CAIRO: Visiting any country cannot be a complete experience without tasting its local cuisine; so, here's a glimpse of Egypt's Koshari which feeds your body, and the collection of books found there which feed your mind.
A country situated on the African continent, surrounded by the occupied Gaza strip, red sea, Sudan, and Libya, Egypt seems to be ultimately underrated when one visits it for the first time. Its closest neighbors are Jordan, which sits right across the Gulf of Aqaba, and Saudi Arabia, located across the Sinai Peninsula.
Koshari is a local food most Egyptians like to indulge with several times per week for a number of reasons.
For one, it's very cheap, 25 Egyptian Pounds would get you a pretty huge Koshari bowl, which includes hummus, two types of pasta, rice, onions, lentil, topped with a tasty sauce.
The local hot sauce is known as "shatta" in Egyptian Arabic. But, make sure not to pour too much as one drop can spice up the whole meal!
Ths Koshari deli I had the chance to try was Koshari al-Tahrir, a renowned traditional gem found in a number of areas in Egypt.
The customer service, smiles, and delicious meals make you want to visit the place over and over again.
As I left the place situated in "Wist el Balad" (Downtown Cairo), I stumbled upon other Koshari delis that locals recommended as well.
"Hey, go try Abo Tarek Koshari," an old man standing on the other side of the road told me as I was asking about Koshari al-Tahrir.
Downtown Cairo is home to cafés, restaurants, and book stands, all lined up along the main avenue.
Visitors from different aspects of society choose their preferred books as sellers assist them throughout the whole process.
"The Bamboo Stalk" by Saoud al-Sannousi was one of the books that stood out. As I told the bookseller that I've read it in English he responded: "But why don't you read books that are originally written in Arabic in their original language?"
Koshari and books; the odd yet enriching pair that filled my first day in Egypt.
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