Thursday, June 11, 2009

I pity the fuul!

Unlike Morocco, Egypt does not seem to have a “national dish”. But, if it had to be anything, I think the winner would be fuul. Maybe its because I can make more puns with it. Maybe because it seems like it is everywhere. Maybe because no one else does it quiet like them.

Fuul. They say broad beans, but they are really talking about Hannabal Lector’s fava bean. Mashed up like refried beans. For reasons that I don’t understand they come from a huge special cooking pot that seems designed to be difficult to wash out. I am sure there are some things stirred in, I am just not clear what. A typical fuul has a little tahini on top, maybe some cumin, red pepper, lime juice, pepper, etc. Served and eaten with pita bread. Can also be shoveled into the bread for a sammie if you are in a big hurry.

There are two fuul places I would like to profile.

4 Fuuls. These guys set up their fuul cart outside my apt every morning and cater to a range of people from business men to those with a faded dirty blue collar. They dish up fuul as fast as possible and yet it seems like to get an order in you need to shout and plead. Fuul is flying, and the guys that work there seem covered in it by 9am when I show up. Brown beans drying in their hair while they work a disorganized assembly line of people stirring first one thing then another into bowls of fresh fuul. Ive always assumed that when it’s hard to even get the food, it must be good. And it is. One great part about 4 fuuls is that they lack any seating. There is one table about 2 meters long, dirty by 7am. Other seating and eating areas are rather ad hoc, and I would not advise parking your car on their corner. My favorite part is the bowl of fresh tomatoes, dill, onion, and other goodies that really freshens up the meal.

Magic Fuul. Magic because like Brigadon it appears from the mists of the Garden City. Also located within a few blocks of my apt, they roll out the car and set up sidewalk seating as the sun goes down. An excellent sit down experience, they bring several plates of side dishes to your table in addition to the main course fuul. I don’t like the fuul as much as 4 Fuuls, but fried eggplant makes pretty much any experience in life better.

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