When Jeff and I decided to head to Egypt, yes, I was excited to see all that I had learned about in art history class, but I was equally excited for the food. I love to try anything new, and food is no exception. Luckily, Jeff is exactly the same way.
When we got to Egypt, we immediately told our guide, Mohammad, that we only wanted to eat traditional Egyptian food. Since we would only be spending three days in Egypt, we wanted to eat everything Egyptians ate and loved. We didn’t even bother to care about Ramses Revenge, which luckily didn’t hit until we got home.
While everything we ate was delicious, there are four items that still standout in my mind, and if I could go back to Egypt tomorrow to eat them again, I would be on the next plane over.
If anything is Egypt in a bowl, it’s this dish right here. A mixture of lentils, rice, pasta, tomato sauce, onions, and spices all mixed together in one big bowl. Top it off with garlic oil or hot sauce, and you’re good to go.
The place we went to specializes only in this dish and although we were surrounded by flies as we ate, it was the most delicious meal I may have ever had. After a long day of pyramid hopping in the heat, it was exactly what Jeff and I needed to gain the energy for the remainder of the day.
Roz bi Laban
After the koshari, I didn’t think I could fit anything else into my stomach. That’s when Mohammad brought out the sweet rice pudding, Roz bi Laban. I hate rice pudding, just hearing the name makes my stomach turn, but I didn’t want to upset Mohammad, who was clearly excited about it.
With the first bite, I changed my mind about rice pudding, it was completely nothing like I expected. It was so sweet and cold, that it was like ice cream, but dare I say, better. Had I not stuffed myself with koshari, I would have definitely had seconds.
Aseer Asab, or sugar cane juice, is what you get when you press sugar cane and collect the juice extracted. It’s a very popular drink in Egypt, so of course, we had to try it. The greenish color liquid was sweet and went down easy on the hot summer day.
While it was delicious, and gave us a boost of energy, it was also probably the reason for our stomach issues when we arrived back home. Because it isn’t pasteurized, it can easily carry bacteria. However, it was worth it, and I hate to say it, but I’d do it all over again. It was that good.
I’ve always loved falafel, but there was something about the way they were served in Egypt that made me love them even more. That, and the fact that they are a popular breakfast food. Jeff and I ate these each morning for breakfast and couldn’t seem to get enough.
The combination of the fresh, warm falafel, lettuce, tomato, and tahini on a warm, thin pita is exactly what we needed to start our mornings. In fact, we still talk about how we should start our days this way in America.
One of my favorite reasons for traveling is to fully immerse myself in a culture, and often, there is no better way to do that than through a country’s food. If you ever find yourself in Egypt, don’t forget to sample a few of my favorites.