Egypt Guide
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History and food :
Thousands of years ago, ancient Egyptians left evidence of their love for food. Well-preserved wall paintings and carvings have been discovered on tombs and temples, depicting large feasts and a variety of foods. Many of these ancient foods are still eaten in Egyptian households today. Peas, beans, cucumbers, dates, figs, and grapes were popular fruits and vegetables in ancient times. Wheat and barley, ancient staple crops, were used to make bread and beer. Fish and poultry were also popular. Dried fish was prepared by cleaning the fish, coating the pieces with salt, and placing them the sun to dry. Fasieekh (salted, dried fish) remained a popular meal in Egypt as of 2000.

The unique Egyptian cuisine has been influenced throughout history, particularly by its neighbors from the Middle East.

Persians (modern-day Iraqis), Greeks, Romans (modern-day Italians), Arabs, and Ottomans (from modern-day Turkey) first influenced Egyptian cuisine thousands of years ago. More recently, the foods of other Arabic people in the Middle East such as the Lebanese, Palestinians, Syrians, as well as some foods from Europe, have affected the Egyptian diet. However, Egyptian cuisine maintains its uniqueness. After thousands of years, rice and bread remain staple foods, and molokhiyya (a spinach-like vegetable) and ful mudammas (cooked, creamy fava beans), a national dish, are nearly as popular as long ago.

Foods Of The Egyptians

If you're lucky, you may be invited to dine in an Egyptian home. There are no set times for dinner; often hours will depend upon your host's profession. Although invitations may be issued for as late as 0100, generally if no time is set, guests are expected between 2100-2200 hours. If you wish, you may bring flowers, chocolates, or a bottle of wine (if you hosts drink--many Muslims do not). You will be introduced to other guests and perhaps the host's entire family, many of whom will not stay to eat.

Dining customs vary throughout the country, so try to follow examples set by your host and any fellow guests. Depending upon the family's own customs and the size of the party, men and women may split up for  cocktails  (nonalcoholic drinks in strict Muslim homes)  and  then

rejoin at the dinner table, where seating is usually random. All the food is set in the middle of the table at the beginning of the meal. If no silverware is provided, use your bread as a combination fork and spoon. Guests are not expected to clear their plates, and you'll need to refuse more than once to convince your host that you really can't eat anymore. Complimenting the hostess on her cooking skills as well as (for women) asking her for recipes are in good taste and appreciated. After dinner, guests remove from the dining room to drink mint tea or coffee. Wait at least a half-hour from the end of the meal before you take you leave; compliment the cook again, and extend your thanks (alf shokren).

Although Egyptian eating habits may seem erratic, most natives begin the day with a light breakfast of beans ,Ta'meya , eggs, and/or pickles, cheeses, and jams. Most families eat their large, starchy lunch around 14:00-17:00 and follow it with a siesta. They may take a British-style tea at 17:00 or 18:00 and eat a light supper (often leftovers from lunch) late in the evening. Dinner parties, however, are scheduled late, often no earlier than 21:00, with the meal served an hour or two later. In restaurants lunch is normally 13:00-16:00, dinner 20:00-24:00.

In Egypt, dining out can range from stand-up sandwich bars to luxurious five-course meals. You can find small, inexpensive establishments that serve good Egyptian food for only a few pounds. If you're in a hurry, try the local snack bars. While the cubbyholes off the street (which probably have running water) are generally safe. The larger cities even have Western-style fast-food chains like McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken, but they're relatively expensive. In cities both food and water are safe although the change in your diet may produce short-term gastrointestinal upsets.

Snack Bars
Throughout Egypt, little stand-up shops dispense the Egyptian version of the fast food. Most of these shops in major cities are clean and offer quick, inexpensive, and nutritious meals. Most shops have helpful staff, but during their busy times you may have to push your way into the pack of Egyptians to get waited on. You can buy roasted chickens that the shop will season for you. You can also get shawirma (Gyros), lamb cooked on a vertical split, available most of the day.

The Egyptians make a variety of meat (lahhma), vegetable (khudaar), and fish (samak) soups known collectively as shurbah, and all are delicious.

Native Foods
Egyptian food reflects the country's melting-pot history; native cooks using local ingredients have modified Greek, Turkish, Lebanese, Palestinian, and Syrian traditions to suit Egyptian budgets, customs, and tastes. The dishes are simple; made with naturally ripened fruits and vegetables and seasoned with fresh spices, they're good and hearty. food in the south, closely linked to North African cuisine, is more zesty than that found in the north, but neither is especially hot. The best cooking is often found in the smaller towns. Although Egyptian cooking can be bland and oily when poorly done, most of the cuisine is delicious. Enjoy !!!!!

(Bread )

Aish, the Arabic name for (bread) , means "life."  The bread comes in several forms. The most common is a pita type made either with refined white flour called aysh shami, or with coarse, whole wheat, aysh baladi. Stuffed with any of several fillings, it becomes the Egyptian sandwich. Aysh shams is bread made from leavened dough allowed to rise in the sun, while plain aysh comes in long, skinny, French-style loaves. If you find yourself faced with hard, dry aysh, do like the Egyptians: soften it in water, and if you have a fire available, warm it over the open flame.
EGYPTIAN ONION BREAD  : The Egyptians have always been extremely fond of onions as a food; the ancients respecting ... layer cake tins, if desired.
Ingredients: 9  (eggs .. flour .. salt .. seeds ...)

Ful Mudammas
(Broad Beans in Sauce)

Along with aysh, the native bean supplies most of Egypt's people with their daily rations. Ful can be cooked several ways: in ful midamess, the whole beans are boiled, with vegetables if desired, and then mashed with onions, tomatoes, and spices.

This mixture is often served with an egg for breakfast, without the egg for other meals . A similar sauce, cooked down into a paste and stuffed into aysh baladi, is the filling for the sandwiches sold on the street. Alternatively, ful beans are soaked, minced, mixed with spices, formed into patties (called ta'miyya in Cairo and falaafil in Alexandria), and deep-fried. These patties, garnished with tomatoes, lettuce, and tihina sauce, are stuffed into aysh and sold on the street.

  • Ingredients :
  • 2 cans (15-ounce each) cooked fava beans
  • 6 cloves garlic, or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 1½ Tablespoons parsley, minced
  • Garnish, such as radishes, hard-boiled eggs, chopped scallions, pita bread (toasted and cut into wedges) .
  • Procedure :
  • Press the garlic cloves through a garlic press into a medium bowl.
  • Mash the garlic and salt together.
  • Next, add the lemon juice, olive oil, and parsley to the garlic mixture and combine thoroughly.
  • Drain the beans well, rinse, and put beans into a large pot over low heat.
  • Add garlic mixture and stir with a wooden spoon to combine thoroughly.
  • Serve warm with the garnishes arranged on a platter.
  • Each person is served a plateful of Ful Mudammas and adds the garnishes of his or her choice.
Koshary (Lentils, Macaroni, Rice, and Chickpeas),  "A Famous Egyptian Dish"

Egypt has a vast selection of street foods. You might opt for a plain baked potato served from an oven on back of a cart, followed by a sticky pastry from the vendor to his right. Or you might head over to a store front to pick up a shawarma - the local variant of gyros or donner kebab, strips of meat shaved off into a pitta and topped with tahina. There are plenty of impromptu juice bars around to supply you with a fresh orange to slake your thirst.
One meal that rapidly became a favourite with me and my friends was koshary (or kushari).

This was not something that I had ever come across before, but proved to be cheap, filling, and tasty. It is also free of meat... though whether that means it is 100% suitable for vegetarians is a matter on which I would not like to speculate. Koshary joints are backstreet affairs selling only the one dish.

At its most basic level, koshary is nothing more than a mixture of macaroni, rice, noodles, lentils and onion. Dished out from the one large bowl you are then free to top your meal off with a tomato-ey sauce, chilli sauce, and vinegar. And it is great.

You might as well for the large, as the prices are LE5 and LE3 respectively (equivalent to 50p or 30p in sterling).  However, I can genuinely recommend koshary for those who are short on cash, those who want to experience genuine Egyptian street life.
  • Ingredients :
  • 1 cup lentils
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup elbow macaroni
  • 1 cup rice
  • 1 can (15-ounce) chickpeas (also called ceci)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil SAUCE
  • 1 cup canned tomato puree
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 onions
  • 1 garlic clove, or to taste

    Procedure :
  • Prepare lentils: Place the lentils in a sieve and rinse thoroughly. Place them in a large saucepan with 3 cups of water and 1 teaspoon salt.
  • Heat until the water begins to boil. Lower the heat, and simmer for about 1 hour until lentils are tender. Drain and set the lentils aside.
  • Prepare the macaroni: Fill the same saucepan with water (add salt if desired). Heat until the water begins to boil.
  • Add the macaroni and boil about 12 to 15 minutes, until macaroni is tender. Drain and set the macaroni aside. (It is okay to combine the macaroni and lentils.)
  • Prepare the rice: Heat the 2 Tablespoons of olive oil in the same saucepan. Add the rice and cook for 2 or 3 minutes, thoroughly coating the rice with oil.
  • Add 2 cups of water and heat until the water begins to boil. Cover the saucepan and simmer until the rice is tender, about 15 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for about 5 minutes.
  • Assemble koushari: Drain chickpeas and rinse. Add chickpeas, lentils, and macaroni to cooked rice and toss very gently with a fork.
  • Make sauce: Peel the onions and cut them in half lengthwise. Slice each half crosswise into thin slices.
  • Heat ¼ cup olive oil in a skillet. Add onions and cook, stirring often with a wooden spoon, until onions are golden brown.
  • Add garlic clove and cook 1 or 2 more minutes. Stir in tomato puree and heat until bubbly.
  • Now pour the sauce over the lentil mixture and heat over very low heat for about 5 minutes, until completely warm.
  • Serve with pita bread.

Egyptian Meals
Egyptian beginning from the ancient Egyptian time until now. The Egyptian basic food is made from the main crops like Vegetables , fruits, fish, bread.
There are many types of bread, including pastries and cakes.
Although the ancient Egyptian did not write down their recipes, many of which are still used in Egypt today .
Spicy and delicious, Egyptian cuisine is a rich and varied blend of Mediterranean and Middle East flavors.

Kufta & Kebabs
The Egyptian way of making kebabs is to season chunks of lamb in onion, marjoram, and lemon juice and then roast them on a spit over an open fire. Kufta is ground lamb flavored with spices and onions which is rolled into long narrow "meatballs" and roasted like kebab. Pork is considered unclean by Muslims, but is readily available, as is beef . Is another widely appreciated dish that consists of " Kebab ", beef cut up in squares, seasoned in onion, lemon juice and herbs, and cooked on an open fire .
" Kofta " is ground beef cooked on skewers and grilled.

(Rice and Bread and Lahma)
Form the bulk of Egyptian main courses, which may be served either as lunch or dinner. For most Egyptians, meat is a luxury used in small amounts, cooked with vegetables, and served with or over rice, but meat dishes comprise most restaurant fare.

Is a leafy, green, summer vegetable. It is a famous and popular dish in Egypt. The green soup can be eaten either with rice or bread. It is usually served with chicken in Egypt .


A mixed-vegetable casserole or stew, is usually made with lamb, or occasionally with beef, onions, potatoes, beans, and peas.
Are usually fried but can also be boiled or stuffed .


Firakh (Chickens)
Hamaam (pigeons)
Sea Food
(Sweet and Sour Okra)
Ingredients :
  • 1 pound small okra pods
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tablespoon lemon juice, freshly squeezed
  • ½ cup water

Are often scrawny and tough, imported fowl are plump, tender, and tasty. You can order grilled chicken (firaakh mashwi) in a restaurant or buy one already cooked at the street-side rotisseries and fix your own meal.
Are raised throughout Egypt, and when stuffed with seasoned rice and grilled, constitute a national delicacy. They are small, so you will need to order several; the best are usually served in small, local restaurants where you may even have to give the cook a day's notice (a good sign), but beware--hamaam are occasionally served with their heads buried in the stuffing.
Egyptians serve both freshwater and seagoing fish under the general term of samak. The best fish seem to be near the coasts (ocean variety) or in Aswan, where they are caught from Lake Nasser. As well as the common bass and sole, try gambari (shrimp), calamari (squid), gandofli (scallops), and ti'baan (eel). The latter, a white meat with a delicate salmon flavoring, can be bought on the street already deep-fried.

Mahshy Wara' enab , Kohlrabi
Egyptians stuff green vegetables with mixtures of rice. wara' enab, for example, is made form boiled grape leaves filled with small amounts of spiced rice with or without ground meat.

Makarona Bel-Bashmeel

  • Ingredients .. El-Bashamel
  • 1 Cup of milk
  • 1 Cup of Chicken soap
  • 2 Bs Flour
  • 2 Bs Butter
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Procedure :
  • Fry the flour with butter till it is goldeshadd the milk and the soup gradually with continue as stirringadd alt pepper with one spoon of butter keep stirring till it start to boil
  • Ingredients .. El-Asag
  • 1/4 Kg of ground beef.
  • 1 b onion
  • Salt
  • Pepper
    Procedure :
  • Grand the onion
  • Fry the onion with butter
  • And then add the ground meat to the onion and cook together 
  • leave on low temperature tell it cook you    may add a little bit of water to cook
  • Ingredients .. El-Macaroni
  • 1/2 Kg Macaroni (penne rigate)
    Procedure :
  • Boil The Water And Cook The Macaroni

    All Together
  • Add 2 bs. Off bashamel to the macaroni and mix it together
  • Put the first layer of makaroni and then put the cooked ground meat in the middle and then the rest of the makaroni and then put the bashamel on the top
  • Place in the oven at 250 on the top till it get light brownish

Trotter (kwaree'a) are the feet of cow or sheep, etc. .. The preferred use of cow Kaware small or medium-old - and Served with Egyptian Fatta with Garlic.
Ingredients :
Trotter of beef cow or sheep amount to taste salt and pepper and half a clove of garlic crushed washed Trotters and Tthbl salt, pepper, garlic, crushed.

Procedure :
raise the fire guiding the suit until he graduated water Ptalla all of it and boil then Ti_rabh then add a large amount of boiling water for boiling and left to the equal footing on medium heat 4-5 hours or even completely equal footing
(Ruzz)is often varied by cooking it with nuts, onions, vegetables, or small amounts of meat. Ruzz (rice) is often varied by cooking it with nuts, onions, vegetables, or small amounts of meat. Bataatis (potatoes) are usually fried but can also be boiled or stuffed.

Egyptians stuff green vegetables with mixtures of rice; wara' enab, for example, is made form boiled grape leaves filled with small amounts of spiced rice with or without ground meat. Westerners often know them by the Greek name of dolmadas or dolmas, but beware ordering them by that name; in Egypt, doma refers to a mixture of stuffed vegetables.

This is a popular dish in the eastern Mediterranean.
  • 1 kg eggplant , sliced.
  • 2 green peppers.
  • 2 onions.
  • 4 tomatoes.
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed.
  • 1/3 kg minced meat.
  • 4 tablespoons vegetable oil.
  • 3 tablespoons tomato paste.
  • Salt and pepper.

    Preparing tomato sauce

    • Slice 2 tomatoes and blend the rest with 1/4 cup water.
    • In a saucepan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.
    • Add chopped onion and garlic stirring frequently until golden brown.
    • Add blended tomatoes, tomato paste, 1/2 cup water, salt and pepper.
    • Reduce heat and leave to simmer.

Preparing meat

  • In a pan, heat 2 tablespoons oil over medium heat.
  • Stir in one chopped onion until yellow.
  • Add minced meat, salt and pepper and stir.
  • Reduce heat, cover pan and leave to cook.

Preparing mesakaa

  • Cut one green pepper into thin slices.
  • Fry green pepper in oil and set aside.
  • Fry eggplant slices in oil until just golden.
  • Heat oven to medium-high heat.
  • In a baking dish, arrange eggplant slices at the bottom making one layer then arrange half quantity of green pepper slices and some minced meat.
  • Arrange another layer of eggplant.
  • Pour tomato sauce over layers then add the rest of minced meat to make a layer on top.
  • Arrange tomato and the rest of green pepper slices on surface.
  • Place in oven and leave till cooked.
  • Serve hot or cold.



  • 1/2cup Dried Broad Beans
  • 1/2head Garlic ,peeled
  • 3 tbsp Onions ,chopped
  • 2 branches Parsley ,chopped
  • 2 tbsp Mint ,dried and crashed
  • 1/4 cup Corn Oil Crystal
  • Salt and Pepper


  1. Cover beans with cold water and soak for 48 hours, changing water 2-3 times. Drain and remove skin.
  2. In a medium deep pan put beans, garlic, 2 onions and parsley, cover with water and bring to boil over low heat. Cover pan and leave to simmer for 1 ½ hours until beans become soft stirring occasionally.
  3. Pour components of pan into blender. Cover and blend at high speed for 30 seconds until puréed and put back in pan.
  4. Add salt, pepper and mint and simmer for 5 minutes over low heat, then leave to cool for 10 minutes.
  5. Serve in small bowls and refrigerate for 20 minutes.
  6. Meanwhile, in a medium skillet, heat oil and stir-fry the remaining onion until dark brown.
  7. Remove bowls from refrigerator and garnish tops with fried onions.

Native cheese (gibna) comes in two varieties: gibna beida, similar to feta, and gibna rumy, a sharp, hard, pale yellow cheese. These are the ones normally used in salads and sandwiches, but gouda, cheddar, bleu, and other Western types are becoming available. Mish is a spiced, dry cheese made into a paste and served as an hors d'oeuvre.

Gebna Makleyah (Oven-Fried Cheese)


  • 1 cup firm feta cheese, crumbled, or traditional Egyptian cheese such as labna or gebna
  • 1 Tablespoon flour
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Lemon wedges and pita bread cut into triangles, for serving


Egyptians Make A Variety Of Other
In addition to molokhiyya, the Egyptians make a variety of meat (lahhma), vegetable (khudaar), and fish (samak) soups known collectively as Shurbah, and all are delicious. Salads (salata) can be made of greens, tomatoes, potatoes, or eggs, as well as with beans and yogurt. Western-type salad bars have come into vogue in larger cities, and here, for a few pounds, you can make a whole meal of the fresh produce. Yogurt (laban zabadi) is fresh and unflavored; you can sweeten if you wish with honey, jams, preserves, or mint. It rests easy on an upset stomach.


(salata) can be made of greens, tomatoes, potatoes, or eggs, as well as with beans and yogurt.

Lettuce Salad

  • 1 small head of lettuce, shredded
  • ¾ cup orange juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1½ teaspoons pepper, or to taste

Lemon and Garlic Potato Salad

  • 2 pounds of red potatoes, scrubbed but with skin left on
  • ½ cup parsley, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • Juice of 1½ lemons
  • 1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 pound lentils, picked and rinsed
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped tomatoes
  • 2 quarts chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground toasted cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground grains of paradise

Place the olive oil into a large 6-quart Dutch oven and set over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion, carrot, celery and salt and sweat until the onions are translucent, approximately 6 to 7 minutes. Add the lentils, tomatoes, broth, coriander, cumin and grains of paradise and stir to combine. Increase the heat to high and bring just to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover and cook at a low simmer until the lentils are tender, approximately 35 to 40 minutes. Using a stick blender, puree to your preferred consistency. Serve immediately.

In Egypt a multitude of fresh fruits are available year-round, but since all are tree- or vine-ripened, only those in season appear in suqs (markets) or on vendors' stands. In the winter, mohz (bananas), balah (dates), and burtu'aan (any of several varieties of oranges) appear. Special treats are burtu'aan bedammoh (pink oranges), whose skin looks like most oranges, but their pulp is red and sweet. The Egyptian summer is blessed with battiikh (melon), khukh (peach), berkuk (plum), and 'anub (grapes). Tin shawki is a cactus fruit that appears in August or September.
Goz (nuts) and mohamas (dried seeds) are popular snack foods in Egypt, and vendors can be found selling them nearly anywhere. All are tasty; try bundok (hazelnuts), loz (almonds), or fuzdo (pistachios). If you like peanuts, the ful sudani are especially tasty in Aswan.



Egyptian desserts of pastry or puddings are usually drenched in honey syrup. They include " Fetir " ( pies) stuffed with a variety of fillings such as cream, nuts or fruits , " Roz Be Laban " (pudding made with rice and milk),Baklava (filo dough, honey, and nuts) is one of the less sweet; fatir are pancakes stuffed with everything from eggs to apricots; and basbousa, quite sweet, is made of semolina pastry soaked in honey and topped with hazelnuts. Umm ali, a delight named for Mamluk queen, is raisin cake soaked in milk and served hot. Kanafa is a dish of batter "strings" fried on a hot grill and stuffed with nuts, meats, or sweets. Egyptian rice pudding is called mahallabiyya and is served topped with pistachios. French-style pastries are called gatoux. Good chocolate candies are likewise difficult to find, though Western-style candy bars are beginning to make their appearance.
  • 1 cup dried prunes
  • 1 cup dried apricots
  • 1 cup dried small figs, halved
  • 1½ cups raisins
  • 1 cup sugar, or to taste
  • 2½ cups boiling water

Chocolate  Egyptian  Cake

Ice  Cream

Cream shortening ; add sugar and cream together. Blend in egg yolks and mix until creamy.  Heat water, stir in cocoa, and pour into shortening /sugar
Ingredients: 14  (cocoa .. coffee .. flour .. milk .. salt .. sugar ...)
The Egyptian ice cream runs closer to ice milk or sherbet than cream. Most restaurants and many homes serve fresh fruits for desserts, and it makes a perfect, light conclusion to most meals. Bouzat haleeb or ice cream is a totally different experience from the rich American ice cream. Its quite light and gummy in texture. It actually stretches a bit as you spoon it. Misika (Arabic gum) and shalab (an extract from the tubers of orchids) can be found in most Mid-Eastern markets
 (laban zabadi) is fresh and unflavored, you can sweeten if you wish with honey, jams, preserves, or mint. It rests easy on an upset stomach.

These small dishes of various forms are usually served with drinks. Those resembling dips are made with Tihina, an oil paste of sesame seeds. Tihina mixed with oil and seasoned with garlic or chili and lemon can be served alone, but when combined with mashed eggplant and served as a dip or sauce for salads, its called Baba-Ghanoug.
In Alexandria, chickpeas are added to the Tihina to make hummus bi Ttihina. Tihina also forms the base for many general-purpose sauces served with fish and meats and replaces mayonnaise on Egyptian sandwiches. Turshi includes a variety of vegetables soaked in spicy brine--it's always good with beer.

 Egyptian Drinks

In Egypt , you can taste different kind of drink s . Popular drinks in Egypt include hot drinks like tea with mint, Turkish coffee , Nescafe, American Coffee, hot chocolate, and different infusions such as " Karkadeh " ( hibiscus) that could be drunk hot or cold , " Yansoun " ( Aniis ), " Erfa Bel Laban " ( Cinnamon with milk) are also offered at any cafe, restaurant, and hotels. We have also cold drinks like fresh Juice such as mango, peach, banana , strawberry, orange, apple, tomatoes, lemon, and other different kinds of fruits .Although Egypt is Muslim country, wine and beer are also offered but in the hotels . Wine was known since the ancient Egyptian people before 3000 BCE.
Moreover the ancient Egyptian used to drink wine and beer on feasts . If you’re in the mood to try something exotic, then you should definitely have a " Shisha " in Egypt ( the water-pipe or arguileh ). Shishas are served at various cafés, and there are different flavors, so if you try a shisha, make sure you explore all the different flavors available like apple, pin apple, pear, Cabatsheno , and other flavors.


Tea And Other Hot Drinks

Cold Drinks
Developed and popularized in the Middle East, the drinking of ahwa (coffee) remains a national tradition, and local coffeehouses still cater to men who come to drink coffee, discuss politics, play tawla (backgammon), listen to "Oriental" (Egyptian) music, and smoke the shiisha (water pipe). Although the traditional poetry and high-powered politics have migrated to fancy homes and offices, the coffee remains. You will also be offered the thick, strong, but tasty brew in homes, offices, and bazaar shops. Turkish coffee is made from finely powdered beans brewed in a small pot. As the water just begins to boil, the grounds float to the surface in a dark foam; the ahwa is brought to you still in the pot and poured into a demitasse. The heavier grounds sink to the bottom of the cup and the lighter ones form a foam on the top, the mark of a perfectly brewed cup. Sip carefully to avoid the grounds in the bottom of the cup. (If you don't like the foam, you can blow it aside under the guise of cooling your drink.)
Although Turkish coffee has a reputation for being tart, its actual flavor depends on the mix of beans used in the grind; the larger the percentage of Arabica, the sweeter and more chocolate flavor. Ahwa comes in several versions: ahwa sada is black, ahwa ariha is lightly sweetened with sugar, ahwa mazboot is moderately sweetened, and ahwaziyada is very sweet. You must specify the amount of sugar at the time you order, for it's sweetened in the pot. Most people order mazboot, which cuts the tartness; ahwa is never served with cream. Most hotel and restaurant breakfasts include strong French coffee usually called Nescafe; you may have to specially order it with sugar (bil sukkar) or milk (bil laban).
Ahwa comes in several versions: ahwa sada is black, ahwa ariha is lightly sweetened with sugar, ahwa mazboot is moderately sweetened, and ahwaziyada is very sweet. You must specify the amount of sugar at the time you order, for it's sweetened in the pot. Ahwa is never served with cream.

Egyptians adopted the custom of formal afternoon tea from the native Arabians, and it's served with milk, lemon, and sugar on the side. The domestic or Bedouin version of shay is boiled rather than steeped and is often saturated with sugar; this strong tea is served in glasses. A refreshing change from after-dinner coffee is shay bil na'na' or Shai (Mint Tea) and Baklava.; dried mint is mixed with tea leaves and the mixture is brewed like regular tea . Kakoow bil laban (hot chocolate) is available during the winter, as is Sahlab, a thick liquid that tastes like a cross between Ovaltine and oatmeal. Karkaday, a clear, bright red, native drink especially popular in the south, is made by steeping dried hibiscus flowers, sweetened to taste, and served either hot or cold; the locals claim this delicious drink calms the nerves.


Bottled water (mayya ma'daniyya) is available in all areas frequented by tourists; both large and small bottles are sold on the street and from ice buckets at most of the antiquities sites. Be sure the cap is sealed. Mayya shurb or mayya ahday (drinking water) is safe in most metropolitan areas.

A delectable treat in Egypt are the fresh fruit juices (asiir) available at small stalls throughout Egypt. The shopkeepers blend the whole fruit and small amounts of ice and sugar water and then strain this mash into your glass--the resulting drinks have been described as ambrosia. Juices, which are made from fruits in season, include farawla (strawberry), manga (mango), mohz (banana),and burtu'aan (orange) and are especially welcome in hot weather. In addition to pure fruit juices, you can also get them made of vegetables such as khiyar (cucumber), tamaatim (tomato), and gazar (carrot). For a new experience, experiment with some of their combination drinks: nuss wa nuss (carrot and orange), an unexpectedly delightful concoction, or mohz bi-laban, a blend of bananas and milk; an Egyptian milkshake. Asiir lamoon, common throughout Egypt, is a strong, sweet version of lemonade. In the past few years canned and packaged juices have become common, but their flavor cannot compare with the freshly made varieties.

Western soft drinks are ubiquitous in Egypt, but most are domestically bottled. You can find Schweppes, Fanta, Seven-Up, Coke, and Pepsi; club soda is also available, but Collins mix is nearly nonexistent. If you buy from street-side vendors, you're expected to drink the soda right there and return the bottle; if you want to take a bottle with you, you'll have to pay for it.

Shopping For food
The easiest way to stretch your food budget is to patronize the local stands and suqs, buying fresh fruit and vegetables you can eat raw. The prices are normally posted in Arabic and are fixed. Since there is no bargaining involved, you can just point to what you want, indicate how many or how much, and hold out your money; most vendors and small storekeepers are scrupulously honest. Small, local grocery stores occupy nearly every street corner and sell canned goods, preserves, bread, cheese, and soda pop as well as staples at government fixed prices. If the local grocery doesn't stock beer, there is probably a store nearby that does; ask. Here or at the brewery you can buy Stella by the case. Bakeries supply various types of bread and pastries at fixed prices.

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