Mr Wok: Asian Takeout Still Thriving in Zamalek
Asian street food has never been common in Cairo’s dining scene, with the food-in-a-box concept certainly standing out amongst the more formal options. Sitting amidst the hustle and bustle on Zamalek’s busy 26th of July Street, Mr.Wok has – against all odds – stood tall several years now.
The venue is quite small and only accommodates the kitchen and staff. Relying on the concept of takeout, only a couple of basic metal tables and chairs can be found outside on the street.
Technically, the menu covers several Asian cuisines including Japanese, Chinese and Thai. You can either opt for the ready-to-go meals or get a bit more creative and mix and match the noodles or rice with your choice of protein, veggies and sauce.
There’s also a rarely mentioned appetisers section, from which we opted for Spring Rolls (3LE/piece) from, before assembling our own noodle dishes. Starting with the Longevity Chinese Noodles with fresh veggies (28LE) as a base, we added Chicken breast (10LE) and Bangkok Thai Sweet Chilli Sauce for our first dish. For the second, we used Udon Japanese Noodles with fresh veggies (35LE) as a base and topped it with Beef (10LE) and Ossaka Sweet Teriyaki Sauce.
The theatrics put on by the wok chef certainly add a nice touch to the experience. The food was ready after a mere fifteen-minute wait, packaged in cleverly designed boxes that retained the heat and the sauce.
The Spring Rolls – with a significant outer crunch that packed fresh ginger flavoured veggies – were paired very well with a sweet and enjoyable sauce.
With aromas swirling and the heat of the kitchen spilling out onto the street, the disappointment of opening the box and realising that it’s only half full was a hard pill to swallow. This is made all the more disappointing when you factor in the prices – 38LE and 45LE.
Despite that, both meals were perfectly seasoned with complex authentic Asian spices and had generous amounts of steaming hot sauce that enriched the flavour. The longevity noodles are the traditional thick Chinese egg noodles, accompanied by thin strips of chicken, cabbage and carrots, all smothered in an incredible Thai sweet chilli sauce. The Udon noodles, meanwhile, were much thinner with good quality slices of beef drenched in the perfect Teriyaki Sauce.
All in all Mr. Wok will amply satisfy any Asian fast food cravings. While there’s not much to the venue itself and the prices are steep in comparison to quantity, the flavoursome and saucy noodles could very well leave you hooked.