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Food in Egypt - and restaurants in Sharm el Sheikh

Food in Egypt - what comes to mind? We didn't have any particular food expectations when we travelled to Sharm el Sheikh, but were surprised by tasty scrambles and grilled seafood. We also visited a restaurant serving Egyptian specialities and tried something we had never tried before.


Food in Egypt

Egyptian cuisine offers many of its own specialities, while recognising dishes and flavours from Turkey, Greece and Lebanon, among others. Of course, there are also restaurants serving European and Asian food.

At Fares restaurant in Sharm el Sheikh

Food in Egypt - good scrambles

Our favourite food item during our trip to Sharm el Sheikh was all the delicious scrambles. In most of the restaurants where we ate, pita bread was served before the meal, along with small bowls of hummus, baba ganoush (aubergine scrambled eggs) and other spicy mixtures and sauces. Just as good every time!

Mat i Egypten - röror
Röror och bröd

Food in Egypt - seafood

If you find yourself in one of the tourist resorts, such as Hurghada or Sharm el Sheikh, it means you are also close to the Red Sea. It is quite natural that there is plenty of fish and seafood! In Sharm el Sheikh we saw lots of fish restaurants, often with large beds of ice filled with large shrimps, small crabs, squid, seabream and lots of other fish. You can point to what you want, and for example get it grilled or in soup.

Mat i Egypten - fisk och skaldjur
Fish and seafood at Fares in Sharm el Sheikh
Grillad fisk och grillade räkor
Grilled fish and seafood at Fares in Sharm el Sheikh.
Grillad fisk
Grilled fish at the Soukh of the Hyatt Regency hotel in Sharm el Sheikh

Food in Egypt - in hotels

In the tourist resorts there are lots of both large and small hotels, and these of course partly adapt to the tourists. We tried two different hotels in Sharm el Sheikh and both served a buffet for lunch and dinner, and there were also additional restaurant or restaurants. On the buffets we found everything from rice and potatoes to various stews and gratins, fish, chicken, salads and of course desserts.

Hyatt Regency
Buffet lunch at the Hyatt Regency in Sharm el Sheikh
Mat i Egypten - hotellbuffé
Dinner at Il Mercato

Frukosten på vårt huvudsakliga hotell, Il Mercato, var stor och här hittade vi allt från västerländska frukostfavoriter till mer exotiska bönröror, samt massor av frukt och bakverk. Vi beställde varje dag omelett och kompletterade med falafel, aubergine, tomat, bröd och frukt.

Mat i Egypten - frukost

Food in Egypt - in restaurants

There are of course all kinds of restaurants in Egypt. In Sharm el Sheikh there are plenty of seafood restaurants, but also restaurants serving traditional Egyptian food, Italian food, barbecue, sushi, Chinese food and more.

Mat på restaurang

Restaurants in Sharm el Sheikh

We managed to try a few different restaurants in Sharm el Sheikh. Among other things, we tried local Egyptian food at the restaurant. El Masrien at the Old Market, the old city centre. You can read more about ourpecial experience further down.

We also visited the seafood restaurant. Fares. This is a small chain, and we went to the restaurant next to the hotel Il Mercato. Here you could ask for a "salad" before the meal, and then they came in with all those tasty mixes. Yum! Then you can enjoy grilled fish and seafood, or why not a fish soup?

Fares seafood restaurant

We also tried some of the different restaurants in the hotels. At the Il Mercato we tried the Italian restaurant on the roof. Here we had a seafood dinner - very good, but so lots of food. Very cosy in the warm evening on the roof!

Starter at Il Mercato
Grillade skaldjur på Il Mercato
Main course at Il Mercato

På det femstjärniga hotellet Hyatt Regency, där vi bodde sista dagen, testade vi foodcourt-restaurangen Souk. This was a bit of a fun concept actually! You start with a wallet of silver coins, which you can then spend in any way you want in a number of different small restaurants. What it was for us? Good scrambles and grilled fish of course!

Egyptian specialities - we tried stuffed pigeon

We were having lunch one day and asked our guide to take us to a restaurant serving Egyptian food - that's how we ended up at Elmasrien. For starters, we had good Egyptian bread and tasty scrambled eggs.

Egyptiskt bröd

Then a large platter of wine bottles, minced meat steaks and - each - a stuffed pigeon came in. This was an experience, we can tell you! The pigeon, which was stuffed with rice, was to be eaten with the hands. Not easy! The guide also told us that you can eat the bones. He himself devoured the whole pigeon, legs and all, in a few minutes. For us it took much longer (and we chose to taste only the legs, which were indeed relatively soft). The flavour was spicy and delicious!

Mat i Egypten - fyllda duvor
Fylld duva

Egyptian dishes

We did not have time to taste many of the traditional Egyptian specialities, but here is a small list. We tried Molokhia several times, as it was sometimes served with mixtures like hummus and baba ganoush.

  1. Ugly Medames consists of mashed broad beans. The dish is flavoured with salt, lemon and olive oil, and is eaten with pita bread.
  2. Koshari contains both rice and pasta as well as lentils and beans or chickpeas. The dish is served with tomato sauce and fried onions.
  3. Rozz Me'ammar is a traditional rice dish consisting of rice, milk, butter or cream and chicken stock. The dish is baked in the oven.
  4. Fattah consists of rice, pieces of dried pita bread and the juices of cooked lamb, and is served with tomato sauce.
  5. Kebab can be served with or without skewers, along with bread, vegetables and tahini sauce.
  6. Ta'meya is an Egyptian version of falafel made with fava beans.
  7. Molokhia is a dark green sauce or soup made from a leafy vegetable, similar to spinach. Sometimes it can also contain meat or fish, and is eaten by dipping bread in it.
Molokhia at El Masrien restaurant
Barbecue is also popular - here on a trip to the desert

What do you drink in Egypt?

The majority of Egyptians are Muslim and do not drink alcohol. Beer and wine are therefore often not served in regular restaurants, but both beer and wine (and stronger drinks) are readily available in hotels and in restaurants and bars in hotel areas. Tourist resorts such as Sharm el Sheikh also have shops selling alcohol.

A popular drink is tea, but of course you can also get coffee and soft drinks and all sorts of other drinks. One particular drink we tried is the "sugar cane drink", which is very popular and served in many places. Sweet and really good!

Vin i Egypten
Wine at the Italian restaurant on the roof of Il Mercato

Sweets and fruit in Egypt

It seems that Egyptians (or tourists) like sweets. In any case, all the hotel buffets were filled with all kinds of pastries and cakes.

bakverk på hotell

Fruit also seems to be popular. We often picked banana and melon. We didn't realise at first what the oblong little light coloured fruits were, until the staff explained that they were dates. However, we have to say that the black dates (which we were also served) were tastier!

Fares i Sharm el Sheikh
Fish carved on a honeydew melon at Fares restaurant

We end with a photo of Peter trying to learn how to bake bread in the Egyptian desert...

Baking bread among the Bedouins in the desert during an excursion
Food and drink in different countries. Click on the image!

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