Delicious food is one of Egypt’s main attractions. Ask any visitor who got the chance to experience authentic Egyptian food and he’ll rave about koshary, the popular ordinary man’s lunch staple, foul, the poor man’s breakfast, and the Egyptian delicacy that is stuffed pigeon, just to mention a few favourites. But beyond these well known dishes, many Egyptians and visitors lack the knowledge about the origins of Egyptian food. Below are eniGma’s Shereen Kamal’s pick of seven lesser-known, yet popular, delicacies and where you should go to enjoy them.
Molokheya Bel Gambary (Shrimp in Jute Leaves) – Alexandria
Most visitors to Egypt probably got the chance to taste molokheya, or Egyptian green soup, a dish that is truly unique to Egypt. In Cairo, molokheya is made either with chicken or rabbit stock and the chicken or rabbit is served on the side. It should come as no surprise that in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria, they cook their molokheya with shrimps. So if you’re a seafood lover, you will definitely enjoy the Alexandrian version. While you’re there, go visit the great library of Alexandria or check out the remains of the Roman Amphitheatre.
Mombar (Stuffed Beef Sausage) – El Wahat
If you’re Egyptian, then you’ve definitely been invited to lunch at a relative’s house and were delighted to find mombar on offer. It’s basically a kind of fried sausage that is stuffed with a mixture of rice and vegetables. The different Egyptian oasis, or Wahat, are most famous for their mombar dishes. They are all worth visiting, not just for the food, but also for the amazing scenery and historical ruins. We recommend a trip to Siwa oasis to enjoy its idyllic atmosphere, as well as a visit to the oracle where Alexander the Great sought guidance from the gods.
Keshk (Savoury Pudding) – Qena
Keshk, or the Egyptian version of savoury pudding, is a mixture of flour, milk and yoghurt, cooked with chicken stock, usually garnished with fried chopped onions on top. You’ll find that keshk is cooked in slightly different ways in different parts of Egypt. For the best mouth watering keshk out there, we recommend you pay a visit to the city of Qena in Upper Egypt. While you’re there, you may want to visit the Sheikh El-Qenawi mosque and the ruins of Dendara, which are the two biggest tourist attractions in the area.
Hawawshi (Meatloaf) – El Sharqiya
This famous dish can be considered the Egyptian variation on meatloaf. You basically spice up some meat with onions, pepper, parsley and whatever spices you want to add, place it between two layers of dough, and bake it in an oven. For the best hawawshi in the country, head to the small town of El Azizeya in El Sharqiya, which is famous for generously using around a quarter of a kilo of meat in each hawawshi! Once you’ve satisfied your palate, we suggest you go visit the tomb of the Pharaoh Psusennes I, dubbed as the Silver Pharaoh because of his unique solid silver coffin, in Tanis (or San El Hagar).
Feseekh (Salted Mullet) – Kafr El Sheikh
Feseekh, basically strongly salted raw fish, is not for everyone, especially those with sensitive stomachs. But if you love sushi and love salty, you are guaranteed pure bliss. But be forewarned, not everyone can tolerate the strong smell of feseekh. If you’d still like to try this Egyptian delicacy, we suggest you pack your bags and head to the city of Kafr El Sheikh in the Delta where you will get the best feseekh. Celebrities and politicians are known to visit the city just to get a taste of this delicious dish. To make the most of your trip to Kafr El Sheikh, we suggest you pay a visit to the beautiful Virgin Mary Church while you’re there.