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I have divided restaurants throughout the book into four categories. Very Expensive meals are LE150 ($27/£14) or more, Expensive meals are LE100 ($18/£9.25) or more, Moderate meals are between LE50 to LE80 ($9.10-$15/£4.65-£7.40), and Inexpensive meals range from LE25 to LE50 ($4.55-$9.10/£2.30-£4.65).

Meal Times

Egyptians are enthusiastic about their meals and are ready to tuck into food at almost anytime of the day. Formal meal times, however, tend to be later than we are used to in the West, with the main meal of the day happening in the middle of the afternoon or sometimes being put off until after work (around 3 or 4pm), and dinner times as late as 9 or 10pm.

During the month of Ramadan, of course, this changes entirely, with a light sohour meal eaten just before sunrise (which makes it either a late dinner or an early breakfast) and the enormous iftar (literally "breakfast") happening just after sundown.

Tipping

Most restaurants will automatically add a 12% service charge to the bill, but most people will leave another 5% to 8% in cash on the understanding that the staff probably never sees the service charge.

Local Dishes

Breakfast is usually a selection of flatbread and eggs, often with a side dish of fuul (simmered fava beans).

Lunch is usually the main meal of the day, in which meat is served. Families often sit down together immediately after work (which ends a lot earlier in the day than in the West but may be supplemented by a return to the office or shop in the evening) around 3 or 4pm for plates of kosherie (a mix of macaroni, lentils, rice, fried onions, chickpeas, and spicy tomato sauce), molakheya (sauce of Jew's mallow) and chicken or rabbit, and fateer (a flat pastry that can be served either savory or sweet).

Local Beer & Wine

Just a few years ago, Egypt produced a single brand of beer, which, though inconsistent in taste and alcohol content, was drinkable. The wine was unpalatable, and the hard liquor was downright dangerous. These days, thanks to the privatization of the state alcohol monopoly and the purchase of the country's largest single producer by Dutch beer producer Heineken, there are several drinkable beers and a choice of presentable locally made wines. The most popular of these include Stella; Saqqara, a light lager, indistinguishable from Stella by most drinkers; and Meister and Meister Max, an attempt to make a darker beer (Meister Max sacrifices taste for alcohol content).

Beers cost from LE6 ($1.09/55p) at a store up to LE30 ($5.45/£2.80) in a five-star hotel.

Grand Marquis, Cape Bay, and Sheherezad are the best of the local wines and cost about LE65 to LE80 ($12-$15/£6-£7.40) retail and LE100 to LE200 ($18-$36/£9.25-£19) in a restaurant or hotel.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.