King Tut would be saddened to learn that Egyptian food is a rarity here in deliciously diverse Greater Toronto Area.

Still, the pharaoh could get a few key dishes from his homeland and visit a couple of grocery stores if he wanted to do the cooking.

Lotus Catering & Fine Food in Scarborough serves proper Egyptian falafels (made from split fava beans and herbs) and the famed rice and lentil dish, koshari.

You’ll have to drive to Hamilton for Dalina’s Foole Mudames (mashed fava beans) or to Waterloo for Almadina Egyptian Cuisine’s extensive menu.

“We have so many Egyptian dishes, it is endless,” says Almadina’s owner Hend Lawendy. “I think there are fast food stores, but there is not enough authentic Egyptian cuisine in all of Ontario.”

About 5,000 of Ontario’s 20,000 Egyptians live in the GTA, with concentrations in Mississauga and Scarborough. An Egyptian grocery store, Botros Convenience, is in Mississauga.

Many Egyptian Canadians are excited to hear that King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs will run Nov. 24 to April 18 at the Art Gallery of Ontario. The last Tut exhibit here was in 1979.

Mohamed Elhalwagy, president of the Nile Association of Ontario, says it’s tough for Egyptian restaurateurs to compete with similar Middle Eastern cuisines such as Lebanese, Palestinian and Jordanian.

Elhalwagy is a big fan of Lotus Catering: “Although the store is very small, just a few tables and catering based, it is the best taste of Egyptian food.”

Art Gallery of Ontario executive chef Anne Yarymowich knows what she would feed King Tut if he were alive and visiting Toronto.

“I was talking to the curator (David Silverman) and he said someone has researched the funeral menu for Tut. I would find out what that was and that’s what I would serve him – his last supper.”

Alas, it’s not to be.

Instead, Yarymowich will offer Egyptian-inspired menu options at the Frank Gehry-designed restaurant Frank, at group cocktail receptions and lunch buffets.

She’s giving starring roles to medjool dates, figs, pomegranates, pomegranate molasses, oranges and lamb on all the menus.

“More than serving traditional dishes, or being true to ancient Egyptian cuisine or even modern Egyptian cuisine, it’s about evoking the flavours of that part of the world,” explains Yarymowich. “(King Tut) being royalty and whatnot, abundance and an exotic feel will be part of the experience.”

King Tut: The Golden King and the Great Pharaohs runs until April 18, so there’s lots of room for creative dabbling. Yarymowich will change the prix fixe menu at Frank daily (lunch is $36, dinner $56), remaining mindful of the restaurant’ s focus on local, seasonal and organic fare.

Yummy mummy
The AGO’s café, Espresso Bar, will also play with Egyptian imagery with gingerbread camel and mummy cookies, and pyramid-shaped pastries, truffles and muffins.