There’s nothing like it in the world.
On any given street corner, you can get it.
There’s nothing cheaper too.
Koshari. If you asked most Egyptians, they’d simply tell you its a local dish of pasta, rice, lentils and sauce that’s Egypt’s staple food.
But, let me give you the gastro-porn version of it.
Imagine the sexiest red you’ve ever seen… a shade that makes blood pale in comparison; a color that no lipstick has replicated, no artist has found on his palette, no tired, hung over eye has ever reproduced.
That’s just the color of the tomato sauce.
The sauce’s taste alone deserves a memoir no Geisha could ever write. The sweetness of the Egyptian tomatoes forces itself into unabated submission of crisped onions and crushed garlic, thrown against them in hot olive oil, which, having seared away every tomato’s last bits of water, leaves nothing for the tongue to taste but large pulps of succulent fruit.
Sadistic, the chili drizzled on top burns- but like a true gourmet masochist, no matter how much it makes you cry, no matter how much it hurts, you can’t get enough; the vinegar mixed in makes it sting more, but the chick peas provide nanoseconds of refuge from the pain.
The lentils slipping off their skin, coming undone with every bite, folding into the soft, starchy rice and tender Canneroni; a private menage a trois made only public by the crunch of the fried onions garnish echoing out your mouth.
Messy? Yes. The spaghetti taking on new positions with every twirl of the fork, leaving the sauce to flip it around carelessly. It’s wrong… it’s bad…
Yet, that’s what makes it so good.
Next time you’re in Egypt, when an Egyptian asks you if you know what Koshari is, you tell them…
‘Yes… BUT DO YOU?’