The Definitive Guide to Living in the Capital , Cairo , Egypt

Koshary El Tahrir

Koshary El Tahrir: Iconic Egyptian Koshary

reviewed by
Melissa Howell
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Koshary El Tahrir: Iconic Egyptian Koshary

For anyone new to Cairo, it’s hard to believe that a
simple bowl of pasta, rice, lentils, chick peas, onions and tomato sauce can
cause so much debate. However, we take our koshary seriously here, and Downtown
Cairo is packed with cheap, quick and delicious koshary restaurants.

Tahrir unwittingly became the food staple for the January 25th revolutionaries, having fed arguably thousands, if not millions of protestors that flocked
to Tahrir. Jokingly referred by many in the square as KFC, the little tubs of koshary were featured
in news reports around the world. Its location near the square and the fact that it was open throughout the weeks of demonstrations have made Koshary El Tahrir an icon in Egyptian culture.

Located in Bab El Louq, just a few blocks away from Tahrir
Square, Koshary El Tahrir gets huge points for convenience. As one of the
centrally located koshary restaurants in Cairo,
Koshary El Tahrir is also great on
service; you’ll be met with welcoming smiles throughout your visit and you’ll
receive your tub of fresh koshary in no time.

The restaurant itself is a modest one, but tables and
chairs are generally very clean, especially considering how messy an
enthusiastically consumed bowl of koshary can be. A recent remodelling has brought new tables
and chairs, giving the well loved restaurant a much needed face lift. Eat
upstairs by the window for some people watching on the street below.

Whereas many koshary restaurants offer the meal for
as little as 2LE, Koshary El Tahrir’s selection starts with bowls for 5LE. Don’t
think for a moment that you’re not getting good value for your money: the
5LE-serving is a substantial bowl, while the 8LE and 10LE servings come in
gargantuan portions. Eating contest trainees could definitely get a run for
their money at Koshary El Tahrir.

The sauces really make the restaurant’s brand of
comfort food irresistible. Each table is set with shatta (hot pepper) and
da’a (vinegar sauce) in large glass jars. You can tell how serious they are
about flavour by the sediments of spice that settle in each jar. We especially love Koshary El Tahrir’s da’a.
Much more potent than most vinegar sauces, this one adds quite a kick to a bowl
of koshary.  

While some koshary shops go all out and offer
toppings such as shawerma meat or other popular pasta dishes, you won’t find
that at Koshary El Tahrir. Rice pudding is available if you want a cool, creamy
dessert after your spicy meal; but other than that, it’s all about the koshary here.

360 Tip

Koshary preferences vary widely. If you don’t like this shop, Downtown Cairo has plenty of other options.

Best Bit

Pungent shatta and da’a make Koshary El Tahrir delightful.

Worst Bit

Koshary is pretty much all they sell here.

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