Countries with the Most Similar Food to Egypt

Country Food Similarity Index - Map of Countries with Similar Food to Egypt

The Country Food Similarity Index is a statistically-based attempt to quantify how similar the food in one country is relative to another. By comparing the weight of raw food ingredients used in each country, a score is assigned that reflects the degree of similarity between the respective countries. The methodology is exactly the same for each country studied. 

The Most Similar Cuisines to Egyptian Food

Egypt has a rich history and a unique culinary heritage that has influenced and been influenced by neighboring countries over the centuries. Four of the five countries with the most similar food to Egypt are also predominately Muslim countries. They are all located in the Middle East. In addition, the majority of the land in these countries has a desert climate.

  1. Jordan is another Arabic speaking country that was once occupied by Great Britain. Both countries boast a wide array of delicious mezzes, small dishes served as appetizers. Common flavors include tangy lemon, sumac, and fragrant herbs like mint and parsley. Popular dishes like falafel, hummus, tabbouleh, and shawarma can be found in both Jordanian and Egyptian cuisines, reflecting their shared culinary traditions.
  2. Iran and Egypt, despite being geographically distant, exhibit intriguing parallels in their culinary practices. The heavy use of aromatic spices such as cumin, turmeric, and saffron can be found in both cuisines. Rice is common in both countries, prepared in various styles, including the popular Egyptian dish, koshari, and the Iranian delicacy, chelo kebab. Additionally, they both love stews, such as Egyptian molokhia and Iranian ghormeh sabzi.
  3. Oman, like Jordan, is another Arab country on this list. Seafood holds a prominent place in both culinary traditions, with grilled and spiced fish being popular dishes. They use of aromatic spices, such as cardamom, cinnamon, and cloves as well. Furthermore, both countries enjoy a variety of rice-based dishes and traditional bread, which adds another layer of similarity to their food cultures.
  4. Saudi Arabia also has similar food to Egypt. One of the most popular Egyptian dishes is koshari, a dish made with rice, lentils, chickpeas, and pasta. It is similar to Saudi Arabian majboos. Dates are the most commonly eaten fruits in both countries. One difference is that wheat and corn based foods are more popular in Egypt than in Saudi Arabia. They both commonly eat fish, but Egypt tends to eat less chicken.
  5. Israel is the only country that is not predominately Muslim on this list, however their cuisines have a lot of overlap. Both emphasize the use of fresh herbs, spices, and olive oil. Dishes like falafel, hummus, baba ganoush, and shawarma are enjoyed in both nations. In recent years, fusion cuisine blending Egyptian and Israeli flavors has gained popularity, exemplifying the continuous evolution of their culinary relationship.

Related: The 10 Most Similar Countries to Egypt

The Least Similar Cuisines to Egyptian Food

Although Egypt is located in Africa, four of the five countries with the least similar food to Egypt are also located in Africa. All these countries tend to get significantly more rainfall as well. This affects what kinds of crops are can be feasibly grown in these countries. Moreover, these countries are much less wealthy than Egypt and have less developed infrastructure.

  1. South Sudan, despite being extremely close in proximity to Egypt and located on the Nile River, has the least similar food to Egypt. Cassava is the nation’s staple food. Sorghum is a large part of the country’s diet as well. Porridge is one of the most popular dishes in the South Sudan. Relatively little chicken meat is consumed there compared to Egypt.
  2. Central African Republic borders South Sudan. It is a former French colony in the middle of Africa. The majority of the country’s diet is based on cassava and yams. Bananas and plantains are also an extremely common source of food in the country. In addition, beef is the most commonly eaten meat there, in contrast to Egypt.
  3. Burundi is yet another landlocked French-speaking country in the tropical regions of Africa on this list. Its diet is in large part based on cassava, sweet potatoes, plantains, and bananas. Very little rice and wheat is eaten in Burundi as well, compared to Egypt.
  4. Democratic Republic of Congo is another country in the middle of Africa. It borders both Burundi and Central African Republic. Cassava is the dominant staple food in the country, unlike in Egypt, where wheat and corn are more prevalent. However, Freshwater Fish are the most commonly eaten meat in both countries.
  5. Solomon Islands is the only country that is not in Africa on this list. It is a group of Melanesian islands in the Pacific Ocean. In stark contrast to Egypt’s dry arid desert, it is one of the nations with the most rainfall. Sweet potatoes are the most popular starch in the Solomon Islands. The nation also eats coconuts far more often than Egyptians.

Related: The 10 Least Similar Countries to Egypt

Full Food Similarity Ranking of Countries and Territories

Egypt’s Most Common Food Ingredients

Protein: Freshwater Fish, Chicken
Fruit: Date, Orange
Vegetable: Tomato, Onion
Starch: Wheat, Corn

Primarily based on 2020 data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the U.N.

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