|Fishing for home status!|
And then BAM! We go for the wonderfully organized Egyptian Food Festival today at the Trident Kochi and amidst all the typical Ancient Egyptian kitsch - like the giant golden pyramid in the middle of the buffet, King Tut masks pasted on every window and the brightly coloured sheeshas/hookahs, I suddenly didn't feel so Kitschy Kochi any more!!! Instead, I found myself aching for my original hometown Cairo like never before! Yes, definitely the type of yearning that brings tears to the eyes!
|Seeking out the Masri! With Mr Camel as witness!|
|Koshary-a complete meal in itself!|
|The enticing salad bar.|
|My mom with her dear old friend Tut.|
|Karan is most amused!|
|Golden Pyramid Buffet Centerpiece|
Coming back to the main course, I didn't think I would eat anything, but the Beef Kebbeh, a stewed meat dish, Chicken in Coriander Sauce with Chickpeas and Baked Fish were hard to resist. And wait, they had Egyptian style rice too, with vermicelli, and Bamia, and I can just go on and on. Frankly, by the time I got to my Bamia, I could not eat any more. I was that stuffed!
|A super special platter of Egyptian sweets,just for us!|
But how was I to leave the dessert table. Especially with the decadent semolina goodness of Basboosa looking out at me so lovingly. And whats an Egyptian meal without a final topping of Om Ali? Okay enough now Nandini. You have eaten enough for the whole week! We actually ended up packing up most of the sweets that Chef Ibrahem had so graciously given us, along with the freshly baked Aish Balady he had made for us to take home!
All in all, it was an out of the world, surreal experience. And the irony of it all was that it took place in the Trident, the new fancy name for the age old Indian hotel chain, The Oberois. Actually, not many people in India know that some of the prime Oberoi properties in the world are in Egypt, the key one being of course, the Mena House Oberoi. Located at the foot of the Great Pyramids, this erstwhile palace was where we were carted to as children on special occasions to eat Indian food. The famous Mughal Room restaurant there was a special treat for all of us.
|The Mena House Oberoi at dusk. Yes its real!|
|A thoroughly heartwarming and satisfying lunch out.|
So imagine this new scenario. Albeit a little less exotic, here we were, in great anticipation, making our way through Kochi city to Willingdon Island, passing the great Vembanad Lake and the Sanjivani hospital in which the children were born (incidentally, when Rehan was younger, he used to play a similar game of finding Sanjivani in the horizon, just like we searched out the pyramids!). But this time, with Amr Diab and Umm Kolthum playing in the background as we dug into long lost Egyptian flavours in India!!
Its been six years since I last stepped foot in Egypt. And that realization dawned on me today like a pile of bricks. How does one stay away from home that long? A trip back is long over due! Thank you to the folks at Trident for opening my eyes...and my soul.
|We ain't in Egypt any more! Why?!!!|