Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Pharaoh's Revenge in Egypt (Myth or Not?)

You either clicked on this because you thought it was an interesting title about a Pharaoh plotting his revenge, or related the title to Montezuma's Revenge (ie getting bad stomach pains / diarrhea after eating something).

Well, I named this blog entry, Pharaoh's Revenge because of the latter comment. Many people have heard Egyptian Food is not good and can really do a number on your digestive system - but as Wilson and I have found - it isn't as bad as we heard or were told. : D Wilson and I have braved the Khan El Kahlili foods, some street vendor food, "local" restaurants and other foods that were offered to us - and so far so good (knocking on wood)! So, either Wilson and I have iron stomachs or the food here is really not that bad.

So far, here are a few things we've eaten (in order of appearance ... ha ha; RED says don't go, GREEN says go, BLACK means it was ok).

Kepta Sandwich (Khan el Kahlili) - Aka Liver Sandwich (cow). Sounds interesting, right? Would you try this? I'm Chinese, so I've had liver many times before so it was worth a shot. The liver was dipped into a flour-like dough and then deep fried in a wok of hot oil. After a few flips, the liver was ready to be eaten. The liver was weighed and then placed inside a pita-like bread. They provided some cucumber and tomato salad on the side and topped it off with a yogurt-like light brown sauce. We were ready to eat! It had a nice crunch to it and was de-lish-ous! A definite must try! Price: 2.5 Egyptian pounds, equivalent to approximately $ 0.50.

Beans Over Pasta (Khan el Kahlili; Koshary Pasta) - I have yet to figure out the name - Fuul Pasta? As you can see, its a simple dish. We saw many of the locals eating it, so it must be good. The dish is a mixture of macroni and spaghetti pasta covered with a light tomato and bean sauce. My initial bite and reaction to it was - its bland! But, I soon discovered that it was supposed to be eaten with some lime juice (which i found on the counter). After I added it, it was much much better. Not bad for a quick meal on the go. Price: 2.5 Egyptian pounds, equivalent to approximately $ 0.50.

Schwarma Sandwich (Giza, near Pyramids, Felfela Take-Away) - Lamb sandwich. Sandwich included lamb and a light brown yogurt-like sauce wrapped in a thin pita bread. You can order medium / large. Medium 7 egyptian pounds, Large 12 egyptian pounds. Bread was great,

Mixed Sandwich (Downtown, Felfela Sandwich Shop, 15 Sharia Hoda Shaaraw) -- It was a mix of everything. Falfafel, refried beans, lettuce, tomato, and french fries. Ahhh, just thinking about it is making me crave it. The refried beans mixed with the falfafel was an absolute hit! Crunch and mush doesn't sound appetizing, but wow, its great. It sort of reminds me of the days when I used to eat Taco Bell Mexican Pizza - the crunch and the mush combined together to make a delectable flavor. : D This lovely sandwich was enough to fill me up and it cost - you won't believe it - 2 Egyptian pounds (less than US $ 0.50).

"Chips" aka French Fries (Downtown, Felfela Sandwich Shop, 15 Sharia Hoda Shaaraw) -- Wilson loves fries and couldn't resist. Forgot how much this cost, but it was nice and crunchy. But you have to love the server behind the counter!

Oriental Rice with Meat Sauce (Downtown, Egyptian Museum Cafe) -- It was oily, but it was rice, says Wilson. Price: 40 egyptian pounds, approximately $ 8.00. Definitely overpriced, but we're eating at the museum.

Chicken Schwarma with Fries (Downtown, Egyptian Museum Cafe) -- Eh, it was ok. Sandwich had cut up pieces of chicken with some bell peppers. Flavor was medi-ocre, but I didn't expect much from this cafe since it was at a tourist location. Price: 35 Egyptian pounds (approximately $ 7.00)

Mixed Grilled Meats (Emara Hati El Gish, 32 Sharia Falaki or 32 Falakay) - Includes Persion Kostalita (lamb chop - wow so good), sausage with rice (loved the tomato infused rice), grape leaves with rice (tomato infused rice, but grape leaves are too tangy for my tastes), kabob & kobta (salty) , liver (okay), and chicken (nicely flavred, not dry). Overall a great way to introduce you to a variety of prepared meats. The lamb and the sausage with rice was by far my favorite. Price: 54.90 egyptian pounds (approx. US $ 10)

Eggplant, Lemon, Tomato (Emara Hati El Gish, 32 Sharia Falaki or 32 Falakay): The dish included mini-chunks of tomato, lemon and topped off with grinded bits of eggplant. The little bits of eggplant was almost unnoticeable in taste. Price: 4.92 Egyptian pounds, less than US $ 1

Tobola (chick peas) - Metabel - Labana (Emara Hati El Gish, 32 Sharia Falaki or 32 Falakay): grounded chickpeas with some spices. It was ok, a bit too salty. Price: 4.92 Egyptian pounds, less than US $ 1

Sambisa with Meat (Emara Hati El Gish, 32 Sharia Falaki or 32 Falakay): Triangle shaped pastry dish that reminded me of an Indian samosa or a softer Spanish empanada. You can order this with meat or cheese. The meat sambisa was tasty. Price: 10 egyptian pounds, approx. US $ 2.

Assortment of Appetizers (Part of our Bahariya Oasis Tour Food with Select Egypt) - This was what we were served at lunch. Cheese and Tomato (pass), Tuna from the can (pass), Cheese paste with tomato and cucumber (pass), Cucumber and tomato salad (ok), egg and tomato (yum!), Bag of Lays cheese potato chips (yum) , pita bread, and bananas. Overall, it was an interesting spread ... Most of the foods I could do without, but the egg and tomato dish was my favorite (probably because I used to eat something similar to this when I was growing up)

Chicken with Vegetables and Rice (Part of our Bahariya Oasis Tour Food with Select Egypt) -- Wilson and I agree that this was by far one of the best meals we've had (aside from that Mixed Sandwich with the refried beans!). The rice was loose and extremely flavorful (have no idea what was put in there - fat lard? Since there probably wasn't any butter). The vegetables also had a very good taste to it. The carrots, onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers were cooked to a perfect softness and had a richness to it that was something I haven't had. If I could have this everyday, I would become a vegetarian! But since I can't have that everyday, I'm still an omnivore. The chicken was freshly "prepared" (ie killed) that day. Our driver seasoned it with salt and lime juice and threw it on the barbecue grill. Delicious. Everything in this meal was fantastic. Definitely worth it.

Thus far, these are the highlights of my food adventures in Egypt! The food has been better than expected and I hope to taste more of the culinary treats of Egypt! and finally, I hope I won't experience "Pharaoah's Revenge"

Until the next Egyptian food tour ...


Shay Mushet said...

Thank you, Susan, for sharing your experiences with Egyptian food! The photos are amazing! Broc and I can't wait to make a trip and try it all for ourselves! Happy New Year!

aaronnssd said...

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