The exterior of Abou Tarek Koshary in downtown Cairo. It is the one and only location. The sign states "We have no other branches."
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Abou Tarek Koshari

I was really excited to try the koshari at Abou Tarek, one of the most well-known restaurants in Cairo.

The koshary dish at Abou Tarek. This is a small portion and I had a hard time finishing it.

The koshary dish at Abou Tarek. This is a small portion and I had a hard time finishing it.

Koshari (koshary / kushari) is a typical Egyptian dish. It’s very filling and is originally a peasant/lower class food. It is still very inexpensive (think $1 USD or less) with giant portions. It has rice, macaroni and vermicelli noodles as a base with cooked lentils and chickpeas on top. On top of that is a light, red sauce and fried onions. You can also add a lemon garlic sauce and/or hot sauce. I like both. And koshari is vegan so how exciting is that?

The restaurant is located in a busy area. I took this picture from the second floor looking down at the street where these men were enjoying the national pastime of people watching.

The restaurant is located in a busy area. I took this picture from the second floor looking down at the street where these men were enjoying the national pastime of people watching.

My first koshari was delivered to my house from Zooba; the restaurant also makes a whole grain version with wheat pasta and crushed wheat that I’d like to try. I’ve also had it from the local chain Koshary El Tahrir. But the one at Abou Tarek in downtown Cairo is the best because they make everything fresh, including frying the onions. The crispy onions make it magical.

Takeout from Koshary El Tahrir. This was dinner and then breakfast the next day.

Takeout from Koshary El Tahrir. This was dinner and then breakfast the next day.

I have to admit, the ingredient list of koshari doesn’t sound that impressive, but put all together, it works. I usually have pasta, lentils and red sauce at home so it’s easy to make my own quick version.

Check out the day tours by Emo Tours. Mine included the Museum of Egyptian AntiquitiesCitadel with the Mosque of Muhammad Ali, the Khan el Khalili Market and a stop at Abou Tarek Koshary.

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