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Nasr City, Cairo, Egypt.
Shatshat: Spicy Fast Food in Nasr City
Egyptian sandwich shops seem to be taking a step up in style and innovation when it comes to presentation; from the names of their meals to the menu design and ordering process. It is also one way to compete with the bigger fast food chains and stand out amidst the growing numbers of sandwich joints in Cairo.
Shatshat is a new sandwich venue in Nasr City with a menu of mouth watering, enticing and spicy food options. You can pick one of the El-mefalfel rice meals with chicken liver (7.50LE) with some tahabeesh on the side, or, if you can handle it, some seriously spicy hawawshy or 'hawawshatshat' as the venue calls it (10LE).
For shawerma fans, Shatshat will be a disappointment as it's one of the few sandwich places in Cairo that don't make shawerma sandwiches. They've made up for it though with the Miami chicken sandwich (11.75LE), which is more or less a shawerma sandwich with green and red peppers that add a sweet flavour to the chicken.
If you're not much of a spicy food lover, the chicken pané sandwich (12LE) will be a safe choice, and the good news is they don't just fry some chicken out of a frozen box like other fast food joints do; the chicken is marinated and cooked as you'd make it at home, which makes the portions less crunchy but flavoursome.
Though we ordered our kofta meal (25LE) with fries on the side, we received it with rice instead, and they sure make their rice spicy, though it was also fresh and well-cooked. The kofta was served on a bed of tomatoes, onions and peppers and looked a bit pale, but it was fortunately grilled to perfection with a serving of coleslaw and tomeya dip on the side.
If you're not up for cooking on your day off, Shatshat celebrates the weekend with special family meals. The four-meal weekend menu includes a mix grill meal (80LE), which is a mix of chicken, shish tawouk and kofta; all seasoned with Shatshat’s special mixture of herbs. The menu also lists the seafood bamboti meal (80LE), which is served with rice, salad and bread.
Shatshat may not have the hang of things quite yet but they’re getting there. Their sandwiches are good and the service is efficient for the most part; just make sure to double check your order before leaving.
There are many reasons to fall in love with American cuisine. For many, it’s one of the first international cuisines that made its way to Egypt in the 80’s, while for others it’s the fact that it brings together flavours from other cultures and cuisines.
But for most, there’s just something so appealing about how heart - and occasionally greasy - it is. This has made American diners and fast food joints the most common type of restaurant to be found around Cairo. Chubby Yankees on Aziz Abaza St. in Zamalek is the latest addition to that long list.
Far from the traffic, Chubby Yankees is located in an area void of other shops or restaurants. Consisting of two floors, the first floor holds combinations of wooden chairs and high tables that can hold four people, plus an LCD screen, while the top floor has two seating areas separated by a wooden couch. Across from the counter is a bar seating area that overlooks the street, which is a much better view considering how depressing the decor is.
Black paint and red brick walls make up the interior, which is monotonous and incredibly dull. An attempt to salvage this with black and white wallpaper does little.
We went up to the second floor where we saw four people. We assumed they’re the ones who worked here since there was no one downstairs. The menu was a small piece of paper that comprised of eight items, none of which were labelled with a price.
From the appetisers we ordered Chicken Strips (25LE) which are supposedly served with a dip of our choosing. What we received was 6 pieces of chicken in a foil plate with four packets of ketchup and tomato slices. While the strips were cooked well, the layer of batter fell apart quite easily, and the chicken had no hint of seasoning. After the chef recommended the Thousand Island dressing, we found it to be just as bland as the chicken.
For our mains, we tried an American classic; Mac and Cheese (17LE). Unfortunately, it was just pasta with white sauce in disguise. We thought maybe it would have more cheese than usual in it, but there was nothing discernible to set it apart from anywhere else.
The Tacos (27LE) were probably the highlight of the night, but that’s hardly an accomplishment. The only thing that sets it apart from the appetiser dish is the tortilla bread and lettuce. We did, however, enjoy the plate made from two large tacos and the french fries.
The service wasn’t much better than the food; staff were hard to find, and we had to call for them through the stairwell to place an order.
While the prices at Chubby Yankees certainly aren’t as high as other diners or fast food joints, the quality of food is barely worth any money at all.