Visitors Eat Well in Egypt

July 12, 2011
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Meals are an aspect of Egyptian culture that American travelers may be unprepared for. Learning about Egypt’s dining culture will whet any visitor’s appetite for some local fare before exploring the Pyramids or relaxing on a Nile cruise.

While Egyptians are generally very enthusiastic about food and meals, their formal meals are structured differently than the traditional breakfast, lunch and dinner format of the West.

The main meal is typically served around the middle of the day, sometimes after work around 3 or 4 p.m., and usually features meat. Like dinner in the U.S., this is a family meal, and relatives sit down together directly after work to enjoy plates of kosherie, a mix of macaroni, lentils, rice, fried onions, chickpeas and spicy tomato sauce, along with chicken or rabbit and a flat pastry.

Breakfast, served first thing in the morning, usually includes flatbread, eggs and fuul, or simmered fava beans, and dinner usually takes place around 10 p.m., if not slightly earlier.

Restaurants in Egypt often add 12% onto the bill as a service charge. However, the server likely never sees this money, so most locals leave another 5 to 8 percent in cash for them. Travelers with International Expeditions won’t have to worry about tipping too much or too little — tips to the wait staff are included for all group meals on the Wings Over the Nile journey.

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