Skalans: Tasty & Affordable Egyptian Street Eats in Heliopolis
No matter how many foreign cuisines come to the Cairo restaurant scene, there’s nothing quite like authentic Egyptian food – a sentiment that had us eager to try recently opened Heliopolis eatery, Skalans.
Located in the Sheraton Buildings area, close to Hamada Sheraton – another famous street eats hub in the area serving foul and ta’ameya— Skalans is a small shop with quirky blue garbage cans for chairs and an interior floor designed to look like that of the street. Gaining more popularity by the day, Skalans was already crammed up people at the time of our visit and when we did eventually find seating, we found the chaos left by the people who came to eat before us waiting.
Torn between all the drooling choices in the menu – from liver sandwiches, Alexandrian spicy sausage sandwiches (8.50LE-10.50LE each) and Hawawshi (12LE- 23LE), to pastas (19LE) and spicy meat platters (30LE – 32LE), not to mention some grilled cheese sausages – one of Skalans' specialties (10.50LE) – we finally settled on a medium and a large Hawawshi (12LE and 19LE), an Alexandrian sausage sandwich (8.5LE) and two packs of French fries (5LE each).
Besides our main bites, we wanted to also try the dessert and between Skalans – a sandwich comprised of cream, honey, jam and halva (halawa) – (8.50LE) and a Nutella dessert – halva with nutella –(8.5LE) we opted for the latter.
An hour later, the cashier screamed our number and our food was ready, alongside some complementary pickles. Served in half pita bread portions, our hawawshi was quite tasty; though somewhat greasy, it boasted perfectly seasoned minced meat and good consistency and was surprisingly light.
Smothered in Tehina, chopped vegetables and a mere half a sausage, our Alexandrian sausage sandwich was quite disappointing, on the other hand; lacking the traditional Alexandrian pungent, aromatic seasoning, the sandwich was far from flavourful and actually rather bland.
Despite the unfamiliar mix, our Nutella-halva blend was perfect; surprisingly light, the two flavours actually worked together and managed to be both creamy and light at the same time.
Overall, despite some missteps, such as the slow service and the unnecessary and deafeningly loud music, our visit to Skalans was satisfying enough; just don’t expect your visit to be a relaxing one.