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Downtown, Cairo, Egypt.
Kazaz: Downtown Cairo’s Hub For Cheap Fast Food
It’s easy to get discouraged by cheap baladi food in Cairo, where sometimes a taameya sandwich for 2LE can be a huge, regrettable mistake. If you’re looking for a dependable baladi restaurant that delivers up Cairo’s yummiest fast food that’s also always affordable, however, then what you’re looking for is Kazaz.
Aside from offering every variety of taameya and foul that exists, Kazaz's shawerma sandwiches are Downtown’s finest. The meat is fresh and sautéed with tomatoes, onions and peppers. The sandwiches come in three sizes, the smallest of which is served in a semi-sweet, sesame seed Kaiser bun and drizzled with tehina sauce. The medium and larger sizes are served in classic, long shawerma rolls. Baladi burgers are another Kazaz classic that can hit the spot. In between a sesame seed roll, a perfectly sunny-side-up egg sits on a beef patty with cheese and all the fix-ins.
A review on Kazaz wouldn’t be complete without mentioning their terrific lentil soup. Although not quite suitable for warm weather, you might find yourself ordering it anyway; it’s just that irresistible. The lentil soup has the perfect thickness and is served with raw onion, fresh lemon and tiny pieces of crunchy, fried bread.
Conveniently located next to Ahwa Bustan and Stella Bar, many regulars pick up something quick before heading to a nearby hangout. Although Kazaz is mostly known for its fast food service, there is a seating area upstairs if you’re looking for a sit-down meal. Try the 1/4 chicken meal, which is served generously with chicken soup, rice, mixed vegetables and fresh salad. There are other Egyptian goodies and they’re all pretty delicious, including molokheya, mahshi and fresh okra in tomato sauce.
Kazaz’s take-away section stays open until the very early hours of the morning, so it’s a perfect place to satisfy a midnight craving or to hang out after a long night. Kazaz delivers in the Downtown area, so if you live in the neighbourhood; you’re in luck. They’re generally quite fast, but they definitely have their off nights.
Kazaz is living proof that delicious food in Egypt can be affordable. Foul and taameya varieties never exceed 2LE to3LE, shawermas cost between 4LE to 9LE, and lentil soup costs 4LE. Full meals, such as the 1/4 chicken meal, cost around 20LE to 25LE.
Whilst most of the newer restaurants in Cairo claim to serve up authentic Egyptian meals, nothing quite compares to the delights of longstanding, local koshary establishments. Downtown Cairo is packed with cheap and delicious koshary restaurants with fast, friendly service where you can opt to dine in or take away.
Building up an almost unrivalled reputation, just two blocks from Tahrir Square, Abou Tarek’s restaurant is spread over two floors; a necessity due to its popularity and bustle.
However, the décor is a little more flamboyant than most koshary outlets, with artificial greenery and several large, tropical fish tanks, tempting customers to sit and eat. Downstairs, there’s also a television if you like a little entertainment while you dine.
The generous bowls of koshary start from as little as 3LE, though it is possible to purchase a range of sizes for just a few pounds more. For 10LE, big eaters will be afforded a humungous portion. Of course, no koshary meal would be complete without the essential garlic dressing, da'a, and chilli sauce, both of which Abou Tarek do fantastically.
There is also a small range of canned drinks (4LE) and mineral water (2LE) to wash down that delightful meal.
We waited less than five minutes for two bowls of delicious koshary which werw not only served quickly, but also with a smile from the locals who run the establishment – just another one of the special, very vital ingredients that really do make a difference.
Though koshary is the main focus, should you have room for dessert, sweet, creamy rice pudding is amongst the options, and cost a mere 3LE per serving.
Serving some of the best-tasting koshary in the heart of Downtown Cairo, Abou Tarek has once again proved to be a must-go for all koshary fans.