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Heliopolis, Cairo, Egypt.
Hamada Juice: Fresh Juice & Fruit Salad in Heliopolis
If you find yourself in the area, Hamada Juice in Sheraton Heliopolis is a great place to stop for nice refreshing cold juice, or a mouth watering fruit salad - especially considering its lineage. The is how the story goes: Hamada had a foul cart and became incredibly popular in the area – to the extent that he became known as Hamada Sheraton. The youth of the area would hang out, eat foul and sip on juice from FBI. Noticing the way the two complemented each other, he decided to start his own juice place. Literally stuck to his new and improved foul shop, he now offers the full package in one stop.
Ranging from 3LE to 8LE, basic fruit juices come in three sizes. A slushy will cost you between 4LE to 6LE and there’s a special section dedicated to chocolate drinks such as Snickers and Mars with vanilla, mango or strawberry. They are the most expensive choices at 12LE for a large and 15LE for a jumbo. You can also find yoghurt drinks with honey and fruit (5LE-7LE) and last but not least is the Hamada Special (10LE); a fruit salad with ice cream and nuts.
Other menu options include the sobia, made with barley, brown bread and cinnamon, with an addition of ice cream and type of fruit or chocolate. These also come in three sizes. Hamada’s creations can be found in the form of cocktails with entertaining names such as C Plus, Boom Berry and Bahama Mama.
Every name is in accordance to its components. Take the Lentil Soup cocktail as an example; made with mango and banana juice, it truly ends up looking like a helping of yellow soup. All the cocktails are 7LE, or 9LE for the jumbo size.
Hamada Juice also offers milk with nuts (6LE-10LE), as well as the more traditional favourites such as sugar cane, dried apricot and hibiscus juice – 1.50LE to 3LE.
We’ve pretty much tried all the juices at Hamada’s over a period of time, and while we’ve always been fans of his juices and cocktails, the fruit salad falls short because there is there is simply more melon than any other fruit which doesn’t leave room for any other flavours.
Overall, hanging out in front of the shop is enjoyable since it’s relatively quiet and you can pass the time, and possibly attempt to survive this heat, by sipping on a variety of different juices. The service is fast and they even come right to your car window.
Fresh juice stands are a dime-a-dozen in Cairo, and some are rightfully considered better than others. A few might even be bona-fide must-visit spots on a tour of the city. But more often than not, these local spots are tiny hole-in-the-wall establishments, recognizable by their single counters and dangling bags of pomegranates and oranges.
So it has been to the delight of all those who live and work around Dokki’s Tahrir Street that City Drink has opened up as a kind of celebration of all that is possible in the world of cold, mixed beverages. City Drink is open 24-hours-a-day, complete with a fleet of delivery boys and relentless fluorescent lighting, along with the jolt of caffeine found in many of the blended options, is guaranteed to wake you up in the morning or jump-start your evening.
The juices and shakes come in a glass or takeaway cup about the same size as other juice stands, and are promptly made to order by a team of four or five guys who are constantly churning out orders. For the basic juices – strawberry, guava, banana, etc. – a small cup is 3LE and a large is 4LE. Even the classic milkshake flavours like chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry, only cost 4LE for a small and 5LE for a large.
City Drink also carries a significant amount of specialty drinks. There is an entire section devoted to cocktails made with mango, ranging from City Drink Mango juice, at 3.50LE/5LE, to a mix of juice and freshly cut mango slices for 7LE/10LE. The avocado milkshake is particularly refreshing. Not too intense, the avocado actually just tastes like a better, more natural version of the vanilla milkshake.
Other favourites of City Drink veterans include the Specter; a mix of dates, apple, kiwi, and milk (5LE6LE), as well as the Viagra, which is a combination of dates, honey, ice cream, and yogurt (5LE/6LE). For something really original, try the Phone Max; a mix of watercress, kiwi, avocado, and honey (5LE/6LE).
If health is not an important factor in your choice, by all means try the Borio milkshake (10LE)..
Finally, if you want the flavour of some lib (pumpkin seeds) or pistachio nuts without the trouble of having to shell them one at a time, simply grab a Toaster or milkshake made with your choice of lib, peanut, cashew, or pistachio. The Lib Shake (4LE/5LE) tastes very similar to the milk at the bottom of a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios. The Pistachio (7.50LE/8.50LE) is definitely a lot heavier, but packs that unmistakable flavour that hits the spot.
Whether you are looking for a serving of guava juice a cut above the standard glass, or a creative blend of distinctly Egyptian flavours, stop by City Drink for a cool swig.