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Traditional Cairo Food

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Cuisine is an integral part of any local culture, and no trip to Cairo is complete without tasting the traditional Cairo food. This directory offers information about the traditional dishes and drinks available in Cairo to help visitors better understand the local food culture and make an informed decision when trying them.


  • Baba Ghannoug: aubergine mashed and mixed with various seasonings.
  • Besara: beans, onions, garlic cloves, parsley leaves, coriander leaves, fresh dill, cumin powder, salt and pepper.
  • Duqqa: a mixture of herbs, nuts, probably hazelnut, and spices.


  • Bamia: a stew with lamb or beef cubes and okra in a tomato sauce base.
  • Kishk: a milk or yogurt savory pudding, made with flour, sometimes seasoned with fried onions, chicken broth, and/or boiled chicken.
  • Lentil Soup: lentils, bay leaf, carrots, celery, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar, pepper and salt.
  • Molokheyyah: a green soup made from finely chopped jute leaves, sometimes with chicken or rabbit.


  • Egyptian Bean Salad: green beans, black-eyed peas, tomatoes, parsley, scallions, lemons, vegetable oil.
  • Egyptian Tomato Salad: tomatoes, lemon juice, green chili pepper, cilantro or parsley, olive oil, salt and ground pepper.
  • Fatush: a bread salad made from toasted or fried pieces of pita bread combined with mixed greens and other vegetables.
  • Koshaf: dried prunes, dried Turkish apricots, dried small figs, raisins, sugar, boiling water.
  • Salata Khiyar: cucumbers, flat leaf parsley, fresh mint, olive oil, salt, black pepper, vinegar and sugar.

Main courses

  • Calamari: squid, fried and served with tartar sauce, or grilled.
  • Ful medames: cooked and mashed fava beans served with olive oil, chopped parsley, onion, garlic, and lemon juice.
  • Hamam Mahshi: pigeons stuffed with rice or wheat and herbs, then roasted or grilled.
  • Kebda: fried liver with seasonings.
  • Koubeiba: a dish made of bulgur (crushed wheat) or rice and chopped meat.
  • Kushari: rice, brown lentils, chickpeas, macaroni, and a topping of Egyptian garlic and vinegar and spicy tomato sauce (salsa).
  • Macaroni béchamel: a dish made with penne pasta, a layer of cooked spiced meat with onions, and Béchamel or Mornay sauce.
  • Mahshi Wara' inab: grape leaves stuffed with a mixture of rice, tomato sauce, and little chops of onions and parsley.


  • Baklava: a sweet dish made from many layers of phyllo pastry, an assortment of nuts, and soaked in a sweet syrup.
  • Kahk: a shortbread biscuit covered with icing sugar, which may be stuffed with dates, walnuts, or agameya.
  • Kunāfah: sweet made of very fine vermicelli-like pastry.
  • Qatayef: sweet crepe filled with cheese or nuts.
  • Roz be laban: short grain white rice, full-cream milk, sugar, and vanilla.
  • Umm Ali: a raisin cake soaked in milk.

Fast food

  • Kofta: balls of minced or ground meat — usually beef or lamb — mixed with spices and/or onions.

Street food

  • Fatayer: a meat pie pastry stuffed with spinach or cheese.
  • Kebob: a skewer filled with meat and vegetables.

Drinks (Non-alcoholic)

  • Carob juice: a drink that is usually drunk during the Islamic month of Ramadan.
  • Karkade: a tea of dried hibiscus sepals.

Drinks (Alcoholic)

  • Chill: spirit with the excitement of carbonation.

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