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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’s no food you love-to-hate more than greasy, fried fast-food. There’s just something about it. But think about when you order that late night burger or fried chicken; it’s a process of moving between several restaurants and picking the one you’re least bored of.
Having originally found fame in Heliopolis and Nasr City, Welatain has since expanded into Maadi, occupying an impossible-to-miss large space on the intersection of El Nasr Street and El Laselky Street.
Welatain doesn’t offer anything you can’t find at KFC, Cook Door or Hardees - let’s be serious, these restaurants don’t differ much. What it does offer though, is a relatively cheaper alternative.
The spacious venue is brightly lit and occupied by several seating areas in the typical fast food diner fashion. The servers greet you from behind the counter with a smile and take down your order promptly. You can then either wait to take it back to your table, or just sit down and have them bring it over - the usual, really.
What Welatain specialise in is the spicy food and offer their sandwiches in different sizes, including the Torbiny - a 50cm monster that’s not for the faint of heart. We opted for a Sub Chicken combo (25LE) and a Hareeka Sandwich (19LE) with an additional Crispy Fries order (8LE) side.
The Sub Chicken is a very standard chicken fillet with cheddar cheese, mayo and lettuce - neither terrible nor awesome. The chicken is cooked well, the cheddar and mayo work and the lettuce is crisp and fresh. The fries, however, fluctuate in quality as was proved by two separate visits. At the time of the review, they were cooked to a near perfect crunch, though during a visit two days prior, they were coarsely cut, soggy and just overall unpleasant.
The Hareeka Sandwich – a fried chicken breast topped with a surprisingly tasty buffalo sauce – was definitely the winner of the two. The chicken was fried well, retained an excellent crunch and the seasoning packed it with flavor despite being smothered in sauce.
The Crispy Fries – regular French fries coated in a seasoned batter – were also a treat, providing a different texture and an interesting take that is every bit as addictive as the popular Hardees curly fries.
Though there’s nothing to wow diners, here, Welatain does what it aims to do: provide affordable and tasty fast food. Even if it doesn’t become one of your favourites, it’ll definitely become a fast food alternative to the other chains whose menus we have all come to know by heart.