Thursday, September 10, 2009

My Food Experience in Cairo and around Egypt

So far my food experience in Cairo has been just fine. I mostly like what I’ve eaten, but I have played it safe.

Still trying to find a place w/good vegetables.
Some of the vegetable stands just look questionable. Additionally, most folks are doing a good wash on the veggies (a combo of water and vinegar and a good scrub). That's a good precaution if you plan to eat the veggies raw. Might just as easy to blanche them or peel them. I've been told that the growing vegetables process is a bit different here (in ways that I'd rather not comment on in this post); point it, your stomach may not like what you put in it ...

I was surprised to learn that French Fries are as much a staple here in Cairo as they are in the States. Though the ketchup has a different taste. The ketchup is more tomato-y. Heinz has a big presence here w/their name on the label for mustard, hot sauce and some other condiments as well.

Nestle is quite common here as well. They are one of many of the bottled water companies. Even when ordering water in a restaurant, you will get a fresh bottle of water. Another thing I've learned is that Egyptians are quite fond of their Nescafe coffee; another Nestle product.

The Fanta brand is also popular in Egypt. Fanta is soda or pop and it comes in different flavors like grape and orange. What I do like is that the fresh juice selection here is bountiful: mango, orange, lemon, guava and more. Oh, and there's the karkadey (hisbiscus) juice. It's a little bit like pomegranate juice, but not.

The best thing about living in Cairo and Zamalek in particular is the delivery service. You can get nearly anything delivered here. Bottled water is the big delivery item. But not only that, food delivery is huge as well. There is a delivery service called Otlob and you can get delivery service nearly 24 hours a day. The choices run the gamut from Chinese to pizza to chicken tenders from Chilis. The prices are reasonable as is the delivery fee. Not food related, but worth noting is that you can get beer, wine and cigarettes delivered.

Traditional Egyptian food is sort of hard to find. Koshary (the spelling varies) is what I am looking for. I’ve been to a Lebanese restaurant, Taboula, that I can’t wait to visit again. I'm still stunned at the American fast food restaurants that are here: there’s plenty of KFC, McDonalds and Pizza Hut. There’s also a Baskin Robbins.

The good news, in my case, is that there are many restaurants that offer a pasta selection and usually some vegetarian options too. Though I am not a true vegan, it's nice to have some meatless choices. For a nice selection of restaurants, check out iCrocs fine dining in Cairo listing.

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