Egypt Cuisine Delights: Falafel hailed as a must-have meal for all touring Egypt
Egyptians take their falafel seriously. Perhaps it's because their version is unlike any other. Made with chickpeas and known in some countries as green burgers, this food item is being hailed by luminaries, such as Egyptian-born culinary anthropologist Claudia Roden, as the best in the world. Yasser Hakim looks at why it's important for Egyptians and how it's cooked.
It's a common scene every morning. Falafel in sandwiches or in plates with beans, form the main meal to start the day. And It's called Ta'meya in Egypt.
"I eat it every day, every day. I come here for years for the dish of Falafel with beans."
SAYED "It's my first choice. I don't think twice about what to have for breakfast every day. You eat the Falafel with beans. It's delicious and affordable."
Falafel originated in Egypt over two hundred years ago. It then spread to Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, each adding their own distinct flavours to the mix.
MOHAMED MOHYE RESTAURANT MANAGER "It's heavy with protein so it keeps you full and energetic all day. Falafel is also the cheapest food item, therefore it's the main dish for most Egyptians every day."
Falafel is not so hard to cook. It consists of beans and a vegetable mix.
MOHAMED HAFEZ FALAFEL CHEF "You put onion, garlic, parsley, coriander with green vegetables then you add squashed beans. You can then form the resulting paste in any shape you want and then fry it in oil. You can add hot sauce if you want it spicy. Some people buy the paste and fry the Falafel at home."
Those protein rings have become popular internationally, and they're cooked in different ways
MOHAMED MOHYE RESTAURANT MANAGER "There is the long Falafel, looking like kebab, there's the rounded donut ones which are the most popular and you can have spicy and stuffed Falafel too. Other countries add hommus OR eggs to the mix instead of squashed beans."
YASSER HAKIM CAIRO, EGYPT "Whenever you're in Egypt, Falafel should be the number one item on your bucket list. And for a true Egyptian experience and flavour, you have to eat it at one of those small places in the streets, not a fancy restaurant. Yasser Hakim, CGTN, Cairo."