Student life isn’t exactly famous for the good food. Three years at uni was enough to teach me that! But alhamdulillah, Egypt has an amazing array of takeaways, restaurants and very generous people who invite you over to eat at their place! The following is just some of the many dishes I’ve had the pleasure of eating since being here:
My first meal in Egypt in my hotel room, having arrived at 4am Arrival at Cairo Airport and I unable to get to my room till 6pm that evening. Didnt eat anything till 8pm that night. I walked to a local shop and ordered 3 types Fateerah – one was cheese and mushroom, the other minced meat and the third basboosah with casting sugar. Syrian fateerahs are usually very small so three would actually be quite a small meal. When I ordered these, that is what I was expecting. This meal ended up lasting 3 days!
(The Halal Craze: Burgers and chips!)
A few days in, I found myself doing what nearly every Muslim Tourist does when they go to an Islamic country – trying out every fast food joint in sight! Here we have my local Hardees after one of my classes, a ‘Super Burger with chips’
(Local Fast Food: Kushari)
Then comes the local fast food. You can eat a weeks worth of these for the same price as the burger in the picture above! Basic make up is pasta, lentils, chickpeas, herbs and some other stuff with some ‘salsa/tomato sauce’ on the side. Being an arab country, my assumption was their spicy would be a mere mild in comparison to my now adapted Pako-indi-bangla-Syrian tastebuds… but they weren’t! On the bright side, I discovered I was immune to local water! Alhamdulillah!
(Ta’miah – aka Falaafel)
Then comes the second and even cheaper fast food – falafel. Two sandwiches cost me £2.5EGP (around 25p) and that was on the expensive end! Basically its just crushed chickpeas fried and served in some bread and some salad. This one had egg in too which was nice! Oh, and they always insist on you taking pickles!
(Al-Baik Chicken and Chips Joint – City Stars)
Dedicated to my good friend Sheikh Hasan Mahfooz for introducing me to this – supposedly the best fried chicken joint in the world! However, I didn’t eat from here. I wanted to wait till I Insha’allah go to Saudi and eat the authentic stuff there!
The following dishes were all thanks to the amazing Egyptian and Syrian people who have made me feel so welcome out here in Egypt! Nearly every week I have an invite over to my second family over here who insist that I am like a son to them! Each dish is something you can only find in an egyptian home and auntie makes a conscious effort to offer something new each time.
Please pray for them for all that they have done!
A warning in advanced – some of these dishes are pretty ‘exotic’!
(Rice Rapped in Cabbage served with mutton and vegetables)
(Grilled Fish served with King Prawns, squid and rice)
(Trafalgar Square’s solution: Stuffed pigeon with rice and saffron, served with a customary soup with pasta)
(Meat Feast: A wonderful buffet after a gathering with Habib Omar, compose of every type of meat with some rice, pasta and bread)
(Syrian Dish: Saj’aat – stuffed intestine with rice served with bread and chips.)
I must admit, I couldnt stomach this one!
DRINK, SNACKS AND CAKE!
(Birthday Cake: A selection of two cakes from my local bakery bought for me on my Birthday!)
(Drink: Sahlab – a thick yeasty sort of drink I think and Sweet, fried Doughballs alongside it which I can’t remember the name of!)
(Studying Snack: ripe pomegranate to munch on whilst studying!)
When I bought these from the man outside, we was shouting “3 for £10” – I thought it was thee pomegranates – turns out it was 3 kilos!
(Halal Jelly Sweets!)
And finally, its the halal craze again! My sweet tooth just couldnt resist this time – I pretty much cleared the market shelf!
The End Result – A happy student!