Operating out of a small shop in one of Nasr City’s souks, Ahwet Samah is a little less than what you expect from a baladi shisha place. The ahwa has its regulars, but these are mostly groups of young men less interested in the quality of shisha, and more interested in comparing bicep sizes. Masochism, it would appear, is a prerequisite for becoming a regular here.

The ample parking is probably the highlight of this ahwa; once you leave your car, your table will be right on the street next to it. At least you don’t have to worry about car theft. It takes a few minutes for the gentlemen working there to notice a new customer, and while they are affable enough, we had to repeat our order several times for it to stick.

The odour wafting in from the nearby kebdagy (read: street liver sandwiches) sets off the 'Yummy!' button, when it should be setting off the 'Hell no!' button. For 2LE per sandwich, meat does not get cheaper than this. It’s exactly what you would expect from a street stall selling liver and sausage sandwiches. Other than gawk at the primordial stew simmering in rusted pots, there isn’t much else to do.

Hopes for a sanctioned game of Tarneeb were dashed to the ground when the staff explained that since we’re sitting on the street, card playing is illegal. How about a game of dominos? Nope, that too is apparently illegal.

The shisha arrives pre-burnt, so you’re 100% guaranteed to inhale burning coal into your pink lungs, rather than tobacco. A comedic episode transpires when you realize they’ve given you one of those sissy ’medical’ pipes; It’s an image that is incongruous with the machismo associated with smoking shisha, so even that simple pleasure is extracted from the experience.