In Egypt, you will come across folks who are known for their friendliness and humorous nature and who also happen to put their spin on every single dish. There is so much to see and do in a country so rich in history and culture, but the food experience in this country is not one to miss. One of the things that you shouldn’t miss while exploring the streets of Egypt is trying on their very unique Egyptian sandwiches.
Egypt is one of the most popular countries in the Arab World and the Middle East that offers exceptional cuisine with great varieties and key elements. The uniqueness doesn’t lie in the usage of bizarre ingredients. In fact, it lies in the fact of them using very basic ingredients but making the most out of them.
Sandwiches, in general, are a staple in every country, where each folk uses their own key ingredients between two slices of bread, creating an artistic meal. We do believe that making sandwiches can be a real art and that perfectly applies to Egyptian sandwiches. Walk with us through this succulent list of Egyptian sandwiches, where plenty of flavours are found, suiting every taste.
Hawawshi doesn’t have an actual meaning in the Arabic language, it happens to be a derivative of the great inventor of this sandwich, Ahmad Al Hawawsh. Hawawshi has always been the king of Egyptian sandwiches. You can just land in Egypt and take off without biting into those soft protein-filled doughs.
The greatness of this sandwich is found in its simplicity. It is made up of fresh minced beef that is well seasoned with pepper, salt, other herbs and green pepper. A loaf of pita bread or fluffy dough comes into the picture, embracing this perfectly flavoured ground beef and leaving it to get the oven-baked to perfection.
As much as it sounds like a very simple recipe to make yourself, if you don’t get the seasoning right, you won’t reach the perfection of this Egyptian delicacy. In many cases, the sandwich is served quite spicy, especially the Alexandrian version, it is never spared of good hot taste. Tahini sauce makes a special appearance on the side, where you can splash your sandwich with some extra flavour.
2. Alexandrian Soujouk Sandwich (Hot Sausages)
Alexandria seems to have the most significant spin on the Egyptian sandwiches, adding special flavours and lots of hot spices. Alexandrian soujouk makes it to the top of the list of the must-try Egyptian sandwiches that would be a shame to miss. Well, this is not just your ordinary sausage sandwich, it is one with special flavours and unique additions.
In a frying pan, sausages are cooked with big chunks of green pepper. It is better that you don’t add too much oil as the sausage is already filled with lots of trans fat. A couple of tomatoes are tossed into a blender with some spices and herbs, blended until they reach that thick paste texture. The tomato sauce resembles what is known as the Italian marinara sauce and it’s added to the sausages.
This nice mixture is then added into a sandwich and served hot, where many sandwiches are devoured at once. Other variations of this recipe may consist of chunks of sautéed potatoes, adding some extra sweetness.
The sandwiches are deemed quite small, for they are served in small white bread where you may find yourself needing more than just one. However, Egyptians are known to be heavy eaters and no one can blame them for all the irresistible foods they have.
3. Kebda Eskandarani (Alexandrian Beef Liver)
It seems that Alexandria is the city where most of the traditional Egyptian sandwiches originated, hence the name, and this one is no exception. The kebda sandwich is one that goes by that name, referring to being high in spices, pretty much like the rest of its fellow sandwiches.
Beef liver is consumed in many parts of the world but not as much as in Egypt. It is one of the most essential sandwiches embedded in Egyptian culture. In fact, it also goes hand in hand with the sausage sandwiches. You will come across lots of street carts serving both sandwiches, where people order a dozen sandwiches, alternating between them.
This hearty meal is made by cutting beef liver into thin slices and adding them to a frying pan along with green pepper, tomatoes, and good seasoning for a perfect taste. It is known to be laden with iron content as well as protein, making you feel full for quite long. A liver sandwich without a generous dash of tahini sauce is not a real liver sandwich, according to Egyptians. So you may have to go their way to enjoy your meal the right way.
4. Foul and Falafel
There is no way you haven’t already expected to find those two famous Egyptian sandwiches on the list. Foul and Falafel is deemed the national breakfast of every Egyptian house. These two always come hand in hand and are deeply integrated into the culture. In fact, it is a breakfast staple that can be consumed on a daily basis. Although it’s commonly known to be a humble meal, it is still served in fancy restaurants.
Foul is actually fava beans that can be crushed until it reaches a smooth texture. Some people prefer having the beans intact for a crunch addition. On the other hand, falafel is popular in more Middle Eastern countries and not just in Egypt. It is consumed as a famous wrap in different countries, including Lebanon.
Although they usually come together, you are free to enjoy each on its own. In fact, falafel is another form of fava beans that are crushed and mixed with chickpeas and fried to perfection. Both foul and falafel, are enjoyed inside a small loaf of bread. Fava beans are commonly enjoyed by Egyptians by dipping pieces of their bread into the plate and eagerly taking as much as possible. Falafel, on the other hand, is always eaten in a round loaf of bread or a wrap, filled with tahini and salads.
5. Eggplants (Aubergine Sandwiches)
You may have heard that Egyptians use many vegetables to stuff them with rice, but what you may not know is that they make them into sandwiches too. And, while many vegetables are suitable to fit into a sandwich, not many cultures are familiar with putting eggplants into bread. This one may come as a surprise as it is not common among many cultures, but Egyptians tend to make sandwiches out of everything,
You may need to give it a try before you judge. In the end, it is a healthy vegetable-laden with essential nutrients. Commonly known as aubergine, this great vegetable is used in a creative way by Egyptians. All it takes is to place the eggplant in a frying pan until it softens. It is then put into a sandwich along with some French fries and enjoyed deliberately.
6. French Fries Sandwich
We may have mentioned adding fries into an aubergine sandwich, but did you know that only fries in a sandwich is an actual meal in the Egyptian culture? Most of the local shops that serve street food have this one on their menus. It is quite popular among the stores that serve foul and falafel, in particular.
French fries sandwich is one of the most popular among Egyptians. There is nothing special here, yet it is a unique sandwich. It is made of just a bunch of fried potatoes put into a soft loaf of bread along with some generous amount of salad and a dash of any sauce you prefer. Tahini sauce does a great job of flaunting the taste. However, a mix of ketchup and mayonnaise also goes a long way.
7. Egyptian Shawarma
Shawarma is a Middle Eastern staple that many countries around the world seem to be familiar with and enjoy. However, just like every other food, Egyptians have their own take on creating shawarma. The Egyptian version of shawarma is not the burrito look-alike that everyone is used to. In fact, this one comes in little rounded buns, yet is served with almost the same ingredients.
The Egyptian shawarma is either meat or chicken that is served in small rounded buns and a generous dash of tahini sauce is added over beef or garlic sauce (tomeya) is added over the chicken. And while each sauce is more popular to go with each meat variety, there are no rules in switching in accordance to your preference. Besides, the Egyptian way of eating those little fluffy treats is by devouring as many of them as you can.
8. White Cheese with Tomato
The uniqueness of the Egyptian sandwiches lies in their simplicity. Most, if not all, of them, requires no effort, are quite time-saving, use a simple ingredient, yet provide us with amazing results. This time, we are shedding the light on the mouthwatering white cheese with tomato. It is one of the most popular sandwiches among the Egyptians.
The sandwich is made of small white bread, commonly known as Levantine bread, hugging a soft spread of white cheese, either Turkish or feta cheese, mixed well with chopped tomatoes. The tomatoes add an amazing taste to the cheese with some sweet notes that you cannot resist. This mixture receives a gentle splash of olive oil, adding more value and flavour to this little tasty sandwich.
9. Fried Cheese
We are all familiar with grilled cheese, but have you ever heard of fried cheese? We owe it to the Egyptians for their creativity is cooking their food in ways many countries haven’t thought of. Fried cheese happens to be one of the humble Egyptian sandwiches that many people across the country enjoy for breakfast.
It takes a little seasoning to be able to make this tasteful sandwich. Pretty much like how mozzarella sticks are made, except that the used cheese is not mozzarella but rather the Egyptian Roumi cheese. One slice of cheese is drenched in eggs, flour, and breadcrumbs before it is put into the oil and fried to perfection. This meal is quite dense in fat but there is no harm in enjoying it every once in a while.
Egyptian sandwiches take the food scene to a whole new level and offer a fascinating variety that was never observed before. No matter how different your culture deals with food, give these unique sandwiches a try to experience what you have been missing.