While I obviously love street food, it is quite rare that something truly blows my socks off, but koshary seriously managed to do that for me in Cairo.
Referred to by locals as their ultimo “soul food”, my Egyptian friends said they eat it at least once, or twice a week and I can now certainly understand why.
The Street Food Guy Discovers Koshary
My personal first interlude with the dish came after had visited the pyramids of Giza prior to our trip to EDEX, the Egyptian Defense Expo. Lunch was needed and our wonderful local guide suggested a street food stop nearby.
The chain of restaurant I do not remember, but we got to try both kohsary as well as a liver shawarma in a crepe – something I will definitely talk about later.
The best one I had though was at the street food court of the “New Capital” of Egypt, where I not only got the biggest plate, but also used enough hot sauce to kill most men.
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WTF is koshary?
According to our local guide Mustafa it was originally invented by the French when they briefly trie to take over Egypt and involved them pretty much putting everything a plate from the market and just cooking it.
Ingredients thus include the meat of your choice, in our case chicken, with there being crispy elements, as well a smattering of lentils, rice, butter, onions and pickled lemons.
And the kosher part? Much like the its Jewish counterpart means “Food of the rites of the Gods”
And it was the original Egyptian street food, initially being served on carts, before becoming both a restaurant and home cooked fave.
How does Koshary taste?
Much like our Egyptian friends described it is hearty soul food and very carb heavy. Egyptians like it because it is a true taste of home, while us foreigners liked out because it was so very uniquely Egyptian type dish for us to try.
Our initial forays mentioned came when we were at Giza, but the most impressive plate was when we got to sample street food at the new capital of Egypt – I will give the “real name” of said local capital at some point, but New Capital is literally what it is in Aramaic.
Apparently one can even secure Kohsary in other parts of North Africa, or wherever there is an Egyptian diaspora, but for us at least Koshary was THE street food that real summed up the Egypt scene…
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