As we drove past the piles of rubbish on the way to lunch our guide warned us about eating Egyptian food – putting the disclaimer that anywhere he took us was quite safe to eat everything but we should avoid lettuce until we had acclimatised to the food. He told us that if we did have a problem there would be no need to suffer as he had medication that would block us up, unblock us and stop us throwing up.
The difference between the outside and the inside of the place we ate the first day was a stunning contrast. Here we had an Egyptian smorgasbord. I ate everything, as did most other people. It reminded me of a Mediterranean diet with lots of tomato, egg plant and olives. There were all kinds of meat and falafel. The kebabs were done on a barbecue. Although it was quite edible it was nothing out of the ordinary.
We were up early for the trip to Alexandria. The hotel had decided to open the restaurant early instead of giving us a box of pre packed goodies. I prefered the look of the fairy floss crossing the bridge across the Nile in the early morning mist to anything the hotel was offering for breakfast.
We got down early only to find the hotel had forgotten to tell the kitchen we were coming to breakfast early.`
Eventually the food came out only to find that there was nothing there I fancied.
We ate at Swiss Restaurants, Italian and many that didn’t have a set nationality. None were Egyptian but all had an Egyptian flare and most gave a choice of beef or chicken. None were worth writing home about but they were all okay.
Breakfast at the Cecil Hotel in Alexandria gave us the best breakfast. The strawberry juice was delicious and everything top notch with a feel for a colonial era past.
The honey was served in a way I’d not encountered anywhere else in my life – dripping directly from the honeycomb into a bowl at the base. If I could have had every breakfast during our trip here I would have been in heaven
Once we boarded the boat we had every meal in the ship’s dining room. It was always a smorgasbord and always had a dish of each type of meat, a carvery, vegetables a salad bar and a bread table with a variety of different breads. Potato was the only item that you could say was superb – the rest mediocre at best. The deserts were strange to say the least. Everything we recognised but none with the taste of consistency of the item we had thought it to be. After a couple of days there was a sameness to the meals and although they were more than edible we found we were decreasing our portion size. Until the Egypt night came along.
We all filled our plates to the brim with food that we don’t normally eat.
We did experience a high tea at the hotel, The Old Cataract Hotel, where Agatha Christie wrote Death on the Nile. It was superb and if it wasn’t for manners preventing me I would have eaten a stand by myself.
The hotels dining room was in stark contrast to
two local kitchens we were priviledged to see in a Nubian Village.
In summary I would suggest that you don’t travel to Egypt for the food. Although we didn’t eat at street vendors and only restaurants recommended to us, having seen the hanging meat without refrigeration I would not have been tempted. The food we did have was extremely edible and plenty of it however there was little variety in the dishes. Let’s face it though – Egypt is not about the food but rather the antiquities that were jaw dropping in their magnificence.