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tazerowe

Visiting Egypt

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My wife and I are going to Egypt in April, visiting Cairo, Luxor and the Red Sea coast. I've tried looking around for food tips, but most people seem fairly discouraging. Anyone here have any ideas? We'd want to try the best local cuisine, and anything from street food up is great.

Thanks in advance!

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My wife and I are going to Egypt in April, visiting Cairo, Luxor and the Red Sea coast.  I've tried looking around for food tips, but most people seem fairly discouraging.  Anyone here have any ideas?  We'd want to try the best local cuisine, and anything from street food up is great.

Thanks in advance!

I can't imagine why people were discouraging about it.

Cairo:

You MUST go visit Khoushary Tahrir, near Midaan Tahrir (Tahrir Square). I can't remember the street it's on, but I can find out and let you know. Khoushary may be the closest thing to a national dish in Egypt. It's a hot meal of rice, macaroni, lentils, crispy fried onions, tomato sauce and another thing or two that I've forgotten, all in a bowl. At the table you add your own sauces to your tastes: a lemon/garlic sauce that's tart and almost sweet, and a hot red pepper sauce. Caution! The hot red pepper sauce really is liquid blow torch, and it does that slow burn thing that sneaks up on you. Pour a little into your spoon, swirl it in the khoushary, and do not lick the spoon until you've stirred thoroughly. I didn't believe my husband the first time he warned me about this, and my taste buds were seared for 2 days. But oh, under the heat there's a wonderful flavor. Khoushary can be found all over - it's cheap and filling - but I think Khoushary Tahrir makes the best I've had, anywhere. You pick your table and tell the waiter what you want: the 2LE bowl or the 1LE bowl. The 2 LE bowl is huge. I've lost track of the exchange rate, but last year 1 LE (pound Egyptian, in case you're wondering) was about $0.15 U.S. Cheap, filling, and good.

Out in the Garden City area of Cairo is a Lebanese restaurant named Tabbouli. Excellent food, good prices. Yes, I know it's Lebanese, but Egyptian cuisine seems to borrow heavily from other Middle Eastern countries. If you go, PLEASE see if you can figure out what's in the taouk motefa - grilled chicken bits, but not the standard shish taouk, and let me know what you find out. I wish I'd tried to get a recipe. Prices are a bit more there than in the hole-in-the-wall joint, but they're still not bad. It's a nice sit-down restaurant with a good quiet atmosphere - a nice change from the street chaos. I've eaten there several times and it was all excellent. Their fattoush and fetta are particularly good. Go to that place hungry, because you'll be staggering by the time you leave.

Don't hesitate to try cooked street food: shwerma, shish tawouk, tameyya on pita. (Tameyya is what we usually know as falafel.) When (not if) you go into the Khan el Khalili, make sure you try one of the roasted sweet potatoes from the vendors who ply their wares there. There are little hole-in-the-wall joints all over Cairo that do wonders with grilled chicken and grilled lamb. Unfortunately I know how to find them when I'm there, but not exactly where they're located. Baba ghanoush is another dish to make sure you try, wherever you get the chance. Try moussaka, also. The Egyptian version is different than the Greek version. I love them both.

If you're staying in Maadi, the Sofitel there has a nice bunch of restaurants in the hotel, but they're all foreign cuisine (Tex-Mex, Italian, etc.) except for the breakfast buffet upstairs in the morning. (The breakfast buffet caters equally to foreigners and locals, and does justice to all its food.) For other meals, if you wander down the Corniche (river street) about a half mile you'll find a restaurant that's right down on the Nile - for a while I thought it was actually on a barge. Sorry I don't remember its name, but it was a grand discovery last year. Walk down the Corniche until you pass a big plant nursery, then a little farther you'll see a private club, then this restaurant. You have to go down a flight of steps toward the river to get to it.

Luxor:

Near the train station is The New Radwan Hotel. They used to have a fine restaurant with what seemed to be a classically-trained chef. Once he know how much we liked his food, he really went to town for us. Our meals typically came with little plate decorations like tomatoes carved into Jack O'Lanterns, or curled into flowers. We never had a bad meal there. The report I got a year or so later was that the staff had changed and the food wasn't as good. I hope that isn't true, but I can't say for sure. He did great things with fish, and with chicken and lamb tagines. Please note, an Egyptian tagine is not a Moroccan tagine (in terms of the spices or the cooking vessel) but it's darned good anyway.

Out back of the ticket office where you buy tickets for the Valley of the Kings is a road that will take you to a place called something like The Pharoah Hotel or the Pharoah's Garden. They have a quiet walled courtyard where you can sit in the sun and enjoy the birds and trees as you sip your tea, bottled water, or Stella beer. Their baba ghanoush is the best I've ever had. I paid the rather puzzled cook a bit of baksheesh so I could stand and watch him make my order. I still haven't been able to reproduce it.

Someplace in or near the souk street that peels off of Temple Street (near Luxor Temple) is a restaurant set back from the street, with an elevated platform that has tables overlooking the street. My husband always calls it the Happy Chicken because of the bright red chicken on the sign over the door. I finally got around to deciphering the sign last year and realized it said something entirely different, so if you ask directions (I advise against it) nobody will know what you're talking about. Just keep an eye peeled for the chicken sign.

The St. Joseph Hotel and the Hotel Mercure have wonderful breakfast buffets. However, you can also go wander the streets and pick up pastries from the bakeries. We used to chow down on these fig-stuffed breadstick-looking pastries that cost pennies. Note, the baked goods have no preservatives, so you're best eating them the day you buy them.

PLEASE don't go to McDonald's, for crying out loud. Just don't. From the Nile you can look through the Luxor Temple and see its sign. ("The Golden Arches through the Olden Arches", my brother-in-law commented). It does land-office business. But if you just wander up the street a bit farther away from the Nile, toward the souk street, you'll see a small stand or two that sell tameyya (maybe they call it falafel there) sandwiches. Much cheaper, much better.

For safety's sake the usual advice is not to eat any produce that hasn't been cooked except fruit that you peel yourself, but that gets real old real fast. We take the basic precaution to drink only bottled water, tea, or Stella Beer. We have always avoided the fabulous-looking strawberries because there probably isn't any way to make sure they don't have pathogenic organisms. At first I avoided uncooked tomatoes, but after a few times back and forth I ate just about everything except the strawberries. There's a cucumber and tomato salad with a lemony dressing (I think they call it "salad baladi", meaning country salad, and it's ubiquitous) that I ate quite a bit and adored. You have to make your own choices about precautions, though. Everyone's system responds to new biota differently, and it's no fun missing the trip because you're lying around feeling ill. My husband has a cast-iron constitution and lived in Egypt for a while. He says the only time he's ever gotten sick was after he ate a salad from the salad bar at the Hilton or some such western hotel. I got sick once from something, and never could figure out what it was, but I lived, and started a weight-loss program that eventually led to 20 pounds off and kept off, so I'm not complaining.

Make sure you hit Souk Day someplace, where the people shop, not where they try to send tourists. The folks bring their stock and produce in from the countryside, and even if you don't buy anything it's worth looking at the variety and quantity. Stacks and bales of garlic and onion. Ducks and chickens and rabbits in wooden cages, looking around, we can hope ignorant of their fate. Herbs, citrus, basketry, pottery. Tools of all kinds.

If I remember anything about my Red Sea Coast times, which are considerably more limited, I'll post about that. They have the Really Good Fish. Even in the Nile Valley, if you're eating fish you'll be told it's Red Sea fish because the Nile is too polluted. (A fisherman friend thinks that may be a scam, but we never got to the bottom of that rumor.) Feel free to ask questions. Maybe this response will get some other people going.

Edited mostly to correct misspellings of English words.


Edited by Smithy (log)

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THANK YOU SO MUCH. This is the first thing I've read that made me excited about the food (as opposed to just the scenery). And don't worry, I'd never visit the MacDonalds when there is something more exotic to try!

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THANK YOU SO MUCH.  This is the first thing I've read that made me excited about the food (as opposed to just the scenery).  And don't worry, I'd never visit the MacDonalds when there is something more exotic to try!

You're welcome! I'm excited for you! Let us know how your trip comes out, and feel free to ask more questions!

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Thats a great list. I have the same problem where I remember how to get to places but have no idea what they're called nor can I give directions to them in Cairo. The only things I would add are:

1.) If you're in Sharm el Sheik, make sure you visit the "Sinai Star" in the old market area. They have the best fresh sea food that you just order by the kilograms.

2.) There is one good thing McDonalds is good for outside of the US, which is the apple pie. Unlike the states everyone else deep fries them and they taste great. Just make sure you don't burn your tounge

I'll see if I can contact my friends out there for more recomendations but make sure you make it out to Tabbouli. Don't bother looking through the menu, just ask for the "mez" which is like a cross between a chef's tasting menu and tapas. You'll get a bit of everything and leave stuffed. My only beef with the place is that after dinner if you order sheesha (aka hooka or naguila) and tea, they give you lipton tea bags.

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The first thing you should know is that among Arabs, Egyptian food has the same poor reputation today that English food has with us. My Arab friends (Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians) laughed at me when I said many years ago that I was going to Egypt to research food. While one can admit that the cooking of Aleppo and Beirut represent the apogee of Arab cuisine, Egypt--this most populous of Arab countries--has a number of specialities that will delight anyone who relishes simple food. I won't give you restaurant recommendations but here is a list of foods you should look for. The ones marked with asterisks are foods that if you don't eat you haven't been to Egypt. One rule of thumb: never, never eat raw vegetables, iincluding the parsley sprinkled on food, never eat unpeeled anything including grapes. Be very careful with street food. If you have some of the Pharoah's revenge, drink lemonade and lots of it. Here's the list of what are Egyptian specialities, meaning this is not Lebanese or Turkish food, which is what mnay of the better restaurants in Cairo actually serve.

Bisara: A fava bean mash with the consistency of hummus, heavily flavored with mint, fresh coriander, dill, salt, black pepper, and olive oil.

*Fatir: A pan-cooked pastry, a cross between a puff pastry beignet and a crepe sometimes served as a savory as well as a sweet. A delicious savory fatir is fatir bi’l-sakhina, there being two varieties of this dish; in the first the pastry is covered with a sauce made of vegetables cooked in vinegar and garlic and the second is a sauce made with chicken poached with onions and water buffalo samna. Fatir, derived from the word meaning “to break the fast, to breakfast,” is, in fact, often eaten at breakfast.

Fatta: A feast food prepared after the ritual slaughtering of the lambs during Ramadan. The lamb is cooked in a vinegar, tomato, and garlic sauce, and in Luxor they make fatta al-Uqsur with fatir (see above).

*Haman bi’l-Farik: Pigeon with green wheat. Actually, any grilled pigeon is good.

Kufta Dau’d Basha: Small meatballs cooked in a rich tomato sauce made with lots of chopped onions, garlic, and black pepper, with very thinly sliced charred bell peppers.

*Kawari’: A veal ankle and knee joint stew that is very succulent.

Khalta: A rice pilaf made with chicken pieces and golden raisins.

*Kushary: macaroni, rice, lentils with crispy onions and spicy tomato sauce.

Mukhalil: Vegetables, such as eggplants, cooked in a vinegar sauce. The name is derived from the word for pickled vegetables.

Sujuq (pronounced SUguk in Egypt): Grilled beef sausage as thin as a pencil seasoned with spices, garlic, and hot pepper. (It's actually Lebanese)

Mulukhiyya bi’l-arnab: A stew of Jew’s mallow flavored with rabbit.

Musa: A veal or beef knuckle braised until the meat is falling off the bone served on top of rice flavored with the cooking juices of the knuckle and some tomato and spices.

Musaqqa/a (pronouced muSA’a): A dish of eggplant and meat, probably developed from the Greek mousakka.

Ruqaq: A kind of pie made with Arabic bread, butter, and ground lamb.

*Ta’amiyya: An Egyptian version of falafel, a deep-fried fava bean patty, but more delicate, spicier, with lots of fresh coriander, shaped into a lozenge about 1 ½ inches in diameter, and deep-fried. The word ta’amiyya derives from the Arabic word for nourishment.

*Umm Ali: (Ali’s mother). A dried phyllo, milk, sugar, nuts, and coconut pudding. This is a don't miss.

When you are near the sea–always fish–nothing else. Lemonade everywhere–better than beer.

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The first thing you should know is that among Arabs, Egyptian food has the same poor reputation today that English food has with us. My Arab friends (Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians) laughed at me when I said many years ago that I was going to Egypt to research food. While one can admit that the cooking of Aleppo and Beirut represent the apogee of Arab cuisine,

I know what you mean by Egyptian cuisine being equated with English food. :laugh:

Why do you think Aleppo and Beirut represent the apogee of Arab cuisine? I'm just curious, not trying to argue.

.

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The first thing you should know is that among Arabs, Egyptian food has the same poor reputation today that English food has with us. My Arab friends (Palestinians, Lebanese, and Syrians) laughed at me when I said many years ago that I was going to Egypt to research food. While one can admit that the cooking of Aleppo and Beirut represent the apogee of Arab cuisine,

I know what you mean by Egyptian cuisine being equated with English food. :laugh:

Why do you think Aleppo and Beirut represent the apogee of Arab cuisine? I'm just curious, not trying to argue.

.

First of all, I forgot to mention the most important food in Egypt that every traveler should have, ful mudammas, known simply as ful (pronounced fool).

About Aleppo and Beirut as being the apogee of Arab cooking: First, that is an expression many Arab gastronomes (and who isn't in the Arab world) will offer. But on reflection of course we realize that most of these Arabs are Levantine Arabs. It's fascinating but Levantine Arabs know just about nothing about the cuisine of the Maghrib. I have found Americans who know more about Moroccan cooking than a Syrian.

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It's fascinating but Levantine Arabs know just about nothing about the cuisine of the Maghrib.  I have found Americans who know more about Moroccan cooking than a Syrian.

This is quite true.

I have to admit I ate the strawberries in Egypt, and they were great. Of course, I was visiting there from Lebanon so perhaps my stomach was already in training...

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It's fascinating but Levantine Arabs know just about nothing about the cuisine of the Maghrib.  I have found Americans who know more about Moroccan cooking than a Syrian.

This is quite true.

I have to admit I ate the strawberries in Egypt, and they were great. Of course, I was visiting there from Lebanon so perhaps my stomach was already in training...

It goes the other way as well. Marghrebians know little of Mashreq cookery. Even within the Maghrebian countries themselves folks don't know what's going on in the next region. A friend of mine from Annaba didn't recognize humous which the family I stayed with in Oran for three months ate regularly.

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Uh, anyway, back to the food of Egypt: This copied from my post on another thread:

In Egypt, a fatir is an open-face pizza-like thing, with very flaky, multi-layer dough that's a little chewy. A single-serving one is pretty big, maybe 6 or 7 inches with tons of toppings. There's usually a couple of savory options, with crumbly cheese and ground meat and the like, and then the vastly preferable sweet version, with coconut flakes, more cheese, apricot jam and nuts. Shamelessly, I'd always order a token small savory one, then a big sweet one.

Look for these in Cairo at a place downtown called Fatatri al-Fateer or something along those lines. Probably listed in all the guidebooks.

Also look for a place called Al-Taba'i or Al-Taba'ey (can't remember how they transcribe). Also downtown. Excellent array of cold salads, such as tomatoes marinated in garlic. You can get a little veg-deprived in Egypt, so this is a good place to head. May be in guidebooks. It's sort of near the Windsor Hotel (which has a great bar, by the way...or last time I looked). Also, the Greek Club downtown is nice for beers, french fries and chicken livers.

Although on the subject of regional food ignorance, I have to say some Egyptians I met were comically opposed to trying anything "exotic" or remotely hot and spicy (note that the hot sauce on kushari is optional). I had a hard time serving Indian food to some of my friends there--except for one who had actually traveled in India. I think a lot of us take culinary cosmopolitanism for granted, and that living only in your born-and-raised tradition is much more the norm (viz: the French, until very recently).

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I am going to Egypt next month, and need some information about food market that I can visit... Thanks, and as always sorry for my bad english

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The best way to find a food market is to find out which day is "market day", also known as "souk" or "sook" day, in the town you visit. Once a week, the local farmers bring in their food, livestock, etc. and set up shop in the market streets. I think it's Tuesday in Luxor and Thursday in Cairo, but I could be wrong.

Depending on where you go, there will also be grocery stores - most of them are small, but some in the more upscale parts of Cairo that cater to Westerners will look like a full-blown U.S. supermarket, except that some of the stuff will look strange to you.

Is that the kind of thing you're asking about? If you need more information, perhaps you can tell us where you're going and what you'll be looking for.


Edited by Smithy (log)

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Thanks... I only know that im going to Egypt, on monday I will have the itinerary... I will post it here.

Thanks again

Ines

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I’m back from my trip. While I had more on my mind than food and drink this trip, I think we ate reasonably well. (Actually, I think this is the first vacation I have ever taken that wasn’t at least 90% about food and wine). That said, I understand some of the criticisms of the local cuisine. These are my thoughts, with a caveat that I am no expert in the foods of the region (I have Lebanese or Turkish takeout a time or two and month, and make a decent hummus, but that is about it as far as qualifications). Forgive my spelling throughout!

Food:

In general, there was significant sameness in the food at many restaurants. OK by me, as I liked what they had, but almost every place started with mezze, and it was almost always some combination of 2-4 of hummus, rice stuffed vine leaves, babaganoush, tahini, and “country salad” of cucumbers, onions and tomatoes. Next was often kabob or kofta. Some places had more on the menu (often stuffed pigeon or tagine, local stews that are only slightly similar to the Moroccan dish of the same name), but we even found sometime that these were not actually available.

On the street, we tried koshari, which ranged from simple pasta (spaghetti and ditalini together) with spicy tomato sauce to deluxe versions with chickpeas, lentils, fried onions and more. It is a bit of an odd, carb-heavy combo, but I liked it. There was also falafel, which went by the name ta’amaya in Cairo only, and foul, which reminded me a bit of refried beans. We also tried baklava-like sweets from carts which were very nice, if you like that kind of thing, but messy to eat on the street.

Bread was an interesting item. In Cairo, we got soft, white pita with most meals, but were occasionally disappointed to see western bread. In Luxor, however, the pita was much more rustic. It was like the difference in Paris between a baguette and a rustic country loaf. Freshness was occasionally an issue, but we hit at least one or two places with great rustic pita in Luxor. We also enjoyed snacking on cumin breadsticks from the local bakery there.

Egyptian rice was excellent. It was medium-to-short grained with a nice, sticky texture, and was served mainly as a side dish for stews. I must look for some in New York.

One observation, which our friends in Cairo confirmed was characteristic, is that no place seems to do everything well. For example, Ali Baba in Luxor had great bread, but the remainder of the meal was on the dull side. Of the mezze, each place did a few well and a few were forgettable.

Drinks;

I had half-thought I would skip the alcohol in a Muslim country, but it was so readily available that I gave it a shot. We found three local beers: Stella was the lightest, with a unique aftertaste that reminded me a bit of Heineken. Sankara was the next up, and to me the cleanest and best. Meister was a heavier, and more alcoholic lager, reminding me a little of Carlsburg. For wine, Omar Khayyam red tasted like airline wine, passable at best, and a glass local sparkling wine was awful (although it might have been open too long. There was some mousse, but the wine was severely oxidized).

Fruit juices were great. Although I found the limoon (lemonade) a bit sweet at times, watermelon juice was very refreshing. Mango was very thick and pulpy – you could spoon it out. Strawberry came with juice and whole fruit, served with a straw and a spoon. Sometimes the juices were blended in a way that they were quite foamy. Not icey, but topped with a medium-thick, stable foam – maybe blended with egg whites?

Prices

Things were cheap, very cheap, even though I believe we often paid 2-3 times the local price where prices were not set (at street carts, for example, we would often be quoted 2LE for what a local got for 1LE.). A snack on the street would be 1-3 LE, with a bit less than 6LE / $. Dinner entrees might run 20-40LE in many places. A bottle of water (1.5L) was 2LE in Cairo. The asking price in the Luxor tourist areas was 10LE or more, but 3LE seemed to clear the market if you indicated you knew the fair price. In some of the fancier places, we did manage to run up bills of maybe 300LE, $50, but for 4 people with food and drinks, some of these seemed bargains. At Mohamed Rafia, a kilo of tiny, delicate lamb loin chops from the grill was considered outrageous by local standards at 90LE ($15). Try getting anywhere near that price in a US restaurant!

Specific Recommendations

The best meals we ate in Cairo were at Abu el Sid, the restaurant at Al Azhar Park, and Mohamed Refia. Abu el Sid was a well decorated, modern restaurant in Zamalek. The mezze were very good, including a lamb and pine nut meatball, and I tried the molokhiya, a Jew’s mallow and garlic soup that I liked very much, despite the somewhat “slimey” texture of the mallow (think okra and spinach crossed). I can’t recall (or find) the exact name of the beautiful new spot in the Al Azhar Park, but we enjoyed open-air dining and a wider array of mezze, including excellent grilled chicken livers with lemon. Refia was a open-air grill house in a dark, souk-like alley, with unbelievable grilled meats (the lamb chops, mentioned above, might be the best I’ve ever had), served with a non-alcoholic bloody Mary referred to as “Egyptian whiskey.” (I asked a local who was with us for the real name, and he indicated there was no other name.) An awesome setting for late-night (midnight) dining on a festival night.

In Luxor, good food was harder to find. We tried a few places in town, but most were hit or miss, acceptable but not more. We did find, “Chicken Hut,” which I assume was the Happy Chicken place referenced above. Oddly, no chicken was available, just very nice falafel and foul.

In Sharm el Sheikh, we had only one night out, but I liked Tam Tam just off the main strip in Na’am Bay very much. We ate outdoors, with very nice mezze, generous portions, and great local music. In general, Sharm is all flash, sort of an Egyptian Vegas-by-the-sea. Go for the beach or diving, but this is not Egyptian culture.

Our hotel in Luxor, Al Moudira, was amazing. It is smaller hotel, with a luxury compound-like feel. The rooms are huge and well-decorated, and the outside dinning area was beautiful, as were the gardens and pools. Service was excellent. The restaurant was a nice place to eat, but was a blend of foods, leaning more to the West. It was perfectly nice, with a menu that changed daily, but it would not stand out in a major Western city. You probably eat better there than elsewhere in Luxor, and the setting is great, but it is not the food you have traveled 5000 miles to try.

Non-food thoughts:

You can’t miss a felucca (sailboat) ride on the Nile in Luxor, especially for 30LE / $5 per hour.

Despite the fact we were going to one archeological site after another, I was impressed by the variety of sights and feels. My favorites temples were Hapshetsut and Medinet Habu (although nothing against the big guns of Luxor and Karnak), and the Valley of the Nobles tombs were a nice contrast to the Valley of the Kings. The hike from Hapshetset to the Valley of the Kings was great, if a little hot and dusty.

The tourist souk at Khan el-Khalili was perfectly nice, but we had a real adventure at the Friday flea market under the autoroute, along a nasty abandoned railway / dump, near the old cemeteries. Based on the stares we got, I think we were the first Westerners to find this huge place, and I am not sure everyone would be 100% comfortable there. Among the more interesting items for sale, I passed on the various live snakes, but I did find a World War II tank shell that had been turned into pharaoh-themed trench art.

Final Thought

For what it is worth, I ate and drank everything, including the salads and fruit juices. Bottled water was my only nod to food safety. No problems for me, although my wife wasn’t 100% by the end. Your mileage may vary.

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Nice write up and I have a vague feeling that you are being on the generous side for the level of Egyptian grub.

1- I would not eat street food ever in Egypt! That's just too risky and the odds are worse than in Vegas.

2- In general, food level is not at par with other ME countries like Beirut or Dubai or other.

3- There are some nice restaurants but you have to be guided by the locals who live there. 5 Star hotels are a safe bet and still leave a lot to be desired.

For the real local Egyptian stuff which is very nice, you would really need to go with someone who lives there. There are some famous street kebab shops open at night next to the Maslakh (slaughter house) but the stench might put you off and you have to disregard the cats and the occasional dog. Some other shops specialize in Koshari and some other in foul or Ta'amia (Falafel which is the real original Egyptian fry up).

Sophisticated dishes is not the Egyptian forte and I remember having the best meal of chicken in the dirtiest place I ever been too. The plastic plates were so worn that you could not guess the original color and the place only serves one meal combination per day. Which on this day was salad (fogetaboutit) bread - chicken and rice. The chicken was succulent and obviously you would eat with your hand. In case any one is adventurous to try the place is called Um Mohamad and is mid way on the Alexandria highway (Zira'ee) and not the desert one. Its a place for truckers and any driver will take you there.

Try the open Egyptian village at the Marriott in the evening and start with corn on the cob bbq on open fire followed by Termoss - Koshari - Foul - freshly baked bread and a combi of grilled meat and Tahina dip. Follow with a Sheesha and a mint tea. If you can still walk after that, hit the Casino for a drink and a laugh or better in summer go upstairs to the open air Cinema cum restaurant to see an Egyptian film.

4- Beer has a slight problem as they increase the glycerin level for storage in summer and you can be either passed out or washed out by the time you get to your room. Egyptian wine is first grade vinegar which goes well for salads.

5- The country is a beautiful country for the people are very affable, the humor is uncany and the history and archeological sites are just mind blowing. It is a dream holiday but not a gastronomic one.

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tazerowe-

Thank you for the report, sounds like you had a great time. I'd probably eat the things you've tried in the same adventurous, generous spirit.

I will add though it's difficult to judge a country's cuisine based on dining out. Even in countries with well established and highly developed restaurant scenes great home cooking stands on it own and perhaps better reflects the culinary spirit of a country. Of course not all of us are lucky enough to be invited into someone's home. I suppose it's a bit of a silly point for me make in the context of your trip. :smile:

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Final Thought

For what it is worth, I ate and drank everything, including the salads and fruit juices.  Bottled water was my only nod to food safety.  No problems for me, although my wife wasn’t 100% by the end.  Your mileage may vary.

Lucky you. I got terribly ill when I was in Cairo.

I also couldn't resist the strawberries - which I find odd now that I think about how I was told to use bottled water when brushing my teeth :hmmm:

Even though I did come home ill, I enjoyed my visit to Cairo and the food.

Great report - thanks.

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Thanks Tazerowe for the report, I am going to egypt in 3 weeks

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Final Thought

For what it is worth, I ate and drank everything, including the salads and fruit juices.  Bottled water was my only nod to food safety.  No problems for me, although my wife wasn’t 100% by the end.  Your mileage may vary.

Lucky you. I got terribly ill when I was in Cairo.

I also couldn't resist the strawberries - which I find odd now that I think about how I was told to use bottled water when brushing my teeth :hmmm:

Even though I did come home ill, I enjoyed my visit to Cairo and the food.

Great report - thanks.

So did my husband - bad case of dysentery (I lucked out - was fine). I think all normal 2nd-3rd world food precautions should be followed (no tap water - no uncooked veggies - unpeeled fruit - street food - etc.). Also - make sure to bring tummy meds from home should you need them (get Rx from your doctor and fill it before you leave). We were told that the morbidity rate among westerners when we were there was about 80%-90% - so just have a game plan in mind if and when it happens to you. Plenty of fluids are a must. We were on a cruise ship going up the Nile - and I found that by tipping everyone on the boat about 25 cents I was able to keep my husband well hydrated in our cabin until he could get on his feet again (in about 48 hours). If you or a companion don't seem to be getting better - cut your trip short and get to a 1st world country with decent medical facilities (dehydration can do terrible things to people).

Fascinating country - great trip - but I do not rank it high in terms of culinary experiences (not that I went there for the food). And these days - there are terrorist/tourist problems too (so I'd keep on top of what's happening). Robyn

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Thanks for the report tazerowe.

Abu El Sid has several outlets in Cairo - you can find a list of the outlets here.

inespm, not sure whether you've left for your trip yet, but here are links to restaurant reviews and a recent article for more dining options for your trip.

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*Haman bi’l-Farik: Pigeon with green wheat.  Actually, any grilled pigeon is good.

I vividly remember the taste of the wonderful grilled/barbequed pigeon I had a long time ago in Cairo. I read somewhere that it is a different type of pigeon. Is this true? Is a marinade used to keep it so succulent and if so, do you know what is in it?

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*Bump*

I'd forgotten all about Estoril! The given address is 12 Talat Harb street (Cairo), but in fact you have to go down an alley to get to it. Wonderful thomeya, great salads and bread. My grilled chicken was a bit bland but cooked to perfection. Russ' khofta had just the right amount of spice. This seems to be one of those well-known secrets of the area.

If I can get these photos downloaded I'll post photos of the food and the sign. The sign outside the door says, among other things,

Experience the best + the worse as in Aesop's Fable

Eat unpronouncable and undescribable dishes at the oldest restaurant

:laugh:

I love Egypt.

Edited for spelling.


Edited by Smithy (log)

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