Yesterday, we had our first serious Koshari Street event, setting up stall at the Mayor of London’s Eid Festival in Trafalgar Square. It was quite amazing. We never stopped for one minute, serving people of all ages, all nationalities, all sexes who all loved our koshari. And we loved them for wanting it. I particularly loved the two young girls in the picture above, university students who had come up to London for the festival and had stocked up on food from other stalls which they carried in blue plastic bags. I should have asked them to put the bags aside for the sake of the picture but then I wouldn’t have caught them so natural. Another one I loved was the gentleman in the picture below squeezing through the crowd anxiously carrying away his pots of koshari. I also liked his fashion sense although not as much as that of two Italian ladies who also enjoyed our Koshari. I am not sure why I didn’t take their picture. They were just as gorgeous as the two university students. But I took others, all with instagram, which I resisted for years but no longer and if you are curious to see them, you can in our facebook album!
Yesterday, my new best friend (I love making new best friends), Susan Hack, wrote up a post about our koshari meal at Abu Tareq in Cairo and other street foods I like and she rightly said that my favourite, together with koshari, is fiteer, so, I thought I would post about an amazingly good fiteer I had recently (sadly not with Susan) in Sayida Zeynab. I had seen and tasted almost eveything I wanted to in the two days I was in Cairo except for fiteer, so, I asked where was a good fatatri (fiteer maker) and was sent to one that did not look promising, dark and dingy and without any character but it was the only one and I decided to give it a try. And boy am I glad I did. Their fiteer was just perfect and even though I was going to lunch an hour later, I couldn’t resist eating far more than just the taste I had promised myself. I nearly finished the simple fiteer topped with eshta (Arabic clotted cream which in Cairo is made with buffalo milk) and honey in the top picture and had far too much of the fiteer mushaltat (several fiteers, one inside the other) in the picture below. Totally scrumptious.
Ka’keh is the quintessential Lebanese street food. Vendors have them precariously strung on various structures which they fit on their bicycles and wheel along the corniche or regular streets. No one ever makes them at home but after I recently got into a twitter conversation with a lebanese tweep about ka’keh and how we’d both love it if we could have some here, I decided to see if I could replicate them at home.
I tend to have an obsessive personality. If I like a shirt, I will buy half a dozen and not necessarily in different colours! If I enjoy a new dish, I will eat it again and again until I get bored with it. And if I want to taste something that is not so commonly available, I will think about it again and again until I find a way to try it.
Recently, I was invited to a feast in Al Ain, near Abu Dhabi. As is the custom here, I was relegated to the women’s quarters. I didn’t mind this. The host’s wife was gorgeous and totally charming; and I enjoyed talking to her about how she and her mother prepare various Emirati dishes. And when the time came for us to have lunch, I was thrilled to finally try camel meat cooked their way — as you know from a previous post, I have only had it minced and grilled on the street in Syria. Later, when all the male guests at the feast left, I joined the men of the house and as we talked about the feast, I realised that us women had been deprived of the camel hump. This was understandable. The choice cut is always served to the guest of honour and that day, this guest was sadly not me.