Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Breakfast and Lunch in Egypt

The first leg of our Holy Land tour was in Egypt, because we were following Moses' exodus route. 

The food we had at the hotel in Cairo wasn't probably true-blue Egyptian cuisine-- it was definitely leaning toward Western palates, but as with everything, the local culture always seeps in and makes itself heard, tasted, or seen. 

For breakfast I had a plateful of scrambled eggs, chicken sausage (Egypt's a Muslim country, so there was ZERO pork to be found), grilled tomatoes, and gorgeous pan-fried mushrooms. 

I also had a bowl of Arabic yogurt, which the waiter told me is called labneh. It was really thick and beautiful and delicious and reminded me so much of the wonderful Jalna yogurt I had in Australia while I was visiting Chloe. It was so thick, it was almost cheese. Upon Googling it (just now), it turns out that labneh is actually also known as yogurt cheese. So there, it seems that I ate a whole bowl of cheese. With Coco Pops. Yikes.

I also had to try their take on typical yogurt, and grabbed this strawberry-flavored one from the buffet. Not bad! Something akin to Manila's Nestle Flavored Yogurt, but of course it was a wee bit better.

And for lunch (which we had in the same hotel), I had a mini quiche, some curried okra, a sole falafel (will explain this later), some beef stew, fish in cream sauce, and chicken biryani rice. The biryani rice was really, really, really, insanely good, and I am not even a rice person. It was just so buttery and chewy and tasty and spicy! What I loved about all the Middle Eastern food was that there were so many spices I just couldn't place. Maybe Chloe (who cooks a lot more than I do) would have had a better shot at figuring them out.

A falafel (just in case you didn't know-- I'm not undermining your smarts or anything) is, according to Wikipedia (yes, Googled it just now too) a ball or patty made from ground chickpeas or fava beans. It's also heavily spiced, and the spices vary as your location does. The falafels in Egypt tasted quite different from the falafels in Israel.

I also had a plateful of salad. They had excellent greens, very fresh. And the dressing (olive oil and lemon) was just CRAZY. They have the best salads because they have the best dressings because they have the best olive oils because they live next door to Israel. More on Israel later-- I have so, so, so much to tell you about Israel!

And my mom got some pita bread and hummus for us to share. The hummus was really excellent-- it was leagues and leagues and LEAGUES apart from the gooey thing in jars we used to buy from Healthy Options. It was really hummus-y: really fresh-tasting, and clean-tasting, and very flavorful (especially considering it was made out of chickpeas, which have like zero flavor).

And for dessert, I had, along with a cup of my favorite green tea, a few baklavas. These were the first baklavas I ate in the Middle East and they blew my mind away. It was absolutely amazing. AMAZING. Can you picture the baklava that you'd get if God made it for you? Then this is probably it. The pastry was just flaky and chewy and buttery and crispy and delicate and perfect and light, all at the same time. And the pistachios were so honeyed and sweet and fresh and crunchy and chewy and wonderful. I died. I think I had six of these. That was probably the best 1.5 pounds I've ever gained (and fully intend to lose, via fasting and exercise. You know, starting tomorrow).

Love and cheers,

PS I hope blogger won't delete this again, like it did with my other post about Good Friday, because then I might just cry.

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