Monday, June 30, 2014

La Folie du Koshary is likely to be the first Egyptian restaurant in Montreal. It is tucked in the area where a large density of Chinese and Middle Eastern restaurants are located. Without any prior knowledge about this cuisine, my Egyptian friend Ahmed K. was very helpful to be my guide, providing me some insights about Egypt's food culture. We also brought our Lebanese friend, Mohammed H. for explaining the subtle differences between Middle Eastern countries. The dishes we ordered are those typically found on the streets of Egypt. Because of the abundance of high quality crops along the Nile valley, the dishes contain mainly legumes and vegetables. Many of the dishes here are vegan.

We first ordered the koshary, a dish overloaded with carbs. It consists of lentils, rice, elbow macaronis, spaghetti, chickpeas, tomato sauce and crispy brown fried onions. It comes with two condiments - a garlic-vinegar sauce and an oily hot sauce. This delicious and filling koshary dish costs only $6, and the jumbo version, $8.

We next ordered the baba ghanouj and falafels. Baba ghanouj is a purée of eggplants mixed with various seasonings. It was light and cold, we used it as a spread for the pita bread along with a piece of falafel. The falafel is larger than the Lebanese version. The outside is dark brown and, to my surprise, when Ahmed opened the first falafel, the inside is bright green. Most falafels are brown-yellow because of the chickpeas, but here it is made purely of fava beans. It has a light crunch on the outside, soft and crumbly inside.

The last dish is the hawawshy, a spiced minced meat cooked inside an Egyptian bread. It is traditionally served with cajun-spiced fries. The presence of cajun flavour is quite faint. The bread is relatively thin and nicely crisp. The meat is juicy and packed with flavours. It reminds me of rou jia mo, a minced meat sandwich originated from Shaanxi province, now widely eaten in all parts of China.

My friend Ahmed thinks the food at Koshary is good, but he says that his mother cooks better Egyptian food. Any native Egyptian will also make this claim. As a foreigner, having tried all these dishes for the first time. I highly recommend this place, especially if you are vegan. I'll definitely return to try out their other delicacies like the pâtes à la béchamel and the chicken molokhia.

Baba Ghanouj and Fava Bean Falafels
Koshary - lentils, rice, elbow macaroni, spaghetti, chickpeas, tomato sauce and fried onions
Hawawshy with Cajun Fries
La Folie du Koshary
1444 rue St-Mathieu
Montreal, QC
H3H 2H9
La Folie du Koshary on Urbanspoon


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