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Unveiling the Hidden Delights: Egyptian Dishes You Must Experience

Egyptian Dishes You Probably Haven’t Tried But Should

Egyptian cuisine is a treasure trove of flavors and culinary traditions shaped by centuries of history and diverse influences. From the fertile Nile Valley to the bustling streets of Cairo, Egypt offers a wide variety of dishes that are sure to tantalize your taste buds. In this article, we’ll explore some lesser-known Egyptian dishes that you probably haven’t tried, but should.

Koshary: Egypt’s national dish

One dish that stands out as Egypt’s national favorite is koshary. This vegetarian pasta dish combines macaroni noodles, lentils, rice, chickpeas, vinegar and tomato sauce, all topped with fried onions. The combination of flavors and textures in Koshary is simply delightful. Whether you enjoy it in a restaurant or from a street vendor, koshary is a must-try Egyptian dish that will leave you wanting more.

Full Medames: A popular breakfast stew

Ful medames is a simple yet satisfying breakfast stew made with fava beans seasoned with lemon juice, olive oil and garlic. This nutritious dish has been popular in Egypt for thousands of years and can also be enjoyed as a snack or during Ramadan. Pair it with Arabic bread and pickled vegetables for a traditional Egyptian street food experience.

Belila: A Versatile Egyptian Breakfast

Belila, also known as wheat porridge, is a popular Egyptian breakfast that can be eaten as a snack or even as a dessert. Made with whole wheat berries soaked in hot water and topped with roasted nuts, aniseed, raisins, cinnamon, and more, Belila is a high-fiber, low-calorie option that will satisfy your sweet tooth. You can find creative variations of belila at restaurants like La Zisa, where it is served with raisins, frosting, hot vanilla milk, and nuts.

Shakshuka: A spicy egg dish

Shakshuka is a tomato-based dish cooked with onions, herbs, and spices, with eggs poached in the savory sauce. While shakshuka is popular throughout the Middle East and North Africa, the Egyptian version stands out. In Egypt, the eggs are mixed into the tomato sauce base, resulting in scrambled eggs. This thicker consistency is perfect for turning shakshuka into a delicious sandwich. Enjoy it for breakfast, lunch, dinner or as a quick snack.

Molokhia Soup: A Majestic Leafy Green

Molokhia is a leafy green plant native to Egypt with a taste and texture similar to okra. It has been a popular ingredient in Egyptian cuisine since the time of the ancient pharaohs. Molokhia leaves are cooked with garlic, coriander, and chicken or rabbit meat, and sometimes shrimp in coastal cities like Alexandria. This nutritious soup is often served with rice or bread and a slice of lemon or lime for a satisfying and flavorful meal.

Hawawshi: A savory meat sandwich

The Hawawshi sandwich is a savory delight invented by Egyptian butcher Muhammad Al-Hawawsh in Cairo. Seasoned ground meat and vegetables are stuffed into a pocket of traditional Egyptian baladi bread and baked to perfection. This iconic sandwich quickly spread throughout Egypt, with variations appearing over the years. In Alexandria, the minced meat mixture is stuffed into the dough, creating a delicious combination of flavors and textures. Hawawshi is a must-try street food that captures the essence of Egyptian culinary traditions.

Kebda Eskandarani: A spicy liver sandwich

Originating in Alexandria, Kebda Eskandarani is a meat sandwich beloved by Egyptians. Marinated chopped liver is sautéed with peppers and onions, placed on a bun, and topped with tahini sauce. This spicy and tangy sandwich is a favorite of locals and visitors alike. Despite its cholesterol content, liver offers several health benefits and is a unique addition to your culinary adventures in Egypt.

Taameya: Egypt’s tasty cousin to the falafel

While falafel has gained international popularity, its Egyptian cousin, taameya, offers a unique twist on this popular Middle Eastern chickpea fritter. Instead of chickpeas, taameya is made with mashed fava beans, leeks, onions, coriander, parsley, and cumin. The mixture is then fried to perfection, resulting in a lighter and less dry texture compared to falafel. Enjoy taameya by itself or in a pocket of bread with vegetables, greens, and a drizzle of tahini sauce. This flavorful dish is a testament to Egypt’s culinary prowess.

Discover the richness of Egyptian cuisine

Egyptian cuisine is a delightful fusion of flavors, ingredients and culinary techniques passed down through generations. From the hearty and comforting koshary to the vibrant and spicy taameya, each dish tells a story and represents a unique aspect of Egyptian culture.
Exploring the lesser-known Egyptian dishes mentioned in this article will not only introduce you to new flavors, but also allow you to appreciate the rich history and diversity of Egyptian cuisine. Whether you’re a vegetarian looking for flavorful plant-based options or a meat lover seeking savory delights, Egypt has something to offer everyone.
The next time you are planning your culinary adventures, consider adding these Egyptian dishes to your list. Step out of your comfort zone and into the vibrant and aromatic world of Egyptian cuisine. From the bustling streets of Cairo to the tranquil banks of the Nile, let the flavors of Egypt transport you to a culinary paradise.
Remember, food is not just sustenance; it’s a gateway to culture, tradition, and connection. So grab a fork, dive into a plate of koshary, savor the creamy goodness of ful medames, and embark on a gastronomic journey through the land of the Pharaohs. You’ll be pleasantly surprised by the hidden gems that await you in the world of Egyptian cuisine.


Egyptian cuisine is a true reflection of the country’s rich history, diverse influences and vibrant culinary traditions. From the beloved national dish of Koshary to lesser-known delicacies such as Belila and Hawawshi, Egypt offers a wealth of tastes and experiences just waiting to be discovered.
By venturing beyond the familiar and trying these Egyptian dishes, you’ll not only expand your culinary horizons, but also gain a deeper appreciation for the cultural significance of food. So the next time you have the opportunity to explore Egyptian cuisine, grab it with open arms and an empty stomach. You won’t be disappointed!


Egyptian cuisine is unique because of its rich history and diverse influences. Located at the crossroads of Africa and Asia, Egypt has been a melting pot of cultures for millennia. The cuisine combines flavors and techniques from Mediterranean, Middle Eastern and African culinary traditions, resulting in a distinctive and flavorful gastronomic experience.

Are there vegetarian options in Egyptian cuisine?

Yes, Egyptian cuisine offers a wide variety of vegetarian options. Many popular Egyptian dishes are based on fresh vegetables, legumes and grains. Dishes such as koshary, ful medames, and taameya are delicious vegetarian options that showcase the richness of Egyptian flavors without the need for meat.

What are some of the traditional Egyptian breakfast dishes?

Traditional Egyptian breakfast dishes include Ful medames, a spicy stew of fava beans, along with Egyptian bread, cheese, olives and pickled vegetables. Belila, a wheat porridge topped with nuts and spices, is also a popular choice. Shakshuka, a dish of eggs poached in a tomato-based sauce, is another favorite for a hearty and satisfying breakfast.

Where can I find these dishes?

You can find these Egyptian dishes in various places throughout Egypt. Local restaurants and street vendors are excellent places to try authentic Egyptian cuisine. Cities like Cairo and Alexandria also have specialized food markets and restaurants that focus on traditional Egyptian dishes. Exploring the local food scene will give you the opportunity to taste the diverse flavors of Egypt.

What is the significance of koshary in Egyptian cuisine?

Koshary holds a special place in Egyptian cuisine as it is often considered the national dish of Egypt. Its unique combination of macaroni noodles, lentils, rice, chickpeas and a spicy tomato sauce, topped with fried onions, creates a harmonious blend of textures and flavors. Koshary represents the diversity and culinary heritage of Egypt and is a must-try dish for anyone exploring Egyptian cuisine.

Can I modify these dishes to accommodate dietary restrictions?

Yes, many Egyptian dishes can be adapted to meet dietary restrictions. Vegetarian options are readily available, and dishes can be customized to exclude certain ingredients or to accommodate specific dietary needs. For example, you can request less spice or omit certain allergens. It’s always a good idea to let the chef or server know about your dietary needs to ensure an enjoyable dining experience.

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