Egypt 's cuisine mirrors that of its neighbours, hence changing with geography. In the North they take their lead from the Middle East, with a little Mediterranean flavour thrown in, the fertility of the Nile delta also makes for the country's widest selection of fruit and vegetables.
Travelling up the Nile, the kitchen becomes more piquant, resembling traditional North-African cuisine, while menus on the Red Sea resorts are naturally heavy on seafood. A number of dishes do crop up the length of the country: Ful is a national institution, made from boiled then pureed fava beans and eaten with the Egyptians other dietary mainstay aysh - bread( aysh is a so the Arabic word for 'life'). The Egyptian's take on the Moroccan tagin is a torly - a deep clay pot into which any combination of meats and vegetables can be thrown. One bird that often ends up in the pot is the pigeon( hamaam), a national delicacy, and a tempting alternative once you've seen the state of their chickens.
The Egyptians haven' really got to grips with the concept of vegetarianism, and a vegetarian dish often involves one of the kitchen staff picking the meat out of the Torly. A venerable exception is musaga, a baked aubergine and tomato stew. Although Egypt is a predominantly Muslim country it isn't a dry one. Egypt produces spirits and wine of dubious quality, their beer however, Stella, slips down well after a dusty day's sightseeing.
A favourite Egyptian pastime is whiling away the hours in a coffee-house( ahwa) over a game of backgammon and a sheesha - waterpipe. The Egyptian sheesha is particularly aromatic as before lighting the tobacco is soaked in apple juice or molasses. Tea is served in glasses and comes dark and impossibly sweet, the same is true with coffee, which they take in the Turkish style.