The food in Cairo is delicious. In addition to loads of traditional foods more exclusively from Egypt, Cairo puts its own spin on some of the more common Middle Eastern dishes, never failing to disappoint!
Generally speaking, food can be found anywhere. Definitely try the Egyptian street food, as there is nothing else quite like it both for flavor and for price (and always remember to bargain!).
Some of the most notable dishes include:
This is basically the Egyptian word for falafel. Here however rather than chickpeas they use fava beans, which creates a slightly different but nonetheless delightful taste. Ta’meya is extremely filling and can be eaten in a variety of ways––all on its own; dipped in tahini sauce; stuffed into a pita with various other fillings.
Kushary is a simple but delicious mix of pasta, rice, tomato sauce, onions, lentils, garlic, salt, and anything else the chef decides to add! It can be found almost anywhere and is extremely affordable (we are talking like 15 Egyptian Pounds––less than 1 USD––for a full meal!).
Hawashy is a sort of flattish bread (not technically a flatbread, I believe) baked with minced meat inside, and seasoned with a variety of spices. It is very compact and portable and filling and delicious!
Basbousa is a terribly sweet dessert made of semolina soaked in sweetened water and it is delicious! You definitely need a sweet tooth though, because after just a few bites the sugar can get overwhelming.
Baba Ghanoush is a paste made of tahini and mashed eggplant (aubergine), and made magic by the addition of parsley, pepper, cumin, lemon juice, and olive oil. It can be eaten with pretty much anything, and is actually one of my favorite foods ever. It is particularly good as a snack spread over flatbread.
Ful is a dish made of fava beans served with an endless variety of things (whatever the creator wishes, really) but almost always olive oil and cumin. Ful is a regular staple, cheap and healthy and immensely filling. Many locals fuel up for the day with a hearty breakfast of ful with egg and flatbread. It can also be eaten alongside raw onion (delicious!), pickled turnips/radishes/carrots, and cucumber.
Halve is any of a broad variety of sweets made from tahini (sesame paste) and then mixed with an assortment of other flavors, commonly different nuts. It can also have various vegetables or even beans. Halva is dense and extremely sweet.
Cairo is also pleasantly abounding in foreign cuisine. Some of the finest can be found in the boats along the Nile in the city center. These have been years at rest in the river and are now converted into centers of entertainment and fine dining. If you have some extra cash to spend this can be a great indulgence. You can find delicious meals from Europe, India, Southeast Asia, China, Latin America, and a scattering of Middle Eastern countries as well. Some of the most notable boats include La Pacha, Blue Nile, Imperial Boat, Scarabee, Nile Lily, Nile City, and many more!