“Egyptian food is underserved locally and almost nonexistent globally. There is no difference in quality, in my opinion, between Egyptian food and Lebanese, Turkish, Persian, or even Syrian, yet the latter are all well known and widespread internationally while Egyptian food is comparatively non-existent. I think that a trend of Egyptian food concepts will continue to grow to fill in this gap over the coming years which will bring and spread with it a small slice of Egyptian culture wherever it goes,” explains Chris Khalifa one of the co-founders of Zooba, an upbeat eatery in the heart of Cairo’s Zamalek neighborhood.

Here, behind Zooba’s distinguishable electric blue doors, founders Chris Khalifa and Moustafa El Refaie pay homage to the resourcefulness and creativity of Egyptians by combining market-fresh ingredients, classical recipes and an edgy twist to produce gourmet foods that hinge on nostalgia.

“We pride ourselves on continuing to push the creative boundaries of the food, the presentation and the general restaurant culture. A central theme in the identity of Zooba is to reach people, on a nostalgic level, through an eclectic rendition of vintage Egyptian street culture.” Khalifa continues, “Egypt, in my opinion, lacked homegrown restaurant concepts, with the trend over the past couple of decades leaning towards international franchises. At the same time there has been a global trend of gourmet street food concepts successfully opening up in cities, serving great food and successfully expanding. I believed that there was potential demand for an eclectic and more gourmet representation of Egyptian street food. Egyptians and foreigners who visit Egypt love this type of food and often have nowhere clean to consume it.”Grab a seat at Zooba’s long metallic communal table or grab something on the go and tuck into your favorite dishes from Koushari, Falafel and farmer’s cheese sandwiches all topped up with a special blend of spices or you’ll be given a variety of dips to choose from. You can also pick up a range of ‘baladi’ street snacks packaged neatly in plastic cups; jars of homemade pickles from artichokes to kumquats; and fresh bottled juices including mint lemonade, rosemary and strawberry and basil juice.

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