As we zoomed through the maze of New Cairo’s 5A, we finally found the allegedly hottest up-and-coming Asian street food spot, Don Eatery. Since it landed in Egypt, Cairenes have been going crazy over their unique dishes and authentic Asian food. Of course, we couldn’t help it either; their dish variety enticed us so much that we had to try it for ourselves.
The place is exceedingly cosy, reminiscent of authentic Asian street food restaurants, with artistic drawings and paintings all over the walls. The aroma of boiling soup and stir fried food filled the restaurant as we walked in. The tables are pretty close to one another, maybe to highlight the idea of sharing food as part of the culture, or perhaps the place is just smaller than most.
To get us started, we decided on their Shrimp Gyoza (EGP 75) and Chilli Shrimp Bao (EGP 65), as well as the Pulled Beef Bao (EGP 60). The Shrimp Gyoza, which came with a drizzle of spicy sauce, was cooked to perfection without the dough falling apart. The shrimp had a good bite to it, and a little bit of broth oozed out as we bit into the gyoza. The overall dish was flavourful and had a great kick to it. As for the baos, they were also equally as delicious.
The Chilli Shrimp Bao—shrimp tempura, pickled cucumber, chives and spicy mayo—was a flavour bomb. The shrimp was crunchy inside out, the dressing wasn’t too spicy but gave the flavour profile a great boost, and the bao was pillowy and soft. The Pulled Beef Bao—slow cooked beef, pickled cucumber, peanuts, red chilli, fried onions and spicy beef sauce—was also a treat. The meat had a melt-in-your-mouth texture, and we barely had to chew. It was also quite juicy and tender, and the cucumber and chives broke the texture and gave the entire bao a good crunch.
After the promising starters, we couldn’t miss out on their soup selection, so we got ourselves a bowl of their Chicken Shoyu Ramen (EGP 180)—homemade noodles in chicken broth with chicken katsu, poached egg, bean sprouts, spring onions, bamboo shoots, pak choi, mayu, and tare sauce. Despite being submerged in hot broth for a while, the noodles never went mushy, so we were able to enjoy them with every bite. However, the broth was surprisingly on the bland side, and we had to dress it up with a bit of soy to add some flavour. The chicken katsu also didn’t go well with the soup. The once crunchy crust became soggy as we ate.
Finally trying what we came for, we ordered the Beef Bulgogi (EGP 200) and Chicken Katsu with Fried Rice (EGP 180). The highlight of this meal was easily the Beef Bulgogi—Homemade udon noodles, grilled beef, kimchi, sweet and spicy soy marinade, leeks, red chilli, and coriander. The udon noodles were satisfyingly chewy and flavourful, and the beef was tender. The overall dish had a great umami flavour with nutty, charred notes. The Chicken Katsu was another excellent choice—fried chicken, spinach, spring onions omelette, and homemade tonkatsu sauce. The breading was crispy, and the chicken cutlet was tender. However, the fried chicken could use a bit more flavour. The fried rice was excellent and complimented the chicken nicely.
To end our meal, we scanned through their dessert menu, but most of their items were unavailable, so we went with their Chocolate Caramel Jian Dui (EGP 85)—crispy sesame balls filled with chocolate caramel sauce. Unfortunately, the dessert didn’t come through; while the ball was crisp and the texture was great, there was a bitter aftertaste that overpowered the sweetness of the dish, so we couldn’t thoroughly enjoy it.
The overall experience was worthwhile, with friendly service. For a meal for two, the place is on the expensive side, but still somewhat reasonable.