Friday, February 11, 2011


I am going to call it: S. Farhan Mustafa's "Koshary: Feeding a Revolution in Cairo" for Serious Eats is and should be among the best food writing pieces this year.  And it's only February.

Mustafa is amongst those covering the Egyptian protests, and took a short article on koshary, a national dish in Egypt, and turned it into an insightful glimpse of the tension and uneasiness in Cairo this week, and how people turn to small comforts even in this time of uncertainty.

Koshary sounds like its variations are infinite, but with a few constants: pasta, brown lentils, fried onions, shatta (a tomato-chili sauce) and vinegar. Before the protests, koshary vendors were plentiful, but it sounds like they've since scattered. Mustafa, aided with an interpreter, searches the city for a bite:
We soldiered down the empty streets (i.e. barely-a-soul-was-stirring empty). Cairo residents say the streets have never been this barren in their lifetime. In a city of 7 million plus, facing unemployment rates from 30% to 70%, thousands are always loitering outside. Gridlock usually provides a constant buzz of horns and curses. On the way into Cairo, our cab driver expressed his utter disbelief - and based on his driving, utter bliss - that he was able to drive above 20 mph for the first time in memory.

A few pockets of people milled about on the sidewalks even with a government-imposed curfew - smoking, joking around, looking to score a passionate debate. For many, an empty avenue in downtown Cairo signals an end to their world. Yet for the vast majority of the angered masses, it is a welcome apocalypse.
Please read the rest of the article here.


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