NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – You have the chance to adventure through Egyptian culture at St. Mary & St. Moses Coptic Orthodox Church this weekend.
The 11th annual Egyptian Festival continues through Sunday, offering visitors the opportunity to tour the beautiful church, try on some Egyptian garb for photos, swing through the gift shops, enjoy family activities, and more.
One of the biggest draws, of course, is the Egyptian food.
“I’m a little biased. I always say it’s the best food of any cultural festival in Buffalo,” said church representative Thomas Gadelrab. “But you have to judge that for yourself,”
So, we asked Gadelrab for his recommendations for the top 4 savory dishes you have to try at the Egyptian Festival. Here are his choices:
The chicken is grilled up on site with a special blend of spices, packing a lot of flavor into every bite.
It’s a favorite for festival goers of all ages.
“You’re biting in, it’s extremely juicy, extremely flavorful,” Gadelrab said. “Not something you’d find at another festival.”
Number two on Gadelrab’s must-try list is the Egyptian version of ground beef, known as Kofta.
Gadelrab says it offers a different flavor than many people are used to, thanks to the spices and cooking method.
“You look at it, think it’s a hamburger, you bite in and get a different flavor profile,” he said.
This one is a great meatless option (and reporter Katie Alexander’s personal favorite)
To sound like a real Egyptian when you’re asking for it, drop the ‘k’. Egyptians pronounce it “MOOSE-uh-AH”
“Mousa’a is actually an Egyptian word for an eggplant dish. What that is is eggplant and jalapeno, so it does pack a little bit of spice, and that is baked and then topped with a tomato sauce,” Gadelrab explained.
“One of my favorite dishes, to be honest,” he added.
You may have had falafel before, but probably not like this.
The Egyptian version has a unique texture and taste, and it’s a great option for vegetarians and meat-eaters alike.
“Falafel are the best from Egypt because we actually make it with fava beans, not chick peas,” Gadelrab said. “So you’ll get a little bit of texture and taste that you’re not used to, but again, better in our opinion than chick peas.”
Of course, once you finish trying Gadelrab’s Top 4 list for yourself, you’ll want to make a little more room. The desserts are all homemade, and all are delicious.
“You can’t come to the Egyptian Festival and not have the desserts!” Gadelrab advised.
The Egyptian Festival is being held August 23-25 at St. Mary & St. Moses Coptic Orthodox Church, 350 Wheatfield Street, North Tonawanda.
It is open Saturday from 11 a.m. until 9 p.m. and Sunday from noon until 8 p.m. Admission is free.