News / City Life

Koshari, taamia and mahraganat: it’s the best of Egyptian London

Magda Ibrahim Egyptian London
Andy Parsons

Mummies, obelisks, ancient tablets: London has got the Egyptian artefact game covered. But as well as ancient treasures – like Cleopatra’s Needle on Victoria Embankment, the famous Rosetta Stone (which unlocked the secrets of hieroglyphics) at the British Museum or the more everyday objects in the Petrie Museum – London is also a showcase of incredible art, music and food from modern Egypt.

Cairo’s experimental sounds are reaching the UK, supported by a network of Arab art and cultural bodies, and Egypt’s (perhaps unexpectedly quirky) humour is getting an outing too with the rise of British-Egyptian comedian Omar Hamdi. Then there’s the food: discovering new dedicated restaurants and cafés is a delight shared by the 11,000-strong Egyptian community here. Seek out proper Egyptian falafel (taamia) and there will be no going back! Magda Ibrahim

Did you know? Egypt competes in the 2018 World Cup for the first time since 1990, with star player Mohamed Salah. Catch their last group-stage match on Monday June 25.

Magda's favourite Egyptian spots in London

Get on the Egyptian Cultural and Educational Bureau’s mailing list for its art, film, music and academic offerings. Recent exhibitions have included Omar El-Nagdi, ‘the Egyptian Picasso’, whose painting ‘Sarajevo’ sold in 2016 for more than $1 million.

Koshari Street

Koshari Street launched in Covent Garden and Borough Market five years ago, and now has a sit-down branch in South Kensington serving the eponymous veggie dish – a mixture of rice, macaroni and lentils with tomato sauce, chickpeas and crispy onions – as well as my personal favourite: the leafy stew molokhia.

Buy all the fresh ingredients to create your own Egyptian feast at Damas Gate supermarket on Uxbridge Road, Shepherds Bush.

Watch and smell the creation of delicious fiteer – sweet and savoury pizza-like pastries – at Ahl Cairo, just off Edgware Road. You’re guaranteed to get chatting to someone over the ful (fava beans), or basbousa (syrup-soaked semolina cake).

Catch London-based Egyptian-American comic Maria Shehata at the Top Secret Comedy Club on July 21.

Get down at the regular Hishek Bishek night to mahraganat: a genre of electronic dance music that started during the Egyptian revolution in 2011.

Chasing chickpeas? Check out our guide to the best of Lebanese London.

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