Apart from restaurants Cairo also has a great street food culture - partly because the population is poor. Foreigners are frequently cautioned about local food and the possible disasters that your tummy may come upon. To be fair, there is some truth to this however, this should not put you off because there is some delicious food out there!
Staring off on a stomach friendly restaurant is Cairo Kitchen (118,26 July street. Entrance on Aziz Othman, Zamalek). The food is based on Egyptian culinary traditions and includes food celebrities such as Kushari (a mix of spaghetti, lentils, spicy tomato sauce and fried onions), Fetah (a rice, bread and yoghurt dish usually served with chicken), and Molokheya (the classic dish of the region that includes rice, chicken and molokheya leaf), all of which will leave you wanting more. The restaurant is colourful and trendy, enticing you to come in and try the delicious food! And delicious it is! I am obsessed with their Rotisserie Chicken and Coriander Humus. If you can’t get enough, you can take home their fantastic cookbook “Cairo Kitchen Cookbook: Recipes from the Middle East Inspired by the Street Foods of Cairo.”
Zööba is another delicious hang-out. A friend once described it as five-star street food. Its hip, fun and has been able to maintain a traditional feel. It pays homage to great Egyptian street food, while adding a modern twist. They serve fantastically scrumptious Taamia – the Egyptian version of falafel – as well as fantastic Koshari, which also comes in whole grain version. The food is served in traditional bowls and the refreshing lemonade and tasty mango juice come in cute labelled glass bottles. Also, the décor is great with funky colours and tiles used throughout.
If you’re going to be a bit more adventurous, defy all the good advice and have real street food, I suggest trying Abou Haidar (13 Ibrahim El-Laqqany St., Roxy,Heliopolis). A friend of mine took me here, well actually he dragged me half way across town, promising this would be some of the best Shawarma in Cairo. I obliged and was not disappointed. The give away is the large crowd bustling around to get their order. I enjoyed a perfect Shawarma sandwich, totally worth the trip! Also, they make a mean mango juice!
Also try Souri (Taha Hussein, corner Ismail Mohammed) - it’s an absolute necessity on this list of amazing street food in Cairo. The best Shawarma ever! It is juicy and greasy – simply delicious! And they even have great fries. The place is always packed, so cue-up and relish the deliciousness!
For a classic among locals there is the Koshari palace - Abou Tarek. With its many floors it is famous for its Koshary and always busy and very Egyptian.
Finally, when wondering through the streets of Cairo keep your eyes peeled for the local juice bar and freshly made chips/crisps! The juice is pressed right in front of you and changes according to what is in season – simply delicious! The potato chips are thinly sliced and fried, a greasy indulgence that sometimes you simply have to enjoy!