Mr Wok: Chinese Street Food in Zamalek
The shop itself is incredibly petite, though the kitchen manages to accommodate what seems like an army of stone-faced, ninja-speed chefs. The remaining space allows no more than three hungry patrons to line up in single-file with queues inevitably spilling out onto the street, where a few tables and chairs are neatly organised.
Beef, chicken, smoked duck, prawn and tofu cover the meat options, while everything from cashews and crushed peanuts to broccoli, pineapple and bamboo shoots are available for you to lace into your design, which is then polished off with a sauce – free of charge.
This is not strictly Chinese though. A serving made of jasmine rice (26LE), tofu (15LE), peppers (3LE) and pattaya sauce (Thai green curry sauce) made for a spicy curry delight, although it all felt a bit heavy and dry. The fresh peppers remedied that to an extent, but the tofu was cut up in such small segments that it slowly vanished into the rice with every stir. The lack of sauce and the subsequent extensive stirring to utilise said lacking sauce eventually turned the rice into a dry pulp. It’s a shame because it was ringing with flavour.
This wasn’t a problem for the udon noodles (31LE), which when matched up with beef (8LE), broccoli (3LE), fried onion (2LE) and soho sauce (toasted sesame sauce) went down a treat. The disappointment of the absent cashew nuts and the fact that most of the broccoli came in the form of one large stalk were only further compounded by an excessive amount of the otherwise fragrant toasted sesame sauce.
The cleverly assembled boxes that the food is served in are pretty robust and are designed as to not allow any sort of leakage. Those who aren’t versed in the art of chopsticks are spared the indignity of stain-on-shirt-embarrassment and provided with adequate plastic cutlery.