Thursday, August 5, 2010

Studio Misr

I thought I could impress the Egyptians with my ferocious appetite, like I did back home. I failed miserably. There was never a time when my dishes were stacked higher than the locals’ in restaurants. And no wait staff had ever stopped me from ordering more than I thought I could handle. While I struggled to finish my stuffed pigeon, others were already onto their second entrée – grilled lamb shank. When a roast chicken seemed like a challenge, our habibi at the next table had extra sides of meat cutlets and bread. It was a humbling revelation. With a loud belch, I accepted defeat.

Studio Misr was where I had my last dinner here in Cairo. And Egypt. Our order was simple – a starter of rice stuffed vine leaves with olive oil and a main of assorted grilled meats and vegetables.

Stuffed vine leaves - this came with a lemon wedge and tomato salsa, which brought a more refreshing taste and some zest to the otherwise usual rolls.

To quote my friend Toni, Egypt is about the extravagance. Quite right. Just look at our golden charcoal stove. Smoking lightly on top was a myriad of colours and aromas - a piece of culinary art it sure was. Kebab, fofta, ribs, chicken breast, shish tawouk, and served with grilled vegetables and halaby bread. Now, what did I start with?

Studio Misr
Zamalek, Cairo


An hour later, still awing at the sight of tables covered with countless dishes and Cairenes with an enviably healthy appetite, we had to drag our glutted selves back to the apartment, before leaving for the airport.

Dear old Khaleed drove me to the airport that night. Traffic could get ugly, so we left earlier. I was still as fascinated with the surrounding as the time when Khaleed fetched me from the airport.

Funny that when friends asked me about my trip to Egypt, it was not the trinity of glorious Giza pyramids or the innumerable temples of Luxor that I instantly recalled. Instead, I was reminded of the lively streets, the stuffed pigeons, the curious yet fun people and a life that is unfamiliarly similar to mine. It all added up to an unforgettable trip to a North African country that I've been wanting to visit for the longest time. So, Egypt - checked...gladly.

7 days in Egypt:

Pyramids and Mandarins
Kababgy Al Azhar Farahat
Azure, Alexandria
Nowhere and Al-Omda
Coptic Cairo
HairyBerry and The Temples of Luxor
Islamic Cairo
Fishawy's Coffeehouse @ Khan al-Khalili


J said...

Mana itu gambar of the pigeon? Sounds so good.... :D

mimid3vils said...

golden stove, luxury :P

rokh said...

i totally love your egypt series! it got me intrigued and now it is on my to-travel list :D

CUMI & CIKI said...

only 7 days?!! when i see your photos and read your lovely words.. i wish it was 7 years! great write up hairy.. i hope u travel again soon.. so more stories for ciki LOL :P

Life for Beginners said...

I've been away from your blog for too long... four posts to catch on, and to start the feast I shall begin with your final Egyptian post. :)

What can I say, bro? You made me wanna go to Cairo and the deserts too, to meet the people and taste the dishes... You shall be my Egyptian Travel Guru, ja? :D

HairyBerry said...

j, sudah posted leh...hehe. it's in my Kababgy Al Azhar Farahat post. ;D

mimi, yah lor, i was so surprised when they brought it to the table! haha.

rokh, thanks for the support! i'm sure you'll enjoy egypt. from history to food to scenery, it's fantastic in every way. ;D

cumi and ciki, you da sweet! ;D thanks so much for the support. egypt was such an inspiration. i dont mind going back there again sometime. and explore some other places that i've not had a chance to see yet. oh yes, definitely more travel stuff coming soon. ;D

kenny, i must thank you for being a reader of my usually nonesensical da bomb, bro! ;D i'll be more than willing to help you out with your itinerary. heck, i might even join you guys there! hahaha! i've yet to explore abu simbel and mount sinai!

Life for Beginners said...

Oh you serious? If yes, let's plan for it! I totally wanna go visit Egypt, Devil too. :D

HairyBerry said...

kenny, you've convinced devil to go too? cool! yupe, of course it'll be great to go again. i'd love to travel south. talk more when we meet! ;D