Eating Street Food in Egypt

| April 16, 2012 | 33 Comments

Lunch in Egypt

Street Food in Egypt

If you are an adventure traveller then hopefully you will be trying the local cuisines when you explore the world. Which means that if you ever end up in Egypt then you will love it. The street food in Egypt is definitely some of the best local cuisine we have ever. And one of the cheapest.

So if you stick to our top five street food options below (which we ate daily) then I promise you that your taste buds will leave Egypt very happy.

Short history lesson

As any fellow foodie will know there is an interesting story behind the Egyptian cuisine. To give you a short history lesson, Egyptian food was originally shaped by its neighbors including the Persians, Greeks, Romans, Arabs, and Ottomans. Traces of these cultures are still seen in Egyptian cuisine today and this is why the street food in Egypt will really surprise you as the variety is endless.

1) Falafel

Street food in Egypt Falafel

Traditionally the Egyptians relied heavily on bread and veges and this is still the case today. Falafel is extremely popular in Egypt and for good reason! In fact it is not unusual to see it served during any time of the day and we had it at breakfast, lunch and dinner.

One of my favorite foodie moments was stopping at a street food stall in Egypt and watching the fresh falafel get fried to perfection in front of my eyes before being dumped into a pita pocket and handed over.

The combination of the piping hot crunchy outside along with the fresh and moist flavors on the inside made for one of the best lunches we had on our adventure travels in Egypt. And the best thing is that it only cost the equivalent of $1!

2) Koshari

Koshari Street Food in Egypt

We quickly became addicted to another one of Egypt’s most popular dishes; Koshari. Consisting of pasta, rice, lentils, tomatoes and onions, one can be forgiven for thing it sounds like a bland meal with far to many carbs. But do not let this fool you. Served with a tasty chili sauce it will leave your taste buds singing for more.

You can also cook it really easily and since our return we have often cooked it at home.

3) Seafood

Seafood Street Food in Egypt

If you are heading to try out any of the adventure travel activities like diving in the Red Sea then I would definitely recommend trying some of the local seafood. For about the equivalent of $15 you will get the biggest three course seafood meal you have ever seen. Seafood chowder, snapper, prawns, calamari, crayfish, you name it, you get it!

And the fish is straight out of the sea so it is so fresh that it falls apart as you dig in just using your fork. It even rivals New Zealand’s seafood.

4) Shish Kebab

The staple diet of a late night out for most people this can be an enjoyable meal when you are sober too. Although the Egyptian version is so much better.

Usually served with three different skewered kebabs consisting of pork, chicken, beef or falafel and a massive serving of rice and roast vegetables you will be unlikely to finish. And while the meal is huge the part that really makes this meal so memorable is the flavors. The shish kebab has a slight spice to it which tastes amazing with the local sauces (don’t know what they were sorry) and the meat falls right off the skewer. Plus the rice isn’t just plain either as it comes with a lovely combination of cinnamon and raisins.

5) Mint Tea

Okay so technically not street food but this is really more about the “street food experience” than the actual taste. There is nothing better than picking a local café nestled in the heart of the bazaars (markets) on the side of the bustling streets to rest you weary feet.

As the madness continues around you out comes a pair of engraved glasses containing a stem of mint leaves and piping hot pot of water. The first taste is surprisingly refreshing even in the stifling weather and you will feel the tension of the busy streets slowly seep out of your body. Pair this with a cheeky afternoon sheesha and you will be in heaven.

Stick to these five favorites and I guarantee you will have a great time experiencing something new. Just remember to check that if you are eating street food in Egypt then the place you are eating at is clean and hygienic.

What is your favourite street food in Egypt?

About the Author ()

Adela is one half of the New Zealand Adventure Couple who have been travelling since 2009. She loves the outdoors and has a real passion for Snowboarding, Mountain Biking and Surfing (apart from being scared of sharks). She loves food and writes all our food posts. Consider following us via RSS Feed, Twitter, Facebook and subscribe to our Newsletter.

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  1. The best street food around the world | November 13, 2012
  1. Pete says:

    Falafel and Kebap are probably 2 of my favorite foods on this planet. Looks delicious!!

  2. Laurence says:

    Great photos of awesome looking food :) I love me a bit of street food :D

  3. Laura says:

    The Falafel looks a bit different from the one we can get in Spain. Hm… I wonder if it also tastes different.I guess we will just have to go to Egypt and try it ourselves.

  4. This is total food porn right here. Fresh falafel sounds amazing. Beam me to Cairo!

  5. Yum, I would eat ALL of this!! I wish Kali would agree to travel to Egypt with me already! =P

  6. Ayngelina says:

    I LOVE mint tea. I drank it all the time in Jordan and I don’t even like tea!

  7. Hey, first time reader of your site. Big fan of street food, the world over, so, this article is right up my alley.

    But, I’m intrigued that you say the Egyptian seafood is better than New Zealand’s. The seafood in NZ is simply incredible, and given that I’m Australian, and making a public statement of how good something in NZ is, you know I must be telling the truth ;)

    • Thanks Nate for joining us on the sit and glad you enjoy street food as much as us :) We don’t quite say that Egyptian food is better, we just say is rivals NZ seafood! Trust us, nothing beats fresh NZ seafood haha.

  8. Angela says:

    I love Egyptian food, everything you mentioned! And mint tea is gorgeous!

  9. That has definitely made me hungry for some Egyptian food. I could use a falafel right now :)

  10. A less hygienic street food in Egypt is liver, but it tastes so good, it is addictive! I wouldn’t recommend it to first timers though, might have some side effects :D but it is always so addictive that everyone – usually – orders just 1 sandwich, then stand by the cooking guy re-ordering up to 5 or 6 sandwiches :D

    Now I’m hungry

  11. Wanderplex says:

    Awesome roundup! I love street food (sometimes more than restaurant food) and have lots of fond memories of eating these things in Egypt!

  12. properties in Dubai says:

    I am loving to eat spicy food and during visit this blog my mouth is full of water and feeling comes that the things call me to come and eat me :)
    Very delicious post. ;)

  13. Ali says:

    I haven’t been to Egypt yet but I love kebabs!

  14. ALL street food in Egypt is amazing! I’ve gotta say falafel — and my husband likes Kosheri.

  15. Turtle says:

    I’d never heard of koshari before. It sounds fantastic. Can’t wait to get over there and try it myself (perhaps with not too much chilli…)

  16. sameh says:

    Food, a key component of our Egyptian culture over the years is associated with many religious and social occasions. With globalization and the invasion of fast food for our world. Traditional meals are struggling to find her a place on the dining table the Egyptian citizen.
    Best Regards

  17. Great guide. I think everyone who visits Egypt should be sure to try the street food.

    Falafel was part of one of my favourite lunches out there! The Falafel in the UK just does not compare.

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