high-carb comfort food
, consisting of noodles
, garbanzo beans
, and rice
, topped with fried onions
and tomato sauce
. The sauce is made from tomatoes
, red pepper
, and a few other tidbits.
Kushari is ultra-fast, dirt cheap, and hugely satisfying. It seems to fill about the same role in Egyptian society as pizza does in American society- somewhat lowbrow but popular with everyone. Kushari joints tend to be about like pizza-by-the-slice places in the West in that they are generally small, spare, brightly lit, and warm. Where they differ, however, is in the sound. As all the elements of kushari are prepared and kept in different pots (or vats), the sound of a bowl being served up is distinctive for the tapping sound the ladle makes on the side of each pot in turn- almost melodic.
When my wife and I were visiting the Pyramids, we were swarmed at one point by a group of schoolchildren, obviously given an assignment to find someone who spoke English and talk to them, including asking questions from a sheet of paper one of them carried. They asked us how we like the country, where we had been, what we though of the people, and whether we had tried Egyptian food. "Yes," we said, "We've had kushari." Their eyes got huge as they all started grinning and laughing and nodding approvingly- "Oh! Kushari! Good!"
Kushari- it's what's for dinner in Egypt.