Food & Cuisine in Luxor - Aswan
Luxor and Aswan are two of the most visited cities in Egypt, and as a result you'll find numerous places to dine in. Food served in the restaurants is made from fresh ingredients and vegetables grown on the banks of the Nile, and you'll find everything from snacks to full course meals which suit every pocket.
Take a seat in a rooftop restaurant or a boat out to one of the floating flatboat restaurants in the middle of the Nile to enjoy a sampling of some traditional Egyptian cuisine accompanied by views of the sparkling Nile waters, a perfect crimson sunset, local music and the sweet smell of shisha lingering in the air.
Our Luxor and Aswan Restaurant Guide below tells you all about the local food and cuisine, as well as some recommended places to rest your weary feet and find a tasty meal after a long day of touring or shopping in Luxor or Aswan. Also take a look at our Egypt Restaurant Guide for more information on the local food and cuisine.
Food & Cuisine in Luxor & Aswan
Visitors to Luxor and Aswan can, eat, drink or smoke a shisha pipe and relax while watching the pace of life on the Nile. At the Luxor and Aswan cafes and restaurants visitors can sample local deliciacies which come in a bewildering array of varieties.
Egyptians grow plenty of vegetables - tomatoes and cucumber are very popular. Vegetarians can have their pick of fresh seasonal produce. No meal is without starters like pita-bread and mezzes include tabouleh and baba ganoush.
The food in Luxor and Aswan reflects strong Egyptian influences combined with international influences brought in by tourists. A typical breakfast here would be a healthy and wholesome spread of home baked fresh bread, beans, eggs, dates, prunes, raisins, apricots, pickles, cheeses, fruits or fruit preserves like jams and marmalades.
A main course will consist of poultry or meat. Meals are often accompanied by cheese or yoghurt, and potatoes and rice accompaniments are used across meals in a variety of ways. Gibna bayda, an extra creamy feta-like cheese is very popular. Sweets are an indispensable part of an Egyptian meal. They may be sweet pastries or little cakes trailing syrup.
Egypt's beloved drink is Kalkadi, a concoction made of hibiscus. After some serious bargaining with the vendors hawking souvenirs, visitors can head for the cafes that dot the Old Bazar area to quench their thirst. A glass of Kalkadi and a smoke at the shisha pipe can be very refreshing.
Most Luxor and Aswan restaurants automatically include a 12% service charge to their bills. However, tipping is common in Egypt, so it's always a good idea to leave a few Egyptian pounds in the change tray. Credit cards are generally accepted only in hotels. Visitors are recommended to eat several small meals and drink plenty of water throughout the day.
Egypt's eateries are open from around ten in the morning until late at night. Lunch is usually had between 2 pm and 6 pm. Lunches are usually elaborate and are followed by a siesta, due to the hot weather. Egyptians also like an English tea between 5 pm and 6 pm and this means that supper is usually quite late and light. Dinner would typically consist of leftovers from lunch. If visitors are invited by an Egyptian host to dinner, they should expect guests to start trickling in by 9 pm and food to be served a couple of hours later.
A number of restaurants in Luxor line the banks of the Nile. Dining at one of these Luxor restaurants can be an unforgettable experience. Most of the eateries are equal in standard, so all of them will provide the visitor with an authentic Egyptian dining experience. Luxor's fine dining experience centres around the East Bank, but the West Bank is not without eateries of its own. While in Luxor, visitors should try out the local delicacy of pigeon and spicy lentil soup. Kebabs, tagens and rice dishes are also a good option.
There are a variety of restaurants in Aswan ranging from inexpensive cafes to fine dining restaurants in high end hotels. Food-wise, visitors will find plenty of options to choose from - from typical Egyptian cuisine to international options. Egyptian food combines exotic flavours because of liberal use of herbs and seasonings. Fresh seafood is also very popular here.
Street food is extremely popular in Aswan with fuul and liver sandwiches being sold near the station and fruits and nuts sold at every bazaar. Cafes serve simple fare like chicken and fish or kushari. Several juice bars and coffee shops also are found here. Shops at the Corniche are open till midnight and even later. Cafes in the bazaar usually shut by 10 pm or 11 pm.