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Sayeda Zeinab, Cairo, Egypt.
El Rahmani: Delicious Sobya in Sayeda Zeinab
Located at the intersection between Mobtadayan and El Komi Streets, El Rahmani is a small, white dessert shop that just barely fits its counter and fridge, yet it’s always bursting at the seams with customers clamouring for its well-known treat. This famous shop in Sayeda Zeinab offers only one item on its menu: sobia. And rumour has it that this is the best sobia in all of Cairo.
This cold, heavily-sweetened drink is made from coconut and rice milk, and at El Rahmani, it’s offered in two varieties: sweet or sour. Or, as the man behind the cash register explained in English, 'sweet or diet.' We sampled both and the diet sobia, like most things diet, tasted far inferior to its more popular and sweeter counterpart.
The sweet sobia was viscous, glutinous goodness, textured with small slices of coconut and finished off with a sprinkling of cinnamon. The sour sobia was not as thick and not nearly as delicious. Its flavour was strange and almost tasted fermented. Judging from other patrons' choices of sobia, the sweet kind is overwhelmingly the favourite at El Rahmani. However, at only 2.50LE, it’s affordable to sample both. For 8LE, you can buy a larger cup of sobia to take away.
There are no chairs or tables at this corner shop, but the hordes of people milling about with sobia in hand and sitting on the curbs attests to its popularity. Even on colder winter evenings, you’ll still find groups of people waiting to enjoy some cold sobia. El Rahmani gets quite crowded at night, so if you want a ledge to lean on or a curb to sit on, we recommend visiting in the afternoon.However, stopping by for a late-night snack will give you the full El Rahmani experience. The shop is brightly lit and the lines, though long, move quickly. Sayeda Zeinab Square and Mosque are just around the corner, and the surrounding streets are lined with every type of shop that you could possibly imagine, so be sure to walk off this caloric dessert by taking a walk around the neighbourhood.
You can precede your journey to El Rahmani with a trip to Foul El Gahsh or Zein El Abdin Abu Ramy, two very popular joints in the area.
As a result of the hectic city life, health-conscious restaurants and cafés in Cairo are often overlooked in favour of filling up on more gratifying, and often unwholesome, meals and drinks.
Recently opened in Zamalek, international chain, Froots, strives to provide citizens with delicious, healthy alternatives. The small venue on 26th of July Street offers clean, vitamin-rich blends of juices and smoothies. A table is placed outside for customers wanting to drink on the spot, and inside there are two stools for patrons waiting on their orders.
Amongst others, the menu includes a wide of variety of tropical smoothies, fresh fruit juices, organic teas, coffee and even lip-smacking chocolate and ice cream milkshakes. Though in the past they were known for providing food, the current reworking of the menu means that meals are temporarily unavailable.
We ordered a Tidal Wave (22LE) cocktail – a blend of strawberries, peaches and kiwi juice – and a Berry Sunrise (33LE) – made with strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, vanilla soy milk and fat free yoghurt. For the latter, our waiter willingly adapted the ingredients to replace the soy milk with regular dairy.
Served in large plastic cups, the Tidal Wave was refreshingly sweet, with a charming tinge of bitterness provided by the kiwi juice. On the other hand the Berry Sunrise, served icy cold, was thick, foamy, smooth and delicious. Although they were both scrumptious and filling, the drinks were unfortunately prepared with frozen, as opposed to fresh, produce.
Perfect to silence a rumbling stomach, Froots provide tasty, liquid alternatives to heavy meals and unhealthy snacks.