4.303 Molokheya with Rabbit and Rice


4 (Mon) November 2013

Molokheya with Rabbit and Rice


at Abou el Sid (Stars Centre)

-Nasr, Cairo, Egypt-

with SYK, DP

Conference in Egypt: Day 3 of 7

In Cairo.  Here to attend the 1st Expert Consultation on Public Health Law in the Eastern Mediterranean, hosted by the WHO Regional Office for the Eastern Mediterranean (EMRO).  First time in Egypt, first time in Africa.

As anticipated, another dinner in the mall.
And at yet another Egyptian chain restaurant, Abou el Sid.

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

English menu, but no pictures.
More upscale than yesterday’s venue, prices for main courses in the EGP 50-70 range – note the house specialty, which confirms my instinct yesterday to go with pigeon.

One of our dining companions, a participant in the meeting this week, had lived in Cairo for a year, so he was familiar with the cuisine and helped us order.

While Egypt is a Muslim country, alcohol is not illegal, but it can be a sensitive topic, particularly during these contentious times.  In a restaurant that’s licensed to sell alcohol, an ultra-conservative customer could object to seeing alcohol being served, even to a foreigner.  As such, the manager of the restaurant asked for my understanding and brought me a beer already poured in a nondescript glass.

Molokheya is an Egyptian dish.  Soup consisting of mallow leaves. Though common throughout the region, it’s generally considered to be the Egyptian national dish.

With respect, I didn’t like it very much.   Herbaceous, grassy in flavor.  But alas I couldn’t get past the slimy texture (coincidentally, I had okra yesterday).

On the bright side, I finally got to try rabbit!  It tastes like chicken, seriously.  A hint of gaminess, but I wouldn’t have noticed if I hadn’t been concentrating.

Flatbreads (2.5): free flatbreads are standard service in upscale restaurants, apparently.
Falafel (2.0): tasty but dry.
Tahini (2.5): good, though admittedly I have no point of comparison.

Overall, I enjoyed the meal very much, not only the food but also the conversation.

(For more details re food, see WHAT)

(For more details re venue, see WHERE IN THE WORLD)

4 thoughts on “4.303 Molokheya with Rabbit and Rice

  1. Ah, molokheya. My Egyptian friend cooked this for me for the first time not too long ago. While I appreciated the gesture, I also wasn’t a huge fan. Tasted like salty goop…he admitted to oversalting it, which overpowered any hint of herbaceousness.

    1. i love when someone cooks me something from their own culture. maybe even more than something “exotic,” i might appreciate something that i eat frequently. e.g., i have a close Korean-American friend who’s wife is Taiwanese-American, they were living then in LA, and once I was invited to their weekend family mahjong get-together, where everyone spent the day alternatively playing and cooking, so totally Joy Luck Club, and it was so awesome to see Chinese food being cooked at home. i wish i had an italian friend who lived with his italian grandmother.

      1. The best part about going to a well known university (particularly at the campus of food related fields) in a multicultural city like montreal is meeting fellow food lovers with diverse backgrounds. I have friends from different parts of Africa, from Malaysia, from Japan, Catalonia, India, Italy…cooking for each other, and cooking together is always a heartwarming and priceless experience.

      2. i went to college in both NYC and Berkeley, 2 of the most diverse cities in the world, and i regret that i didn’t take full advantage of the food opportunities; but in fairness to my younger self, i was a typical student who was satisfied with a slice of pizza or $1 Chinese takeout.

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