The Top Thing to Eat: Cairo

Written: The Top Thing Staff | August 22, 2023

Koshary: A traditional Egyptian dish

Koshary is the ultimate Egyptian comfort food. It’s a hearty combination of rice, lentils, macaroni, and chickpeas, topped with a flavorful tomato sauce and sprinkled with crispy fried onions. This unique blend of flavors and textures makes for a satisfying and filling meal that is loved by locals and tourists alike. Don’t forget to add a splash of tangy garlic sauce and a drizzle of spicy chili sauce to take your koshary to the next level!

Ful Medames: A hearty and nutritious option

Ful Medames is a popular breakfast dish in Egypt. It’s made from slow-cooked fava beans mixed with olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, and spices. Served with warm bread, this nutritious and protein-packed dish is guaranteed to kickstart your day. You can also add toppings like chopped tomatoes, onions, and herbs for extra freshness and flavor.

Taameya: Egypt’s version of falafel

If you’re a fan of falafel, you must try Taameya in Cairo. This Egyptian version of the beloved Middle Eastern snack is made from mashed fava beans mixed with herbs and spices, then deep-fried to golden perfection. The result is a crispy, flavorful patty that is often served in a pita bread sandwich with tahini sauce and fresh vegetables. It’s a delicious and satisfying option for a quick and satisfying meal on the go.

So, next time you visit Cairo, make sure to venture out and explore the vibrant street food culture. Whether you choose to indulge in a steaming bowl of koshary, savor the flavors of ful medames, or bite into a mouthwatering taameya sandwich, you’re in for a delightful culinary experience that will leave you craving for more.

Traditional Egyptian Dishes

Molokhia: A popular green soup

When in Cairo, make sure to try Molokhia, a beloved Egyptian dish that has been enjoyed for centuries. This flavorful green soup is made from the leaves of the jute plant, which are finely chopped and cooked with garlic, coriander, and other herbs. The result is a thick and hearty soup that is often served over a bed of fluffy rice or with freshly baked bread on the side. The distinct taste and aroma of Molokhia make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Mahshi: Stuffed vegetables with rice and herbs

Another must-try dish in Cairo is Mahshi, which translates to “stuffed” in Arabic. This dish features a variety of vegetables, such as tomatoes, zucchini, bell peppers, and eggplants, that are hollowed out and filled with a flavorful mixture of rice, herbs, and spices. The filled vegetables are then cooked until tender and are often served with a tangy tomato sauce. The combination of the tender vegetables and the fragrant rice filling creates a delicious and satisfying meal.

Fatteh: A flavorful casserole dish

If you’re looking for a truly indulgent and flavorful dish, Fatteh is a must-try. This Egyptian casserole dish is made with layers of toasted bread, cooked chickpeas, garlic-infused yogurt, and a drizzle of butter or olive oil. The dish is then topped with a sprinkling of herbs, spices, and roasted nuts for added crunch and flavor. The combination of textures and flavors in Fatteh is simply irresistible, making it a popular choice among locals and visitors to Cairo.

Cairo is a culinary treasure trove, offering a wide range of delicious traditional dishes that are sure to satisfy your taste buds. From the comforting Molokhia soup to the flavorful Mahshi and indulgent Fatteh, these dishes showcase the rich and diverse flavors of Egyptian cuisine. So, next time you’re in Cairo, be sure to treat yourself to these mouthwatering delights.


Egyptian Sweets and Desserts

When visiting Cairo, indulging in the local cuisine is a must. For those with a sweet tooth, Egyptian sweets and desserts offer a delightful culinary experience. Here are the top treats you should try:

Basbousa: A semolina cake soaked in syrup

Basbousa is a popular Egyptian dessert made from semolina, yogurt, coconut, and almonds. This moist cake is soaked in a sweet syrup made from rosewater or orange blossom water. The result is a heavenly combination of textures and flavors. Its richness and sweetness make it a favorite among locals and tourists alike.

Umm Ali: A warm and comforting bread pudding

Umm Ali is a traditional Egyptian bread pudding that is incredibly comforting and satisfying. It is made with layers of flaky pastry, nuts, and raisins, soaked in sweetened milk and topped with a generous sprinkle of cinnamon. This warm dessert is perfect for those looking for a taste of Egyptian comfort food.

Restaurants and Cafes in Cairo

Felfela: A historic Egyptian eatery specializing in local cuisine

Looking for an authentic Egyptian culinary experience? Look no further than Felfela, a historic eatery in Cairo that specializes in local cuisine. With its vintage charm and traditional décor, Felfela takes you back in time while serving up delicious, mouthwatering dishes. From Egyptian classics like koshary and molokhia to savory stuffed pigeon, Felfela offers a wide variety of options to satisfy your taste buds. Don’t forget to try their refreshing hibiscus tea or freshly squeezed juices for a truly authentic experience.

Zooba: A trendy spot offering modern twists on traditional dishes

If you’re in the mood for a unique dining experience, head over to Zooba. This trendy eatery has gained popularity for its modern take on traditional Egyptian street food. From their famous taameya wraps to their delectable koshary bowls, Zooba offers a diverse menu that combines traditional flavors with a contemporary twist. Enjoy your meal in their stylish and vibrant setting, or grab a quick bite on the go. With its hip and modern ambiance, Zooba is a must-visit for food enthusiasts looking to explore the culinary scene in Cairo.

Food Markets and Vendors

Khan El Khalili Market: A lively market with a variety of food stalls

If you’re looking for a vibrant and bustling food experience in Cairo, then Khan El Khalili Market should be at the top of your list. This historic market is filled with a variety of food stalls offering mouthwatering Egyptian cuisine. From traditional dishes like koshary and falafel to sweet treats like baklava and basbousa, you’ll find it all here. Take a leisurely stroll through the market, indulge in the local delicacies, and immerse yourself in the rich flavors and aromas of Cairo’s street food scene.

Street Vendors: Explore the city streets for delicious and authentic snacks

When it comes to experiencing the true essence of Cairo’s culinary delights, you can’t miss out on exploring the city streets for delicious and authentic snacks. From savory sandwiches like taameya (Egyptian falafel) and shawarma, to sweet treats like hawawshi (meat-stuffed pastry) and konafa (cheese-filled pastry soaked in syrup), the street vendors in Cairo will satisfy your cravings and leave you wanting more. Don’t be afraid to try something new and venture off the beaten path for the best hidden gems.