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Fesikh: a fish dish in Egypt, tasty but with caution.

In this blog we have talked about many typical dishes of Egyptian cuisine, such as shurbat, kanafeh or fatteh, among many other examples. But we had not yet talked about any fish dishes in Egypt, because the truth is that they are a minority in its gastronomy. But there is something, and of great interest, so we dedicate these lines to fesikh, which is perhaps the most unique specialty in this regard. Here we explain it and, as we will see, we recommend that you eat it with caution and in reliable restaurants.

How fesikh is prepared and served

Fesikh, which can also be found written as fesij or feesekh, is a highly prized fish dish in Egypt, especially in the coastal areas, both in the Mediterranean and in the Red Sea. The main ingredient of this dish is usually mullet, also known as capitón, striped mullet or black mullet in Spain and Latin American countries. The mullet is a fish that is widely distributed throughout the seas and oceans of the world and of very varied characteristics, and therefore is present in both coasts, so different from each other.

In fact, what makes fesikh really unique is not the fish itself (in fact, this same preparation can be done with other fish, such as herring or sardines), but rather the fish itself. its preparation: it is left to dry in the sun and then cured with salt for fermentation This way, which gives it a special stench, close to rottenness. This fermentation process lasts several days, up to 10 days.

Once the fermentation process is finished, it is pickled and to be served, it has to be cleaned well inside, the head and bones removed and marinated in oil, lemon and tahini. This will not only give it a more pleasant flavor, but will also help to remove the excess salt used for fermentation.

When to eat fesikh

In fact, fesikh is a very popular dish since the time of the pharaohs. And if it has remained that way since then, it is because its consumption is deeply rooted among the population, especially during the celebration of Sham El-Nassim, in early spring.

Although this festival is associated with the Coptic Christians Easter is actually a date marked on the calendar since Ancient Egypt and celebrates the soil fertilityso that it is nationwide holidayincluding both Muslims and Christians. Therefore, it is tradition to eat fesikh as thanks for it, but also two other foods associated with the holiday: painted eggs and vegetables that, likewise, are associated with the fertility that is celebrated on this day of the year.

Why it should be eaten with caution

The fesikh is a dish with an aroma and flavor that makes an impact due to the aforementioned fermentation process and is mixed with the marinade prepared for preservation and tasting. However, the health authorities are not alerting the population because of this taste, but for another reason: if the fish has not been fermented correctly, bacteria can develop in it which, once ingested, can cause food poisoning.

Therefore, if you want to eat fesikh in Egypt, whether during Sham El-Nassim or at any other time of the year, you should make sure to eat it in a reputable restaurant where the fermentation has been done correctly. If you have any doubts in this regard, you can consult our staff during your trip: we will provide you with advice based on our experience.

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