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Indian Restaurants in Egypt


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Around six years back I lived in Cairo for a month and I certainly don't remember any Indian restaurant around. True, I wasn't exactly looking for them, but since Egyptian food in general is not particularly inspiring, after a point I was looking for any other type of restaurant and if there was an Indian one I didn't find it, beyond perhaps a fast food operation (a chain, I think) called Chicken Tikka that dished up erstaz tandoori chicken.

Paradoxically, Cairo is one place where you're likely to find quite a lot of people who know about Indian food and probably cook it at home. As Bhelpuri notes Oberoi's have a really big operation in Egypt - three hotels at least (including the Mena House), a couple of restaurants in Cairo and party barges on the Nile. And a lot of Indians are sent there for training, so its very likely that you'll find them cooking Indian food for themselves in some corner of the Oberoi kitchens. Mongini's, the Bombay cake and pastry chain, also have a Cairo connection - one of the brothers settled down there and opened a couple of pastry shops. It was really startling coming across such a Bombay name in the middle of Heliopolis.

Also, lots of Egyptians have worked alongside Indians in the Gulf and sharing the plight of being poor migrant workers in the rich petrostates, they often really bond with the Indians. Cairo is the only place where I found cabdrivers with a smattering of Malayalam, and at Felfela, one of the few decent Cairene restaurants, a chef took my order for shawarma sandwich, asking me if I wante ghosht (lamb) or murgi (chicken). And there's also the whole khichiri-kushari thing to prove how Indian foods can be recreated in Egypt very easily (I think this has come up on eGullet, but if anyone wants more info, John Thorne has a pretty good essay on this subject).

All this doesn't answer Rushina's question, but some inquiring around the Oberoi's kitchen should provide a solution,

Vikram

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and even though it has nothing to do with food everyone should read amitav ghosh's "in an antique land"--about contact between egypt and india, his own--during his anthropology ph.d fieldwork in the late 70s--and medieval trade. perhaps the best book he's written.

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and even though it has nothing to do with food everyone should read amitav ghosh's "in an antique land"--about contact between egypt and india, his own--during his anthropology ph.d fieldwork in the late 70s--and medieval trade. perhaps the best book he's written.

re amitav ghosh's book: ITA! :)

I did enjoy much of his later stuff,

including the wonderful Glass Palace,

but somehow Antique Land stands out.....

Milagai

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Its an amazing book - and such a rare viewpoint. I don't want to get into an orientalisation debate, but I read so many books on Egypt almost invariably written from the Western viewpoint and while many were deeply appreciative and insightful of Egypt and Egyptians, none of them managed that connection with ordinary Egyptians that Ghosh did in that book. I read it on the journey to Cairo and looking down from the plane I could see the sea and deserts that Abraham ben Yiju had travelled centuries earlier, and I was sold on Egypt well before I landed there,

Vikram

Edited by Vikram (log)
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The Oberoi group has at least two hotels in Egypt (perhaps three).

On our visit to Egypt, when we we where waiting for the Pyramids to open for visitors, we had to spend a couple of hours. We went down to the nearby Mena House Oberoi, sat in the bar, and had a few of the most amazing cocktails.

No idea about the restaurant, although I am certain it would be excellent.

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