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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.
The healthy eating trend, make no mistake it is in fact a trend, has taken Cairo by storm. Every neighbourhood now has some sort of salad bar and/or diet-friendly restaurants catering almost exclusively to the people willing to sacrifice flavour for less calories.
We say it’s a trend because the last few trends before it were all sweets and confectionary items. Before the healthy eating trend hit the capital though, perhaps a decade before that, the original perpetrator of ‘healthy sandwiches’ and practically an icon of the 90’s was Subway.
Famed for their healthy options and tasty sandwiches, Subway were even known for their commercials about weight loss using models who had nothing to do with Subway.
The Maadi branch has been around longer than we can personally remember. Quite modest in size it occupies a corner across from the Duty Free Store and Tabla Luna.
Sporting the original sandwich bar layout, this particular branch hasn’t been renovated in quite some time. You’ll never find it particularly crowded either.
Opting for a Steak and Cheese Foot Long (49LE) as well as a Chicken Parmesan Foot Long (47LE) we watched the pleasant servers put our sandwiches together in the types of bread of our choosing. We opted for Sesame and Parmesan Oregano accordingly.
To top the meats off, we also requested tomatoes, lettuce and sweet onion dressing on the first sandwich, and pickles on the second.
The Steak and Cheese, while sufficiently stuffed with meat, wasn’t very filling. The flavours were decent but we do remember tasting better. The Chicken Parmesan was a complete miss. Made with frozen pre-cooked chicken breasts—the stuff that’s called chicken but barely resembles it, that wasn’t even fried properly. The rest of the toppings were quite scarce leaving much to be desired from this sandwich.
Sorely disappointing without much of a dining experience to salvage it, were surprised what keeps Subway going here in Cairo. The standard is definitely not what it used to be, the sandwiches just aren’t the same, and the competition is much stronger than what it used to be in their field.