Famous Egypt Food in Ancient and Modern Days

Exploring the Egyptian history, you will find a lot of diversities in its food and cuisines. As Egypt has one of the most-recorded histories, there's a lot of information about Egypt food and other cultural and socio economic aspects of that time.

Egypt traditional food goes all the way back to the time of the start of the civilization when the staples included bread, garlic, beans, coriander and other ingredients that are synonymous with other Middle Eastern and Mediterranean flavors. The taste evolved with the crossovers in the ingredients, cooking techniques, and influence from the other races.

The common ones

Of the many Egyptian dishes, vegetarian preparations were quite common in the traditional Egyptian cuisines. If you look at dishes such as Molokheyya, Koshari or Ful Medames - they all have mix of elements such as beans, pasta, lentils, rice and vegetables. The love for veg preparations is mostly because meat was and still is expensive for most people to afford. However, if you are staying along the coasts, fishes and seafood seems will be found in abundance.

Bread is yet another staple Egyptian traditional food and hearty pita bread or Eish Masri, as locally referred to, is the most common sort. This is very basic bread made from yeast, flour, salt and water. It is served along with most of the other Egypt foods. Ful Medames is the most common traditional breakfast food that is served with Eish Masri and some vegetable preparations. The dish is slow-cooked in a copper pot and contains hard boiled eggs, tomato, turnips, and pickled cucumbers. Sometimes, the texture of the food is as creamy as hummus or if you prefer it chunky, that is also possible. This preparation might be stuffed in pita or can be served as a side dish.

Egypt Food
Egypt Food - Koshari

Egyptian Food
Egypt Bread

Fesikh or Feseekh is an exclusive Egypt food that is prepared during a specific festival – the Sham El Nessim. Made from dried, salted and fermented mullet, this is one recipe which will forever remain you of your Egypt tour! Mullet fish is dried in sun and salted and demands complete attention while preparing as incorrect cooking can lead to serious food poisoning from the fish's poison. Once done, it is stored in thick glass jars to save for long. Typically, it is eaten with bread and onions.

The culinary habits of ancient Egypt is amazingly impressive than almost any ancient civilization in the world, specifically any contemporary civilizations. There are many scrolls of hieroglyphic writings which depict what the Egyptians ate and drank. Most of their artwork has been about finding, growing, or preparation of food, not to forget their ways to getting those food - fishing, hunting, and working in the fields.


Food choices in ancient and modern day Egypt -

• Poultry Products

Both the rich and the peasants consumed poultry in ancient Egypt of which quails, geese, ducks, pigeons, swans, cranes, and even doves and ostriches were common. Even today, you can find abundance of recipes that include the poultry products of duck, swan and goose eggs.

• Milk and Other Dairy Products

With agriculture and farming, people started to sustain practices of cattle farming. Livestock such as goats, sheep, bulls and cows were raised for their milk and soon there were foods that had milk as the main ingredient. Soon enough, they learnt about other dairy products such as curd and cream and were considered delicacies. The practice continues these days and many recipes are made with these dairy products. However, based on some temple rules, the followers might be forbidden from consuming certain types of dairy products.

Read More: Egyptian Breakfast Menus

   

• Vegetables

Vegetables were heavily consumed in Egypt food. Flood in Nile every year left the banks of the river very fertile where most poor families settled and cultivated. However, the consumption of veggies was popular amongst the well-off people too who enjoyed it along with other foods such as meat and bread. Onions, lentils, turnips, leeks, cabbage, garlic, radishes, legumes, and cucumbers are the common ones.

• Fruit

Similarly with fruits. The fertile Nile banks grew a variety of fruits, of which that are high in sugar and protein became popular. Probably during the reign of Hyksos, the country saw the cultivation of apple, olive, and pomegranate trees. Grapes and figs were also popular but coconuts were imported and treated as luxury goods. Interestingly, the presence of many such fruits in the then rich people’s daily diets from the remains has been found in several tombs. Today, many Egyptian Desserts such as Basbousa, Fiteer or Baklava contain coconut and other fruits.

Egypt Fruits
Varieties of local Fruits

• Wine

Wine and ancient Egypt has a very strong connection. In fact, theories suggest that Egyptians as early as 3000 BC consumed wine. It was consumed in the court of the pharaohs and by the 18th century, wine had become popular merchandise.

Read More: Special Drinks in Egypt


In ancient times, the folks picked and squeezed the juice out of the grapes by stepping on them in a big trough that held over six men. It was stored with the date and vineyard on it in a clay pot, almost exactly like today. In fact, for the royals, there was an official wine taster as well. Today, you can enjoy some of the tastiest wines while traveling to Egypt as it continues to be a tradition till date.

• Food Additives

Did you know that the ancient Egyptians used a lot of food additives and seasoning? The most common one is oil and studies show that there are about 21 different names for the different vegetable oils obtained from various sources such as castor, safflower, sesame, radish seed, horseradish, flax seed, colocynth and more. The most popular one was Horseradish oil. Spices such as salt, dill, cinnamon, fennel, coriander, marjoram, fenugreek, aniseed, cumin, mustard, and thyme were popular and continue to be so in modern day recipes. Although sugar was not found in itself in ancient Egypt, but sweeteners and syrups made from grapes, dates, and figs were there.

Popular Egyptian foods

Meat and Poultry Dishes - Hawawshi, Fatteh, Kebda, Shawerma
Cheese - Domiati Cheese, Mish, Areesh Cheese, Roumy Cheese
Egyptian Mezze (Egyptian dips / small dishes) - Musakka, Baba Ganoush, Hummus


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