Trying out local food when travelling abroad is a highlight in any trip. The unusual “never tried before” flavors and food variations are entertaining and surprising. But equally surprising is when you find a famous local dish that is very similar to a dish back in your country, by which it becomes more of a nostalgic surprise. With Egyptian food, similarities with worldwide cuisines cannot go unnoticed. So the next time you are travelling and getting nostalgic, here are seven dishes and delicacies with a striking resemblance to some Egyptian cuisine favourites you may want to try out:
#1 Greek Gemista: a traditional colourful dish, “Gemista” in Greece is what is known as “Mahshi” in Egypt. Vegetables namely green bell peppers and tomatoes are stuffed with a mixture of rice, onions and fresh herbs. Yum!
#2 Swedish Surstromming: fish herring that is slowly fermented in salt-water over months until it gets an odour that is not for the faint hearted. You guessed it, “Feseekh”. Surstromming is a fish delicacy that is celebrated in many parts of Sweden and is usually eaten with a thin type of bread and potatoes.
#3 British Rice Pudding: or “Roz Belaban” as it is called in Egypt. The sweet rice and milk mixture is a traditional favourite dessert in both countries. In Britain though they have more than one version, including a baked warm one.
#4 Japanese Kyuri Zuke: Pickles form an important part of both Japanese and Egyptian cuisine and with that both countries have been creatively producing many variations of pickled vegetables (and some fruits). A common one is pickled cucumbers, “Kyuri Zuke” in Japan and “Kheyar Mekhalil” in Egypt (but with slightly different marinating methods from each country).
#5 Turkish Moussaka: Yes heavenly “Mousa’a” (in Egypt the k is dropped) does exist beyond Egyptian frontiers. This oven baked dish that mainly combines eggplants, tomatoes and minced beef is a distinguished main dish in both countries.
#6 South African Koeksister: Deep fried braided dumplings that are then dipped in sweet syrup, Koeksister from South Africa closely resembles the taste and texture of ” Balah el Sham” in Egypt, both enjoyed with a nice cup of tea or coffee.
#7 Mexican Charro Beans: In Mexico and craving a plate of “Foul Medames” ? Then it’s probably your lucky day as you can try the local close equivalent called Charro beans. Beans (called Pinto) are boiled in water until tender and then cooked with a mixture of tomatoes, onions, herbs and bacon (a Mexican addition).
It’s a small world after all isn’t it?