Cairo is a city of contrasts. Ancient pyramids loom over resplendent Nile villas, graying but glorious mosques, devastating shantytowns, and American fast food chains. The desert of Giza sits alongside the fertile farmland of the Nile Delta. In a city of twenty million, somehow everyone knows your name. Each day seems schizophrenic, elating, depressing, and hazy as a smoke-filled argeilah parlour. Even if you don’t love Cairo, it’s hard not to respect it.
Here are some foodie scenes from my recent journey to this fallen yet rising capital of the Arab world. Related recipes to follow soon.
Fruit seller near the American University of Cairo’s Downtown Campus
Labneh with olive oil, a favorite throughout the Middle East.
Pita for sale on the street near the American University of Cairo.
Oranges hang in bunches in front of a shop. In other stores, raw meat hangs on similar hooks awaiting purchase.
A delivery boy speeds away to deliver Cairene fast food. As in New York and other American cities, Cairo’s bikers weave deftly and dangerously through traffic.
Pita for sale amid the ruins.
Shawerma for sale on the street.
A hungry crowd waits to eat the shwarerma and other after-work snacks.