Wednesday, June 9, 2021

The Great Markets - Khan -El -Khalili bazaar, Cairo

Khan -El Khalili Market

With the passage of time, the pandemic situation is beginning to improve worldwide and travel restrictions are being gradually eased. In many countries, the travel curbs have been eased and the possibility of travel whether local or global does not appear to be a distant reality. While the actual travel may be still some time away, I reminiscence some lovely markets I saw during my travels which I plan to share in upcoming posts.

The Spice Market

The smell of fresh-baked khubz ( local bread)  was so overpowering that it was impossible not to look around! Lo and behold, a man carrying a huge tray packed with khubz passed by making way through the crowded street.  There were shops laden with copper, silver and brassware. Colourful 'Sheesha' water pipes. handicrafts,scarabs, clothes were thronging the shops. The din of merchants and amid 'azan' from a nearby mosque made it almost impossible to hear any conversation. Among other things on sale were colourful lanterns, leather bags and trinkets. Every now and then some labourer carrying a heavy load of goods crossed the street. The narrow brick laned street had the vendor stalls on either side of the road. The tourists and the locals thronged the streets. The youngsters wore the faded jeans and the girls wore tops but had their heads covered with scarves. The Old Street in the market is not to be missed and all hues of colour festoon the shops in this market. Most of the local men and women adorned traditional robes and headgear. The Spice Market is perhaps one of the biggest in the world and the aroma of herbs and spices is overpowering. The oldest market is steeped in history, tradition, culture and of course food. Some of the best things to buy as souvenirs are scaled models of the pyramids, the sphinx, papyrus rolls or paintings on papyrus paper, and much more. There is no better place than the Khan  El Khalili market for making purchases,. Haggling is quite a norm.

Egyptian Breakfast

Among the best foods that are not to be missed are the Fava bean dip( Foul)  with tons of different dips, falafel, olive oil spread, tahini, baba ganoush( cooked eggplant), pickled eggplant, and potato patties. All these go very well with Baladi bread. Egyptian Shwarma with special buns oozing with fat and the mango shake is very popular. Egyptian pies are cheesy and gooey. 


Koshary is another traditional dish that will leave its tingling flavour for all time to come. It is a kind of pasta, rice with chickpeas, lentils, tomato sauce,. The sauces comprising of vinegar, cumin, chilli oil make it an explosion of flavours. Molokhia is another heavenly local dish that goes well with steamed rice.

Memories of Giza

The market is more than 600 years old and has retained its charm. It was originally the burial site of Fatimid Caliphs and part of the Great Eastern Palace. It is an important cultural and economic hub of Cairo today. No visit to Cairo is complete without a visit to this market and should always be on the itinerary when planning a visit to see the Pyramids

PS- Images kind courtesy Google and mine


  1. The first pic here I have seen in a Hidden Things game app on my mobile ...had no idea it was a real marketplace

    1. Wow ! what a coincidence! The real place is wonderful