The best of Egyptian cuisine

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Egyptians take great pride in their national cuisine. Egyptian cooking is associated with its long, ancient history and much of the traditional cooking techniques and ingredients are a reminder of these classical times. Trying the local cuisine is an essential part of Egypt holidays. If you’re planning a Trip to Egypt on your holidays, make sure you eat well on your trip with our quick guide. We take a look at ten of the most popular and best tasting examples of Egyptian cuisine.

Egyptian food tends to include a lot of vegetables, mostly because the fertile lands surrounding the Nile make for rich crops. Main dishes often include beans and legumes and are seasoned heavily with garlic and onion, which dates from ancient cooking styles.

1. Bread. Bread has been a mainstay in Egyptian diets since ancient times. Meals are nearly always served with bread and this is considered to be the heart of the meal. The main bread is a thick pita style called Eish Balad, which roughly translates as ‘alive’.

Bread is seen as a central food for life and an essential item in Egyptian Cuisine. One of the reasons for the popularity of bread is that it can be used as a utensil. Pitas are convenient for holding other local dishes, such as falafels or kebabs.

2. Falafel. Not only eaten in Egypt but common in many parts of the Eastern Mediterranean. Falafel are deep fried chick pea balls that fit perfectly in a pita and make an ideal starter or side dish.

3. Kabab, also known as Kofte. Kabab traditionally involves lamb cuts grilled on skewers. It is common for this meat to then be enjoyed in a pita bread.

4. Mahshi Hamam is made by stuffing pigeon with rice and then roasting the bird. This dish is very popular in all parts of Egypt.

5. Mashi Waraaenab. Instead of putting it inside meat, the rice in this dish is mixed with either beef or vegetables and the stuffed into grape leaves and heavily seasoned. It is then topped with a tomato sauce.

6. Alexandrian Fish. In Alexandria, fish is very common and famous fish dishes from this are include Samak Mashway, which is simply grilled fish and Samak Makly, which is fried fish.

7. Tagin. This dish can be found all over North Africa. It derives its name from the pot (tagin) in which the food is cooked and can include a variety of ingredients such as beef, lamb, chickpeas, broad beans and a selection of vegetables.

8. Tahin is a sesame paste made from ground sesame seeds and is so prevalent that it is used where the British may have butter or mayonnaise as a moistening agent.

9. Koshari is a very popular dish in Egypt. It is traditionally made using lentils, rice, garlic and onion and then topped with a tomato sauce. Koshari doesn’t date as far back as ancient times, but it thought to have been brought to Egypt from India by British troops.

10. Basbousa is an example of a popular Egyptian dessert, although it can be found in many other countries in North Africa and the Eastern Mediterranean. Basbousa is made from semolina and is enhanced with spice and sugar syrup

A country so rich in history is almost certainly going to offer a wide selection of local delicacies that are created with traditional and age old cooking techniques. The widespread use of bread from ancient times and classical techniques such tagin cooking can still be experienced today. Making good use of seasoning, age old styles and local crops, Egyptian cuisine is rich in both flavour and history.

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