If you stay in St. Katherine, your place provides food or cooking facilities, but for the change you might want to try something different. There are a number of places to eat in St. Katherine, ranging from cheap koshari and tamiya places to fairly priced all-you-can-eat buffets.
The camps all provide cooking facilities as well as provide meals. If you want to cook for yourself, there are many small shops in every part of the town selling a range of basic food items. The shops in the center have a better variety of products and more western items. There is a bakery in town opposite the mosque selling the flat Egyptian eish. They usually stop around midday, but sometimes have bread even in the afternoon. There is an irregular supply of white flat bread and soft bread rolls in the shops – once again, the shops in the center are more likely to have bread if the others ran out. There are a number of vegetable shops in most part of the town.
Cheap Egyptian food
Tamiya is Egyptian for falafel and full is mashed beans. There is also fried eggplant (bitingan). They are served either in a sandwich with salad or on a plate with side dishes, including turshi, a kind of pickled vegetables. This is the main fare of most Egyptians and is very cheap – a couple of sandwiches shouldn’t cost more than 2 LE, or a small mixed plate more than 5 LE. There is a small stall just outside of the bank in the center mall which closes around 11 in the morning, and another one in the Shamiya area (close to the hotels) at Adel’s small restaurant, which tends to serve tamiya and full till later. Koshari is another typical Egyptian cheap meal consisting of a mix of rice, pasta and lentils, sprinkled with fried onions and topped with a tomato based sauce. There are also optional chilli sauce and vinegar provided. The koshari place is next to the post office.
Restaurants and Hotel Buffets
There are a number of local cheap restaurants, ptoviding the regular Egyptian restaurant food; cheese, eggs, salad etc. in the morning, soup, chicken with rice and vegetables and salad the rest of the day. Mohamed Salem’s cafeteria is popular with locals and visitors. The new Cleopatra Restaurant in the Shamiya area has a set menu in English, and has a wider choice at reasonable prices. All four major hotels have all-you-can-eat buffets at very reasonable prices, serving many different food you can choose from. Breakfast typically consits of bread and butter, jams, honey, different cheeses, salad, cold meat, olives, eggs and hot drinks. Lunch and dinner consist of rice, pasta, potato, beef, chicken, fish, different salads, bread, sweets and fruits. The meals they offer might differ slightly but they are all good food and good value.
There is only one sweet shop in town, hidden behind the bank in the center and run by a friendly family, selling typical Egyptian cakes, sweets and bonbons. The set hotel buffe meals also include Egyptian sweets.
St. Katherine is a conservative town and even though there are some Egyptians and Bedouins who do drink alcohol, it is a descrete matter and drinking in public or to be visible drunk is not appreciated. You can get alcohol but it is relatively expensive, even compared to other parts of Egypt. A half liter can or bottle of beer costs 19-20 LE, a small can of beer is 15-18 LE. A bottle of wine is around 65 LE. The places that sell alcohol are the Daniell Village, Catherine Plaza Hotel, St. Katherine Tourist Village and the two cafeterias at the Monastery.