Egypt launches world record bid for largest plate of koshary

Marina Barsoum , Thursday 15 Jan 2015

At Saturday's Koshary Festival a team of cooks will aim to set the record for the world's largest plate of koshary

A plate of koshary (Photo: courtesy of the Koshary Festival Facebook page)

Huge bags of rice, lentils, pasta and tomatoes are waiting to be cooked on Saturday as Egyptians look to leave their mark on this year`s Guinness Book of World Records by creating the world's biggest plate of local dish koshary.

The Koshary Festival, a one-day even being held to mark the opening of a new food-oriented social network Engezni, will see a group of chefs from local koshary chain Abu Tarek attempt to create a plate of koshary big enough to feed thousands.

"We are planning to make the world`s biggest koshary plate in history, 10 metres (32.8 ft) wide and 1.20 metres (3.9 ft) high," said event organiser Ahmed Adel, adding that the event will be at Al-Horeyya park in downtown Cairo.

Koshary is an Egyptian staple that consists of a mixture of pasta, rice, humus, lentils, onions, garlic and tomato sauce.

Around ten cooks from the Abu Tarek chain, founded in 1960, will cook 7 tonnes of koshary, aiming to get into the Guinness Book of World Records.

Tarek, the son of the owner of the restaurant, told Ahram Online that he is hopeful the event will raise the restaurant's international profile.

"This is a huge event and if we pulled out now many other koshary ventures would take this golden opportunity. Our only return in this competition is international recognition of our restaurant," he said.

Cooking will start at 1am on the eve of the festival.

"The organisers of the event have supplied us with some of the ingredients such as the pasta and the oil, and we will provide the rest," Tarek said.

"I always get excited to participate in such events because I know it will help boost tourism in our country," he added.

Event organiser Adel said the aim of the attempt was to promote "food tourism" in Egypt.

"We believe that people nowadays are more connected through food, so we think we can attract tourists to Egypt though this event," said Adel.

Adel says the world-record attempt will provide food for 14,000 people, but in order to ensure no food is wasted, any uneaten koshary will be collected by a local charity that supplies food to the needy.

"We have been sending the Guinness committee all our work through eight steps, and there will be a representative from the committee during our event for live evaluation," explained Adel.

The festival will also host many other stalls by local restaurants.

He then explained to Ahram Online that a group of ten young entrepreneur Egyptians aging between 20-28 were behind the "Engezni" application, but mainly one AUC student, Amr Ashraf, is behind the social food network.

Engezni, which will be launched on Saturday, aims to provide Egyptians with the tools to discover the best restaurants around Egypt, to order online, and to share their experience.

The Guinness Book of World Records already boasts records for the largest sandwich – 735 metres long – or the largest chocolate coin (which weighed in at 658kg). It remains to be seen if Egyptians will see their favourite food added to the list.  

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