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Maadi, Cairo, Egypt.
Genghis Khan: Affordable Mongolian Cuisine in Maadi
You won't often come across a restaurant that serves Mongolian cuisine in Cairo. Having once seen a travel program about Mongolian cuisine and finding out they eat marmots, we were seriously hoping that this wasn’t the case at Genghis Khan in Maadi. The restaurant is located on Road 233, which has a high density of Asian restaurants and pet shops - not that we're implying anything here.
The entire front of the restaurant is made of glass, providing lots of daylight and a view of the street. There are just four tables laid out that seat a maximum of five people. On the walls we saw some interesting yet peculiar art pieces that are best described as Asian soft porn; naked ladies in titillating poses.
The menu is written in English and Mongolian; immediate relief followed when we didn’t find marmot on the menu. We tried to distinguish which dishes were specifically Mongolian but found it difficult since most dishes on the menu were just well-known Chinese ones.
As soon as you order you receive a kettle of green tea. Genghis Khan also offers soft drinks and beer; Heineken, Stella and Sakkara available ranging between 10LE and 20LE. While nibbling on fried peanuts with salt (15LE) we browsed through the menu and eventually opted for the sweet and sour chicken (35LE), beef with potato (35LE), tofu with soy sauce (25LE), rice with eggs (10LE) and noodles with shrimp (18LE).
The food arrived at our table within approximately five minutes and all of the plates were filled to the max; especially the dishes with rice and noodles – which you can easily share with two or three people. The tofu with soy sauce was a bit disappointing unfortunately; the taste of the soy sauce was lacking and the consistency of the tofu was spongy.
The beef with potato on the other hand fared better. The baked potato pieces were deliciously flavoured and it took us about three minutes to devour all of them. The beef was very salty but nevertheless tasty; combined with the potatoes, it’s enough to be a meal on its own.
The sweet and sour chicken plate was also huge. The succulent chicken pieces were drenched in a sauce that was a perfect balance between sweet and sour. The rice with eggs was good but lacked taste; though the stickiness of it made it perfect to combine with the sauces. The noodles on the other hand were slightly undercooked and tasteless.
Genghis Khan’s strongest point seems to be their potato and beef dishes. The portions come huge and are very affordable; we paid 160LE for five plates and some beverages. However, we were still left wondering what Mongolian cuisine truly is.
Asian cuisine has found itself a comfortable place in the hearts of many Cairenes. There’s hardly a mall or a food court without either a Chinese, Thai, Indian or even a Korean restaurant, not to mention surge of Sushi restaurants across the capital that are now almost as common as kabab and kofta.
Naturally, these Asian restaurants have managed to flourish, and some chose to expand beyond malls and food courts, as with our latest example Asian Corner.
Located in Ismailiya Square in Heliopolis behind the Salam Shopping Centre, small road signs will guide you into a quiet back road. The restaurant has a chic glass facade and its interiors are nothing like its other branches. Modern decor with light wood, ambient lighting, different seating areas with chairs and couches and bar stools make for a pleasant and warm atmosphere, far from the bustle of malls and food courts.
The menu consists of a check list where you choose your dishes and hand it back to the waiter. With options including everything from fish to duck to desserts, and a separate sushi menu, we were set.
The food started arriving about 15 minutes after we ordered. From the appetisers, we opted for Shrimp Konafa (39LE) served with garlic and coriander. From the main courses, we chose the Yaki Tori (44LE) and Spicy Beef with Potatoes (45LE) accompanied by Vegetable Noodles (20LE) and Nasi Goreng (32LE).
The beef was thinly sliced and topped with bell peppers, onions, cabbage, soy sauce and potato cubes. It was mildly spicy, but the beef was slightly undercooked.
The Yaki Tori, a chicken teriyaki dish, was delicious and executed brilliantly. The chicken breasts are thick-cut and made with honey, sesame seeds and sweet soy. Unless you specifically dislike sweet and sour, the Yaki Tori is the dish for you.
The Nasi Goreng – fried rice with shrimps, eggs and vegetables – is one of the best dishes on the menu, simply because of its huge portion and generous amounts of toppings. The vegetable noodles are decent in portion and made with bell peppers and cabbage. Our order was lightly low on salt, but that’s intended for you to adjust salt to taste.
We enjoyed our experience, and enjoyed the portions and great service, but we would like to see ready meals in the menu as many customers were confused by assembling the meal, and each entry having its own price.