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Monday, 25 January 2021

Tabali: Traditional Egyptian street food

For the last days of Ramadan and after the end of the month-long Muslim fast, Tabali is a destination to consider

Dina Ezzat , Wednesday 29 May 2019
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With the appetite for big homemade Ramadan feasts declining towards the end of the Muslim holy month, many may consider a less traditional iftar or sohour.

With a menu mostly based on traditional street food – in addition to some popular Egyptian dishes – Tabali is a worthwhile destination.

Like many other restaurants during Ramadan, Tabali is open only for iftar and sohour – with set menus for food and open menus for drinks.

The concept of the iftar menu aims to lure the diner into having a several-course meal that so filling that one can easily drop sohour.

The three available soups, chicken or mushroom creamy soup and the traditional vermicelli chicken soup, are also good. Equally decent are the salads and pickles that typically blend in with the Egyptian and Lebanese cuisines, at times with a bit of an identity crisis.

It is the starters of Tabali that are really worth dipping in, with stuffed vine leaves, traditional Egyptian sausages – these are by far Tabali’s best option for spices – and samabousaks with cheese or minced meat fillings.

Also on the starters menu are satisfactory portions of minced meat-filled roukak.

These three courses, along with the very nice baladi bread that is offered along with the starters, salads, diverse drinks and juices, could well do for someone who is quite hungry.

However, there is more to come from Tabali’s main dishes and desserts.

The main dishes are essentially either oven baked or sandwiches.

The chicken béchamel macaroni is clearly on high demand and so are the hawawshi, sausage and sliced and spicy liver sandwiches, which are served with fries.

For those who are looking for a regular main dish, Tabali offers a selection of grilled chicken served with either rice or French fries.

For dessert, Tabali’s oum ali is not as good as the sweet rice pudding.

And because Tabali is essentially about upgraded street food, its chefs have much to show off for the Sohour table – with a wide range of fried eggs, French fries and tamia – for those who can stomach deep fried food for a very late evening meal.

Those who wish to escape the fries have a very wide variety of foul, cheese, green salads and fresh fruit juices.

Beyond the holy month and after the Eid, Tabali still has endless and quite delicious varieties of fried, pickled and spicy dishes with the Alexandrian style spicy falafel, the fried potatoes and pickled aubergine mix and the fried roumi (Turkish) cheese sandwiches of diverse sizes/dishes. And last but absolutely not least is the koshary, which is served in the traditional popular vegan recipe or with sliced spicy liver or sausages on top.

Tabali has branches in Heliopolis, Tagammu and Zamalek.

The prices on the menu suggest that two people can do a nice sohour for around EGP 300, a little more for iftar and a little less for a brunch or lunch after Ramadan.

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