1. Over-praise an Egyptian’s belongings.
“Oh, you have a wonderful house,” “Wow, that’s a very nice car”.
No, no, no, please don’t do that. EVER. Egyptians are obsessed with “the evil eye curse” due to traditional and religious beliefs. For example, if you praise a car and it’s scratched the next day, we would claim it was because of you. Seriously.
2. Say you don’t like molokhia.
Molokhia (a viscous green soup traditionally made with leaves from the Jute plant) is the favorite dish of most Egyptians; it is one of the great symbols of the Egyptian culture and a source of our pride. Say you don’t like molokhia and we will be very hurt.
3. Offer to pay the bill if you’re a woman.
This is the quickest and easiest way to offend an Egyptian’s manhood. So, women, just let him pay the bill. Every time.
4. Don’t laugh at our jokes.
Egyptians believe we are the funniest people on Earth. Because we are. We put much effort in trying to make people think we are funny, so please don’t let us down. Just do us a favor and laugh.
5. Criticize Egyptian people.
We’ll take care of that ourselves, thank you very much. Egyptians are self-critical; we really are aware of our defects and flaws (honestly, too numerous to count here). However, in no way do we like to be criticized by foreigners.
6. Disrespect mothers or women in general.
Uh ohhhhhhhhh! Don’t. Just don’t.
7. Don’t eat food an Egyptian is serving you.
Egyptians are known for their generosity and their hospitality. When we serve you traditional food like kushari and fatta, we not only expect that you eat it, but expect that you’ll say: “Oh, wow, this Egyptian food is so amazing!”
8. Make culturally ignorant comments such as:
“I thought Egyptians were all black”. We don’t have anything against black people — just against ignorance. (But Egyptians in the south are black, by the way).
Don’t be intimidated. Egyptians are really warm and simple people who love foreigners, especially those who learn to say some Egyptian words like “eshta” (cool) or “enta zay el assal” (you are so sweet). Say these, and you’re off the hook.