Last Update 22:6
Friday, 18 October 2019

Traditional or untraditional? 5 places to go for Koshary

A look into five Koshary joints: Cairo Kitchen, Eshta, Hend, Sayyed Hanafi and Zooba

Dina Ezzat , Monday 16 Jul 2018
Photo: Zooba FB
Zooba FB
Views: 11344
Views: 11344

It is officially Mohamed Salah's favourite meal – with plenty of rice and lots of macaroni as the adored Egyptian footballer said recently.

However, in most Koshary restaurants now, there's not ‘lots of rice.’ The dish is mostly a blend of macaroni – at times with some vermicelli, with only very little rice and some black lentils.

Of five Koshary restaurants: Cairo Kitchen, Eshta, Hend, Sayyed Hanafi and Zooba – the first seems to offer the largest portion of rice in its little red or white metal dishes, or nicely packed into large and small sized boxes. Zooba comes next.

Cairo Kitchen
Cairo Kitchen

Predictably, these are the more expensive places to eat Koshary, in comparison to the other three, which although they are not the ultimate ‘street koshary,’ are still a great deal closer to the most economic version of this filling meal.

Rice is crucial in the original Koshary recipe, but it is dwindling away from plates as an inevitable side effect to the agricultural complications coming with the government strict regulations related to growing concerns about water availability.

Of these five, places, Hend, a small restaurant on El-Thawra Street in Heliopolis with branches across east Cairo, seems to be the one with the taste closest to the traditional recipe – especially in terms of the density, flavor and abundance of its seasoned tomato sauce.

Eshta, another east Cairo chain, comes second – but its golden fried onions, the ultimate crown of the plate, come ahead of Hend's.

Sayyed Hanafi, a chain with branches across the capital, promises a satisfactory experience in terms of quantity and price. It also has the incredible asset of being open around the clock with a delivery service.

Sayed Hanafi
Sayed Hanafi

These three, Hend, Eshta and Sayyed Hanafi, offer a decent meal – with a possible rice pudding dessert for around EGP 35.

Double the price, or a bit more, would be required for either Cairo Kitchen or Zooba – more upscale chains with more limited presence across the capital.

Cairo Kitchen has suspended its un-traditional and very good ‘brown’ version of Koshary, which used to use brown rice and macaroni. It's a pity for those who liked to stay calorie-conscious when consuming a vegetarian dish, not traditionally served to weight-watchers.

 Zooba has however stepped in with two untraditional Koshary recipes. One replaces the rice and macaroni with frik (green durum wheat) and sautéed vegetables, with caramelized onion chips and mild tomato sauce on top. In its other untraditional format, Zooba keeps the orthodox recipe adding a topping of liver or sausage.

Short link:


Ahram Online welcomes readers' comments on all issues covered by the site, along with any criticisms and/or corrections. Readers are asked to limit their feedback to a maximum of 1000 characters (roughly 200 words). All comments/criticisms will, however, be subject to the following code
  • We will not publish comments which contain rude or abusive language, libelous statements, slander and personal attacks against any person/s.
  • We will not publish comments which contain racist remarks or any kind of racial or religious incitement against any group of people, in Egypt or outside it.
  • We welcome criticism of our reports and articles but we will not publish personal attacks, slander or fabrications directed against our reporters and contributing writers.
  • We reserve the right to correct, when at all possible, obvious errors in spelling and grammar. However, due to time and staffing constraints such corrections will not be made across the board or on a regular basis.

© 2010 Ahram Online.