4.303 Molokheya with Rabbit & Rice

-Cycle 4, Item 303-
4 (Mon) November 2013

Molokheya with Rabbit & Rice


at Abou el Sid (Stars Centre)

-Nasr City, Cairo-

with Kim SY, Patterson D

Day 3 (see previously 4.302 Stuffed Pigeon..).

As anticipated, another dinner at Stars Centre.

And at yet another chain Egyptian restaurant, Abou el Sid.  English menu, but no pictures.  More upscale than yesterday's venue, prices in the EGP 50-70 range.

Fortunately, one of my dining companions had lived in Cairo for a year, so he was familiar with the cuisine and helped us order.

The mall, as seen from Professor Kim's room.

Within the bubble, I get absolutely no sense of the poverty and political unrest that I've been reading about.

Incidentally, I'm getting the impression that communication won't be a huge problem here.  Unlike, say, WUHAN CHINA (see generally 4.291 A Palatial Feast for One), anyone here that I would need to communicate with, anyone who'd want to communicate with me--hotel staff, restaurant servers, store clerks--all speak English just fine, some impeccably, some only a few key words, but enough to get the point across.  What a relief.  Then again, I'm told that this is the case because of the hotel/mall environment and wouldn't necessarily hold true everywhere in the city.

Whereas the western-style eateries in the mall were packed, especially the food courts, the Egyptian restaurants were empty, same as yesterday; generally, Egyptians would rather spend their money when eating out on foreign foods and eat better local food at home for free.

Molokheya is an Egyptian soup.  Made of mallow leaves, which turn viscous/slimy when cooked (coincidentally, I had okra yesterday).  Bright green.  Herbaceous, grassy in flavor.  Though common throughout the region, it's generally considered to be the Egyptian national dish.

I didn't like it very much.  Tasted fine, but I couldn't embrace the slime--sorry.

The stuffed pigeon is the house specialty, so I was right yesterday that the dish is a classic local item.

On a positive note, I finally got to try rabbit!  It tastes like chicken--seriously.  A bit gamy, but I wouldn't have noticed if I hadn't been concentrating.

Rather than the molokheya, I preferred the tomato sauce.  Nice and tangy.  Good with the rabbit and rice.

Overall, the meal was great.

Free flatbreads (2.5)
--a standard service item, apparently.

Ta'amiya (falafel) (2.0)
--tasty but dry.

Tahini (2.5)
--good, though admittedly I have no point of comparison.

Way better in combination, as they're meant to be.

Rice pudding (3.5)
--creamy, wholesome, not too sweet; generally, I don't like desserts, but this one I could eat.

Pumpkin gratin (3.0)
--same here.

 While alcohol isn't strictly illegal in Egypt, it can apparently become the cause of controversy in public, particularly during these contentious times, like say, if an ultra-conservative were to come into a restaurant and see someone, even a foreigner, drinking beer at an adjacent table, he might be inclined to make scene; as such, the manager of the restaurant asked for my understanding and brought me a beer already poured in a non-descript glass.

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