africa
- Food in Uganda
- Food in Kenya
Egyptian food: 30 Unmissable Foods To Sample In Egypt
While Egyptian food may not be as popular in the English-speaking world, the food culture and traditions in Egypt are well established and loved throughout the Arab world and the Middle East.
This is partly due to the rich historical, cultural, and political influence that the world’s largest Arabic-speaking nation has had in the greater region.
In fact, many famous dishes and foods made all over the Middle East trace their roots back to Egypt. Some examples are foul, Barbossa, and Um Ali.
To help you navigate this list of Egyptian food, we divided it into three different categories:
- Meat & Seafood Dishes
- Vegetarian Dishes
- Sweets & Desserts
- Famous Drinks
I hope this helps. So, let’s discover the tastiest Egyptian foods.
Egyptian Meat & Seafood Dishes
While many people think of Egypt as a desert country, the Nile River Delta provides fertile land for agriculture and produces some of the best meat and seafood in the region.
Here we’ll highlight some of the most popular Egyptian meat and seafood dishes that you need to try on your next trip to Egypt. So put on your bib and get ready to dig in!
1. Hawawshi (Egyptian Stuffed Pita Bread)
Do you like food that is spicy and flavorful? If so, you’ll love the Egyptian famous dish Hawawshi. This dish is made with ground beef or lamb, onions, diced tomatoes, and a variety of spices stuffed in pita bread.
Named after his inventor, Hawawshi became one of Egypt’s traditional foods. You can find Hawawshi everywhere you go in Egypt. It’s usually served in most local restaurants in the country.
If you’re looking for an authentic Egyptian food experience, be sure to try hawawshi!
2. Hamam Mahshi (Egyptian Stuffed Pigeon)
Travelers sometimes find this Egyptian food strange. While there are some familiar dishes, such as Shawarma and Falafel, much of the food is unique to Egypt.
One popular dish that often confuses foreigners is Hamam Mahshi. This dish consists of pigeons stuffed with rice, nuts, and spices. While it may seem strange at first, Hamam Mahshi is a delicious and hearty dish that everyone should try!
Hamam Mahshi is been served in Egypt for decades now. This savory dish is an important part of Egyptian cuisine, especially during local celebrations.
If you’re ever in Egypt, be sure to order this dish at a local restaurant. You won’t regret it!
3. Egyptian Shawarma
When people think of Egyptian food, the first dish that comes to mind is usually the Egyptian (Arabic) Shawarma. However, the Shawarma is not native to Egypt. It was first brought but the Ottomans to become an integral food in Egyptian cuisine and culture.
The Arabic shawarma is a type of sandwich made with roasted meat, such as lamb, beef, chicken, or turkey. It’s then served in a pita bread wrap with salad and fries.
In Egypt, Shawarma is popular street food and is easily found in local cafes, restaurants, and street vendors.
4. Egyptian Kebab and Kofta
Think about the one favorite Egyptian dish you would pick. What dish comes to mind? For me, it’s a tough decision, but I think I would pick the Egyptian kebab & kofta.
A plate of Kebab and Kofta in Egypt includes both grilled pieces of lamb and ground beef or lamb rolled on a skewer like a sausage and grilled. The dish is normally served with a fresh vegetable salad containing chopped tomatoes, onions, and lettuce.
This meat combination dish is a staple of Egyptian cuisine, and it’s absolutely delicious. If you’re visiting Egypt, be sure to try it.
5. Kebda Eskandarani (Egyptian liver Dish)
While Shawarma and Kofta-Kebab dishes are definitely popular foods in Egypt, there are many other delicious Egyptian dishes to try as well. One of them is Kebda Eskandarani.
Kebda Eskandarani is the perfect meal for adventurous eaters. This dish is made of beef liver, onions, and seasonings like cumin, garlic, cardamom, and chili peppers.
Kebda Eskandarani is tasty street food in Egypt usually served in sandwiches along with Tahini dip but Egyptians cook it at home as well and serve it with pita bread and rice on the side.
Kebda Eskandarani is definitely a must-try for any food lover visiting Egypt. So be sure to add it to your list of Egyptian dishes to try!
6. Sayadieh (Egyptian Fish Biryani)
When it comes to food, Egypt is a country that has something for everyone. There are traditional Egyptian foods like Koshary and Falafel, as well as international favorites like Shawarma and Kebabs.
But one of the most famous Egyptian dishes is Sayadieh Fish, a seasoned fish and rice dish. The Egyptian Sayadieh was inherited from Lebanese cuisine to become one of the popular Egyptian foods today.
Let’s think about the Egyptian Sayadieh fish as a version of the Indian fish Biryani but with Middle Eastern spices. This traditional dish is normally cooked on special occasions but it can be ordered in restaurants, especially in coastal cities like Alexandria.
7. Bamia (Egyptian Okra Stew)
Bamia is one of the many iconic dishes in Egyptian cuisine. A hearty traditional stew made with okra and beef or lamb, Bamia is perfect for cold winter days.
But don’t wait until the cold weather hits to try this dish – Bamia is delicious all year round! If you’re looking for a hearty, Egyptian flavorful meal that will transport you to the streets of Cairo, look no further than Egyptian Bamia.
Vegetarian/Vegan Egyptian Dishes
If you’re a vegetarian or vegan visiting Egypt, you’ll be happy to know that there is a wealth of Egyptian vegan restaurants to enjoy healthy vegan and vegetarian foods in the country.
So, let’s dive into some of the most delicious and filling vegetarian/vegan foods in Egypt.
1. Koshari (Egyptian National Food)
When you’re in Egypt, you have to try Koshari. This national Egyptian food is a must-sample for anyone visiting the country.
This 19th-century dish is an exceptional combination of Italian, Indian, and middles eastern ingredients. Koshari is made up of lentils, rice, and macaroni mixed with a tomato-based sauce. It’s usually topped with chickpeas, fried onions, and spicy tomato sauce.
Koshari is widely popular street food in Egypt. If you see locals lined up somewhere, don’t wonder, it’s just a Kushari shop.
2. Fiteer Meshaltet (Egyptian Pizza)
As you walk the streets of Cairo, you’ll quickly notice how loved and popular food is. There’s always someone selling something delicious, and sometimes it can be tough to know where to start.
For a true Egyptian food experience, you can’t go wrong with fiteer Meshaltet. This dish is made up of several layers of thin filo dough filled with cheese, vegetables, or meat that’s cooked in a brick oven until crispy and served hot.
Sounds amazing, right? Trust us, it is! Give fiteer Meshaltet a try during your next visit to Cairo. Don’t forget to order it without meat.
3. Baba Ganoush (Egyptian Roasted Eggplant Dip)
Egyptian food is some of the most flavorful in the world, and Baba Ganoush is no exception. It’s a delicious Egyptian dish made from finely chopped roasted eggplants, tahini, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice.
Baba Ganouch is usually served as a side dish or appetizer in Egypt but it can be a perfect light meal by itself with some Egyptian bread on the side.
4. Ful Medames (Egyptian Fava Beans)
In Egypt, I found Ful Medames to be a representation of authentic local food. It is a cheap and easy-to-get meal for everyone in the country, and it’s perfect for budget travelers. Plus, it’s absolutely delicious!
This dish is made from fava beans and loaded with flavors coming from cumin, fresh herbs, and lemon-garlic sauce. It’s usually served with bread, and olive oil.
5. Tamiya (Egyptian Falafel)
To entertain your taste buds with some good Egyptian food, Try Tamiya.
This simple Egyptian falafel dish is made of deep-fried fava beans, green peas, onions, and spices mixed. It can be served as a main course or appetizer.
Tamiya is the all-time favorite Egyptian street food. It can be found throughout Egypt at local restaurants, street stalls, and cafes.
You will notice that Ful Medames and Tamiya always go together as it is the local tradition.
6. Mulukhiyah (Egyptian Mallow Leaves stew)
It does look unappetizing but if Egyptians love it you should give it a try! Mulukhiyah is a popular Egyptian food made from jute mallow leaves. The leaves are boiled with some chicken or beef (or without) and then served with rice or alone.
The Egyptian Mulukhiyah has a unique, earthy flavor that travel enthusiasts will love to sample during their visit to Egypt.
7. Bessara (Egyptian Fava Beans Dip)
There’s no better way to get a true sense of the Egyptian culture and its people than through their food. And if you’re looking to explore the richness of Egyptian cuisine, there’s no dish more iconic than the creamy Bessara.
Rooted in Egyptian history, this soup is made with fava beans, garlic, and lemon juice, and it’s absolutely delicious. Having Bessara on a cold day is an authentic Egyptian experience.
Probably not served everywhere in the country but worth a try if you find it.
8. Shakshouka (Egyptian Tomato and Eggs Dish)
You have no idea what to order for breakfast in Egypt, Shakshouka is a great dish for breakfast or a brunch. The vegetarian egg-based meal is loaded with fresh flavors and spices.
Shakshouka is a North African and Middle Eastern dish where many countries have the same recipe but it’s slightly different.
Shakshouka in Egypt is basically one-pot meat made of eggs, a tomato sauce, olive oil, peppers, onion, garlic, cumin, paprika, and fresh herbs.
9. Mahshi Warak Enab (Egyptian Stuffed Vine Leaves)
Well, let me introduce you to Mahshi Warak Enab. It’s a traditional Egyptian dish made from vine leaves stuffed with minced meat (the vegetarian option is just with rice), rice, chopped vegetables, and spices. Sound exotic enough for you? Thought so! If this dish doesn’t whet your appetite for exploration, I don’t know what will.
Just you know, Mahshi Warak Enab is a Turkish dish of origin. It was brought to the Middle East by the Ottomans in the 14th century. So, it is quite an ancient food in Egypt.
10. Duqqa or dukkah (Egyptian Spice Mix)
Duqqa, or dukkah, is a spice mix used in Egyptian cuisine. It typically contains ground nuts (such as hazelnuts, pistachios, or almonds), seeds (such as sesame seeds or poppy seeds), and spices (such as cumin, coriander, or cardamom).
Duqqa can be eaten raw as a snack with coffee or tea or added to soups, stews, or salads.
11. Tehina (Egyptian Sesame Dip)
Tehina is a famous dip in Egypt that is worth sampling. The dip is made of ground sesame seeds, giving it a delicious and subtly nutty flavor, lemon juice, and garlic.
Tahina dip is often eaten with bread or pita chips, and can also be used as a sauce or dressing for Tamiya (Falafel), Shawarma, and many other Egyptian dishes.
12. Hummus (Egyptian chickpeas Dip)
Hummus dip is a must-try for anyone visiting Egypt. This popular dish is made from mashed chickpeas, tahini sauce, olive oil, garlic, and lemon juice and can be eaten with pita bread or veggies.
While there are many variations of hummus dip, all versions are packed with flavor and nutrients. So if you’re looking for something tasty and healthy to eat while in Egypt, be sure to give hummus dip a try!
13. Eggah (Egyptian Fritatta)
One of the least popular but super tasty foods in Egypt is Eggah. Described as an omelet or frittata, Eggah can be made with a variety of ingredients, including vegetables, meat, and cheese but the vegetarian one is most common in the country.
While there are many variations of Eggah throughout Egypt, all versions are sure to tantalize your taste buds. So if you’re looking for an authentic and hidden Egyptian food experience, go to a local eatery and have Eggah.
14. Eish Baladi (Egyptian Traditional Bread)
There are many types of Eish or bread in Egypt. Egyptians use bread to scoop up food and dips and to make wraps and sandwiches.
The most famous one is Eish Baladi. It is a kind of pita bread that is consumed heavily in the country making it a must-try local food when you visit Egypt.
If you are wondering where can you try it, don’t worry. Eish Baladi is served with many Egyptian foods like Ful Medames, Tamiya, and many more.
Egyptian Sweets & Desserts
If you’re looking for a sweet and delicious way to end your sightseeing day in Egypt, look no further than our Egyptian desserts list.
From Baklava to Basbousa, there’s an endless choice in between. So if you’re exploring Egypt, be sure to sample some of the local Egyptian sweets and indulge in a bit of luxury. Who knows, you might just find your new favorite dessert!
1. Umm Ali
One Egyptian dessert you absolutely must try is Umm Ali – a scrumptious dessert made with bread, milk, sugar, and nuts.
Umm Ali means “Ali’s Mother“. and I think who invented this delicious treat has a son named Ali. Anyway, once you taste it you will care less about the name.
2. Egyptian Basbousa
Basbousa is a Middle Eastern dessert that originates from Egypt. This delicious treat is made with semolina, sugar, butter, and nuts.
Basbousa can be enjoyed during any time of the year, but it is especially popular during Ramadan (the holy fasting month for Muslims). If you are looking for a sweet treat to enjoy while in Egypt, be sure to try Basbousa!
3. Egyptian Baklava
If you’re looking for a delicious, exotic treat to sink your teeth into while in Egypt, look no further than baklava.
This Egyptian sweet pastry is made of filo dough filled with nuts and coated in honey syrup, and it’s absolutely irresistible. Baklava is found all over the country, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to try it during your travels.
4. Kanafeh (Egytpian Kunafa with Cream)
This unique Egyptian dessert is made of shredded filo pastry (Kataifi), cheese (Kishtah), and soaked in a sweet syrup (Sharabat).
Knafeh or Kunafa is popular in many other countries including Turkey but the Egyptian version is extremely delicious and creamy.
Travelers, tourists, and food enthusiasts of all kinds should add Egyptian Kanafeh to their list of must-try culinary experiences.
Egyptian Famous Drinks
1. Karkadeh (Egyptian Hibiscus Tea)
Karkadeh is a traditional Egyptian drink made from boiling dried red hibiscus flowers, the water is then chilled. Sugar is added and this drink can also be enjoyed hot like herbal tea.
Karkadeh tea is known to be very healthy as it’s high in vitamin C and minerals.
2. Fresh Juices
Fresh juices are widely popular in Egypt, especially in Cairo. Almost every street will have a small shop or a stall offering freshly squeezed fruit juices. If you are traveling in Egypt during summer, it can be super refreshing to just grab a fresh juice on the go.
3. Aseer Asab (Egyptian Sugarcane Juice)
Sugarcane juice is one of the most popular street drinks in Egypt and many other countries in the Middle East and Africa. No wonder why. It’s pure sugar in a cup!
Sugarcane juice is obtained by using a special machine to squeeze a sugarcane stick to take out all the sweet goodness inside. The juice is squeezed in front of your eyes which is an entertaining thing to see.
Don’t worry about how sweet the juice is because it’s not the sugar you know, this one is the healthy sugar.
4. Sahlab (Egyptian Milky Drink)
Sahlab is a wintertime drink in Egypt. It’s made of milk, corn starch for the thick texture, and a lot of sugar and then popped up with some flavors such as cinnamon, nuts, or raisins.
Sahlab is a great Egyptian drink to warm up during chilly days while traveling. The drink can be ordered at almost every coffee shop or restaurant in winter.
5. Egyptian tea (Koshary & Saidii Tea)
Tea or Shai in Egyptian is by far the most popular drink in Egypt. Depending on which part of Egypt you are in, the Shai you will be served will be either Koshsary or Saidii.
Koshary Shai is generally the preferred tea in the northern part of Egypt. It is a lighter tea, that is prepared by the steeping tea leaves in hot water. Sugar is always added in copious amounts. Sometimes, mint leaves are added to make the tea refreshing.
Saidii Shai is common in the southern part of Egypt. Unlike the Koshary Shai which is steeped, Saidii Shai is boiled in hot water for a very long time. The tea is extremely bitter and strong.
Egyptians add a lot of sugar to Saidii Shai to balance the bitterness of this intense tea. Milk is never added to tea in Egypt, whether is Koshary or Saidii tea.
What’s Egypt’s National Food?
While there are many different dishes that could be considered Egypt’s national food, one of the most popular dishes is Koshari. This tasty comfort food is a mix of lentils, rice, and macaroni topped with a savory tomato sauce.
Ful and Tamiya is also another popular combination of food in Egypt that may be considered the second national food in the country.
Famous Egyptian Foods!
Did you know that one of the most popular dishes in Egypt is Ful Medames? It’s usually eaten for breakfast, but it can also be a snack or a light dinner.
This Egypt is famous for many other unique dishes including Tamiya, Koshary, and Beshak.
While Koshary is considered by many the national dish of Egypt, Foul is the most loved Egyptian food by locals.
If you want to try and make some of these great Egyptian foods, why not try out one of the many Egyptian cookbooks out there?
From traditional dishes to modern recipes, I found 5 amazing Egyptian cookbooks that will introduce you to all sorts of flavors and cooking techniques unique to Egypt. Happy cooking!
- Eat, Habibi, Eat!: Fresh Recipes for Modern Egyptian Cooking
- The Pharaoh’s Kitchen: Recipes from Ancient Egypts Enduring Food Traditions
- The Taste of Egypt: Home Cooking from the Middle East
- My Egyptian Grandmother’s Kitchen: Traditional Dishes Sweet and Savory
- Bilhana: Wholefood Recipes from Egypt, Lebanon, and Morocco
Favorite Food Tours In Egypt
- Food Tour in Local Cairo Life with Egyptian tea
- Cairo Food Tour; experience the Egyptian street food
- Private Cooking Class Experience
Over To You!
While the cuisine of this North African country isn’t as well known as, say, French or Italian cuisine, it’s definitely worth seeking out.
Whether you’re craving a spicy entrée or something sweet, this list of Egyptian food dishes will have you covered. We hope it helps satisfy your appetite for the exotic and flavorful cuisine found in Egypt.
If you think we missed any other tasty-sounding items on our list, please let us know!
Sehha w Hana! (Bon Appetit)
Save This Post On Pinterest!
No time to read this guide on the best food in Egypt? Save it on Pinterest to read it later!