No matter where or how you eat your fetar during Ramadan, there’s a 99.9% chance that you’ll end up having oriental sweets for dessert. And any family occasion or a friend’s sohour party must be accompanied by a box of oriental delicacies. This is an inherent and very delicious tradition in Ramadan; one that we certainly don’t object to with Cairo’s plethora of quality pastry shops making the freshest and most delectable sweets out there.
Here’s Cairo 360’s pick of the best oriental sweets that will highlight your fetar meal and impress your friends.
Mandarine Koueidar: A favourite among many of us, this sweet shop consistently delivers fresh, sweet and delicious oriental sweets: we love their Turkish delight (malban bel eshta), eish saraya, wrapped golash and konafa with cream. A kilo of mixed oriental sweets can cost around 60LE depending on your selection, while a kilo of konafa with cream costs 38LE. Turkish delight and eish saraya both cost 43LE per kilo, and the eish saraya is purchased in a plate portion of more than a kilo, so half-kilo portions are not possible. Mandarine Koueidar has branches in Maadi, Zamalek and Korba. The Maadi branch delivers to the surrounding areas, and the shop stays open until 1AM.
Abdel Rahim Koueidar: Often confused with the shop above, this chain of pastry shops also offers delicious oriental sweets as well as ice cream. Although it’s impossible to declare just one shop to have the best konafa in Cairo, we vote Koueidar's konafa as our favourite this Ramadan: perfectly baked so that the konafa exterior is crunchy, the pastry melts in your mouth once you bite through to the cream filling and rich syrup dressing. A kilo of konafa with cream costs 35LE, while a kilo of konafa with pistachio costs 92LE. A kilo of mixed oriental sweets will set you back around 50LE. Delivery is available and you can order in advance if you want to pick it up from the Downtown shop.
Le Carnaval: This upmarket Dokki delicacy shop has some of the most elaborate and delicious cakes that we’ve tasted in Cairo. If you can pull yourself away from their display of ice creams and mousse cakes, we recommend the heavenly rich konafa with mango, which comes in a gold-tainted plastic bowl and costs a whopping 240LE. For a cheaper alternative, try their mini portions of konafa with mango for 130LE per kilo (30 pieces). Delivery is not available, and they recommend you pick up your dessert before fetar. The shop closes at the Maghreb call for prayer and opens an hour later.
La Poire: The popular pastry chain has branches all over Cairo, Alexandria, the North Coast and other cities. Aside from its excellent range of mini-sandwiches and tarts, La Poire goes all out with its oriental sweets for Ramadan. We recommend the konafa bites wrapped in pistachio, the baa’lawa, the golash and the remoush el sitt (lady’s eyelashes), which melt in your mouth and aren’t too heavy on the sugar. A kilo of mixed oriental sweets costs 100LE, while a whole plate of konafa with cream costs 55LE and a plate of konafa with nuts costs 72LE. Delivery is offered everywhere for orders of one kilo and above, and the shop closes before midnight.
Twinky: With two branches in Haram and one in Mohandiseen, Twinky makes suprisingly light and fresh sweets. A kilo of mixed oriental sweets will set you back between 60LE and 70LE, and includes light, melt-in-your-mouth remoush el sitt, appropriately sweet and creamy konafa, soft and chewy basbousa and crunchy konafa wrapped in nuts, which is even tastier than La Poire’s version. Delivery is available from the Mohandiseen branch and one of the Haram branches.
L’Amondine: With branches in Maadi, Dokki and Nasr City, L’Amondine serves delectable and noticeably fresh konafa with mangoes and cream. The konafa comes with a side of syrup that you can add according to your preference: on its own, the konafa is already pretty sweet and makes a delightful, chewy dessert with its mixture of the cream’s smoothness and the mango’s sharp sweetness. L’Amondine also serves nice atayef with nuts that aren’t too sweet or soggy. Just like most pastry shops in Ramadan, be warned that you may have to queue for a while for your order.
Salé Sucré: If you haven’t tried Salé Sucré’s osmanleya, then you’re missing out. This heavenly but heavy dessert comes with several fruit toppings, including figs, dates and mangoes, and a cream filling over a crunchy crushed konafa base. The treat costs 48LE per kilo, and the cake version costs 120LE. The shop has branches in Nasr City, Heliopolis, Maadi and Mohandiseen and stays open until midnight. Delivery is available but they recommend that you order in advance.
Alternative Options: If you’re fed up with the standard oriental desserts, we recommend the following alternatives to refresh your dessert taste buds: konafa with mango cupcakes from Nola, assaleya cupcakes from Crumbs, mahalabeya from El Malky, rice pudding with ice cream from Saber and tangerine ice cream from Mandarine Koueidar.