Koshari: Abou Tarek & Zizo @ Cairo, Egypt

March 31, 2018

One of Egypt's most popular recipes, koshari is widely considered the country's national dish - an unlikely mix of macaroni, lentils and rice, jazzed up with cumin-spiced tomato gravy, garlic vinegar and optional hot sauce, garnished with chickpeas and crispy fried onions. 

It's pretty tasty (earthy, starchy and tangy) and very hearty (so much carbs!); Cairo's top spot for koshari might be Abou Tarek, a sprawling, four-storey space packed with customers, eating alongside smiling portraits of the restaurant's eponymous founder. It's worth reiterating that portions are more than princely - even the smallest serving of koshari here might suffice for two persons.

If you prefer not to wait for a table, particularly at peak hours, plenty of other places in the city offer a bowl of koshari. Zizo is a clean, contemporary cafe that does a decent version; its shatta sauce is fairly fiery too, even for chilli-loving Malaysians.