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

The Cairo Guide to Yameesh & Nuts in Ramadan 2011

The Cairo Guide to Yameesh & Nuts in Ramadan 2011
written by
Waleed Abuarab

Shopping for yameesh and nuts is a traditional Ramadan activity for us, where supermarkets and speciality shops devote large sections full of salted and smoked nuts (almonds, pecans, walnuts, etc.) as well as dry fruits (amar el din, shorn coconut meat, dates). Whether
you’re looking for the cheapest deal, the biggest brand names or the shortest
shopping trip, we have the best shops for all your yameesh needs.

Al
Mouwafak
is one of the most famous nut speciality shops in Egypt. The flagship store is located on Zamalek’s 26th of July street next to the Mobil petrol station. They also have several small
stalls and kiosks to be found in malls as well as in chains of Carrefour and Metro Market. Though their prices are higher than the norm,
they do stock a range of delicious delicacies that is not to be found anywhere else, such as
caramelised hazelnuts and cashews, dried bananas and salted chickpeas.

Awlad
Ragab
has over ten shops in and around Cairo, and
you won’t have to look far to find one. The yameesh is displayed outside of the
shop in huge amounts. The nuts and fruit always look incredibly appetising and are very
reasonably priced. This year, they have created a competition in which customers
can be entered in if they spend 500LE or more. With the prices being so
reasonable, though, you might find it hard to reach 500LE; so buddy up with some
one for a chance to enter and win.  

El
Abd
has two branches in Dowtown on Talaat Harb Street
and Sherif Street. Though the shop is more famous for its oriental sweets and
desserts, it also caters to all your yameesh needs. Those familiar
with the shop will know of the loyal following they have for their decently priced and quality products.

Residents of Giza and Haram have a small
treasure cave of yameesh in Ali Market
on Faisal Street. The shop holds a huge range of yameesh at unbelievably low
prices. Though the place is always packed with people and full of unruly
queues, the staff works hard and fast. If you don’t have the patience to
negotiate through the disorderly crowds, Faisal Street is full of smaller
yameesh places that you can stroll to.

All branches of Metro Market have stocked
up on yameesh. They offer a customisable package of Ramadan goods at slightly
lower prices than speciality shops. You can call ahead to specify the
contents of your package, and collect it.

Sayeda
Zeinab’s Monday Market
will have you baffled as to
where to begin! The market has everything and anything that you need for the month
of Ramadan, and there’s a festive spirit to it that will make shopping for
yameesh an enjoyable experience. The market is of course crowded, but there
is no doubt that this is a one-of-a-kind shopping experience.

Left of the El Azhar Bridge in Attaba, you’ll
find Ragab El Ataar. Though they
specialise in herbs and spices, they stock up on yameesh for Ramadan. You’ll
also find Tamimi in Downton Cairo on Bab
El Louk Square; a popular yameesh merchant in the area.

Cairenes who are in and
around Manial or Old Cairo should check out branches of El Domyateya, while supermarket El Mahmal has several branches in Heliopolis, Nasr City and
Mokkattam, which regularly have special Ramadan offers.  Let’s not forget Carrefour in Maadi and on
the Cairo-Alex desert road in Dandy Mall, as well as Spinney’s in Citystars.

Prices
of course depend on the quality of the nuts and fruits as well as the location of the shop. When it comes to it, though; the difference in said quality isn’t huge, and most shops are happy for you to sample
yameesh before buying; so you can use your own judgement.

Dates will generally set you back between
9LE and 12LE per kilo, and up to 13LE if they are packaged or
imported. Dried apricots cost between 34LE and 40LE per kilo, while prunes sell
for 20LE and 25LE. Dried figs are sold in rolls, with one roll usually weighing
just under the one kilo mark, and selling for between 22LE and 26LE. Also sold
in rolls is amar el din (pressed apricot), which sells for between 10LE and
16LE each. We recommend that you don’t skimp when buying amar el din though; as
some of the cheaper ranges are mixed with carrot or use artificial flavouring.

The prices of nuts are generally higher. A
kilo of de-shelled hazelnuts will cost anything between 52LE and 60LE, and a
kilo of almonds will cost around 48LE. Walnuts are a little expensive at
between 76LE and 89LE per kilo, while the plethora of different raisins cost
between 22LE and 30LE per kilo. Last but definitely not least; one kilo of grated
coconut generally sells for around 22LE.

Remember that generally a
quarter of a kilo would be more than enough for the month if you’re making the
occasional jug of amar el din, or the occasional konafa. If you love to snack
on yameesh while indulging in Ramadan TV shows, you might want to
prepare ahead of time and buy a little more.

Happy shopping, and Ramadan Karim!

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