One of the most staple dishes in Egyptian life is Fūl; a dish consisting of fava beans, vegetable oil, cumin, with optional herbs, spices, and vegetables. It is cooked slowly over a low heat and seasoned to perfection. The dish is so popular that many claim it was eaten in Ancient Egypt - talk about standing the test of time! It is usually eaten for breakfast and is often considered one of the country’s national dishes.
Other popular dishes in Egypt include falafel - or as it is known inside the country, tamiyya, made once again from fava beans and cooked in oils - and koshari, made up of rice, lentils, macaroni, and a tomato sauce. These are all usually meals prepared in the home, but you can experience them in street stalls located all over Cairo.
It would be easy to write Egypt off as a vegetarian country, but the truth is that meat consumption is heavily affected by social class. Most meals can be prepared with or without meat, with the protein added depending on the wealth of the eaters. Higher class households will often eat meat every day, with others only adding it to their meals anywhere from weekly to monthly. Of course, it’s important to remember that as Egypt is a widely Muslim country, pork is not eaten.
Gone so spoon?
Eating out is as popular in Egypt as in any other country, with options ranging from street food stalls to sit-down restaurants serving international cuisine. Eating times also differ greatly depending on social class, with people living in more rural areas eating their main meal after it has gotten dark, and city dwellers taking a more Western approach by eating whenever they return from work.
But the most notable difference with eating habits involves how people eat. The traditional way of eating in Egypt, which is mostly still adhered to in rural areas, is to sit on the floor, with your food on a low round table. There are no individual plates, with everyone having their own spoon and helping themselves to eat from the serving dish. And although the cities may have switched the floor for a table and the serving dish for individual settings, the dining experience is just as enjoyable.