They say history started with the Ancient Egyptians, and it’s true. Standing by the pyramids you will feel a sense of how majestic the Pharaohs were. For even more historical sites, take a trip down to Luxor, where you’ll be enchanted by the burial sites of the kings and queens. Apart from the history, Cairo is a surprisingly great place to find vegan food. Here are a few.
Historical Cairo: Foul Medames
After a ride to the pyramids, which are surprisingly close to the city; you must take a stroll in the historical places of old Cairo - like Khan Alkhalili and AlHussein. This is where Islamic architecture takes over, and it’s a great place to explore if you’re a travel blogger or vlogger. The beauty of this busy city will allow you to get YouTube views fast and quick.
You’ll find vendors selling Foul Medames, a stewed dish made of fava beans made into a paste and seasoned with cumin, tahini, flaxseed or olive oil, and other spices. They say that the dish was eaten by the ancient Egyptians, so it has a long history.
Nowadays, sides that come with this brilliant dish include fried pickled eggplant, pickled cucumber, onion slices, green salad with lemon-oil dressing, falafel (made with fava beans, not chickpeas), french fries, baba ganoush, and fresh pita bread.
You’ll feel like a king after a meal like that, even though you’re seated among the hustle and bustle of the busy streets of Cairo.
A Performance In Food: Koshari
Rice and lentils came from Asia, macaroni from Italy, and the Egyptians took a British spun dish to make it their own. The best Koshari in Cairo can be found near Tahrir square, where their part of the Arab Spring revolution was centered.
At Abu Tariq, you can find the servers almost making music as they layer their koshari orders. It’s a dish that originated from the British Kedgeree (which in turn came from India, but the British added fish), and it developed in the 1800s.
Koshari is a layered dish: rice (with vermicelli), macaroni, lentils, crispy fried onions, boiled chickpeas, a tomato sauce spiced with cumin and garlic, all to be topped with optional garlic-lemon dressing and/or chilli sauce.
This dish doesn’t make sense until you try it, and it’s best when you’re surrounded by the servers banging their spoons against pots and pans in rhythm to a beat that only they know. It’s food evolution at its finest. No one set out to make a vegan dish, it just came to be.
Halabessa: A Spicy Drink
Last but not least, you’d be wrong not to get yourself a warm drink as you take a stroll in the chilly Cairo nights. What better than Halabessa, a spicy chickpea soup that is served in a cup, with a spoon to munch on those chickpeas. It’s deceptively satisfying, and can be found anywhere and everywhere in Cairo — especially when the weather cools down.
Cairo is a great city to explore history, have fun, and discover Islamic architecture. Bustling with noise, the city offers many delicious vegan options that carry historical significance and took centuries to perfect—you can eat like a Pharaoh too!