Eating is a social event for Egyptians. They usually eat three meals a day, as well as light snacks. Flat-bread is the main part of the Egyptian meal. Egyptian bread is whole wheat, round and hollow, and can be filled with beans, meat, vegetables or cheese.

The typical breakfast consists of tea and foul, or beans, bread and cheese or eggs and jam. Sweet pastries such as halawa and baklava also may be eaten at breakfast. The afternoon family meal, eaten around 3:00 p.m., is more elaborate and consists of cooked chicken, beef or lamb, fish, vegetables with rice, salads and pickles. A light supper at 8:00 p.m. includes yogurt, fruit or cheese. A traditional dessert is basboussa, a sweet cake made with yogurt, semolina, butter and milk covered with syrup. Egyptians eat a variety of vegetables. Okra, eggplant and melokhia, a green leafy vegetable which is chopped and cooked in soups, are favourites.

Religion plays an important role in the eating habits of Egyptians. For example, Muslims do not eat pork. Alcoholic beverages are forbidden by Islam, but are available at most restaurants and stores. During Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, however, alcoholic drinks are not permitted in restaurants and stores. Mint tea and a drink made with hibiscus leaves called karkadeh are popular. People also drink Turkish coffee and tea for breakfast and lunch.

Many street stalls sell twamyah or falafel, which is ground fava beans mixed with spices, kebabs, bread and foul.

Foul Midammis


185 gm dried fava beans
15 gm dried red lentils
3 tbs olive oil/vegetable oil
2 1/2 tsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbs chopped fresh parsley (optional)


Wash the beans and lentils and drain thoroughly. Boil 925 ml of water, add beans and lentils and simmer for 3 to 4 hours until the beans are tender. There should be no water left. Cool the beans. Mix olive oil, lemon juice and salt. Add to beans and lentils. Garnish with parsley. Serve with pickled eggplant.