There is no stronger love than an Egyptian’s love for snacks – between marathon TV-watching, aimless long drives, or a day at the beach – Termes (Lupini Beans) and Leb (edible seeds) sit in large bulks as the dearest of friends.
When Egyptian Streets asked its audience what their favorite snacks were, most of them responded with Termes and Leb as their go-tos – they explained that these two are especially associated with happy and family memories.
Termes are the yellow legume seeds of the genus Lupinus, believed to have dated back to ancient Egypt, particularly in the 22nd century BCE. Wrapped in paper cones or served on small plates, Egyptian streets are flooded with termes vendors, most commonly found near the Nile corniche.
Alongside their delicious flavor, these beans are especially recognized by scientists and dieticians for their major health benefits. They are rich in protein, high in fiber, and aid in the prevention of diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. There are two types of lupini beans, high in alkaloids beans, which are bitter, and low in alkaloids beans, which are sweeter in taste.
It’s a snack staple, an activity enjoyed by all members of Egyptian families. A walk by the Nile always calls for a salty serving of termes, and a night is deemed enchanted.
Leb, dubbed the ‘king’ of snacks, is a staple summer snack for Egyptians. Leb is not just a mere snack for Egyptians, it is a favorite pastime, a hobby passed down from generation to generation. For Egyptians, watching important football matches, movies, and shows is always accompanied by pouches of leb.
There are different kinds of Leb, such as asmar (brown pulp seeds), soury (sunflower seeds), and abyad (pumpkin seeds). El Leb El-Soury (Syrian leb) is one of the most popular ones in Egypt for its distinctive taste and affordability, priced between 40 to 50 EGP (2 to 3 USD).
Egyptian star Lebleba even sang a song dedicated to the dear Egyptian snack, El ‘Az’aza’ (Snacking) came out in 1984, showing just how much Egyptians love it.
Honorary Snack Mention: Grilled Corn on the Cob
Nothing smells like summer in Egypt more than grilled corn on the cob – a potent aroma that evokes nostalgic childhood memories. Street vendors line the boardwalks with their raw corn that is directly roasted over open flames, with no fancy equipment required, the beauty of grilled corn lies in its simplicity.
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