Let’s be honest – 50% of the reason I bought this was the packaging alone. Could you have passed up the font, the psychedelic flowery swirls straight out of the 60s, the little Camembert slice levitating over the apples? The other 50% has something to do with the fact that we’ve just had a lovely, generous houseguest who arrived from Paris toting several varieties of cheeses we hadn’t even thought about in months. The cheeses were promptly devoured, which means that when our guest returned to France, we were left with cravings for fromage like the stuff that had briefly graced our fridge… but weren’t exactly prepared to pay import prices at the supermarket. Oh, that elusive midrange merchandise…
So the verdict is that Mega Camembert (Made in Egypt) is worth approximately 16le, which is convenient, because that’s exactly how much it costs. It’s not amazing. The white exterior had a foamy texture, and we’ve no idea how the manufacturers managed that. It tastes like Camembert about as much as local ‘special’ cheddar tastes like cheddar. It’s an approximation. But it would be pretty good melted in an omelette, and when the imported alternatives are upwards of 40le, it’s nice to know you have options.
French Fry Schwarma
We here at al-Masri al-Yum have a well-known love for potato products in almost all of their guises, and french fries have pride of place in our list of potato-based dishes we love. For being a city with a very high rate of french fries per capita, however, Cairo is startingly bereft of outlets serving good-quality fries. Which brings us to EuroDeli.
EuroDeli is famous for at least three things: It is, along with Arabica, one of the few remaining outlets in Zamalek (and the city) that offers free wireless to its patrons; it has a decent chocolate cake, preferably a la mode; and, it serves some of the best french fries in the city. Now, their steak cut will certainly preclude them passing the lips of those who prefer their fries model-thin, and the french-fry-to-dipping-sauce ratio may be all askew (advantage french fries) and the price for an extra serving of said sauce outrageously high, but they also represent excellent value for money if one is willing to forego the extra sauce, and they do have a flavor unmatched in the annals of recent Egyptian frenchfryology.
Notes and addenda:
As with all French fries, those available at EuroDeli are a dish best served hot. As such, ordering them for delivery is best avoided.
We have heard, but cannot confirm, that Café Versailles, by the AUC Hostel, also has excellent french fries.
For those with a more internationalist perspective, MY has been regaled by correspondent TA with tales of the amazing french fry culture in Pakistan. Although she bemoans the fact that chains like One Potato Two Potato have commercialized the french fry trade and subsequently squeezed out smaller, superior producers found in places like Lahore’s Liberty Square, she still maintains that Pakistan’s french fry vendors could teach their Egyptian cousins a thing or two about the proper frying of potatoes. With that and Gamal Eddin al-Afghani in mind we call for a pan-Islamic pact of french fry friendship, so that best practices and superior frymanship reign from Parsley Island to Peshawar, Aghadir to Aceh.
Please see this old TBE post for a short discussion of Heinz ketchup in Egypt and a link to the best thing Malcolm Gladwell has ever written.
TBE and Adams Morgan go back many years, and since we’ve been reunited like Peaches & Herb, we decided to highlight a few of our favorite dishes in the neighborhood as part of our Omnibus Summer Guide #4080.
A plethora of readers have written in asking TBE for an insiders’ guide to Paris. They’ve inspired us to write this quick travel guide, as part of TBE’s “Omnibus Summer Guide #4080.”