Restaurant Review: Foda Egyptian Sandwiches in Astoria, Queens

A school of thought on the liver argues that it should never be cooked so long that the inside loses all of its rosy pink color and turn...


A school of thought on the liver argues that it should never be cooked so long that the inside loses all of its rosy pink color and turns dull brown. This view is probably not shared by anyone who has eaten kebda Eskandarany, the beef liver sandwich that has spread from his native Alexandria to the souks, street vendors and take out all over Egypt. .

The liver is sliced ​​about as thick as a lasagna noodle before sprinkling with spices and sautéing. When it comes out of the pot, it doesn’t have a pink interior. It has no interior at all, just a front side and a back side, both coarsely covered with minced garlic, ground chili peppers, pepper and other spices under a burst of hot oil. At this point, the liver is stuffed into a slit made in a loaf of soft, pale fino, the fluffy tenderness of which falls somewhere between an Amoroso cheese steak roll and a hot dog bun.

The usual complaints about well-cooked liver are that it tastes dry and crisp. A creamy stripe of tahini takes care of the first load. As for the second, the fresh green chili peppers and everything else in the sandwich conspire to change the livery from an insult to a deep compliment. Egypt imports most of the beef liver raised in the United States, buy more than 100 million books per year. As you eat an Alexandrian liver sandwich, you begin to understand why.

More of this liver could be eaten in the United States if every American city had a Egyptian Foda sandwiches Cart. As it stands, there is only one, which settles in Astoria, Queens, every day except Wednesday. It operates just off the stretch of Steinway Street populated with hookah cafes and grocery stores.

The care taken in Foda’s liver sandwich would be evident even if you didn’t know that the owner and chef of the cart, Ahmed Foda, bakes the fino breads each morning before towing his cart to its usual location on the sidewalk. You would see it in the limes and lemons Mr. Foda keeps for squeezing the liver, and the little plastic bag of pickled vegetables, flavored with candied lemon, that he hands you to munch on.

Other things are stored in the bins and drawers of Mr. Foda’s cart. One is a slightly tart, pale green juice with chopped fragments of herbs and vegetables swirling around in it. The menu on the outside wall of the cart calls it “spicy Egyptian salad juice” or, failing that, “halal whiskey”. You’re supposed to sip it from its plastic condiment cup between bites of hawawshi, a Cairo street-life staple that’s either a toasted sandwich or a baked meat pie, depending on who makes it. .

Foda’s hawawshi can be found in the sandwich camp, surrounded by a split disc of flatbread that looks like pita until you bite into it and it turns out to have the strong, satisfying crunch of a muffin grilled english. Inside is a spicy mashed ground beef patty in the same vein as the kofta. Foda’s beef can be leaner, but extra juiciness is achieved by ordering hawawshi with grilled cheese on top. When you eat it, the halal whiskey sips work much like dill pickle on a cheeseburger, but in liquid form.

Foda is not a cart for people in a hurry to eat. Every time I go, whether there’s a line of customers or I’m the only one, Mr. Foda takes my order and tells me it will be ready in 20 minutes. “I’m very cool,” he said.

Not quite everything. Ful medames is baked in advance to give the favas time to soften and collapse into a creamy spread with a seemingly limitless ability to drink olive oil. The same goes for Foda’s tameeya mixture, made from favas but spicy like falafel. Later, while you wait, it is shaped into flat wheels and fried. It comes out of oil speckled with sesame seeds that look like nuggets on a tiny cake.

The dish that seems to take the longest to prepare, the one responsible for my 20 minute wait, is koshary, and yet I can’t imagine being in such a rush that I didn’t have time for Foda’s koshary. On a soft bed of lentils and rice are broken strands of spaghetti and short tubes of pasta, freshly boiled to keep them firm and not sticking together. On top, go chickpeas boiled with garlic and finally, a stubble of golden fried onions.

Mr. Foda supplies plastic cups of what he calls garlic sauce – garlic infused chickpea water – with a concentrated, spicy, cumin-flavored tomato sauce and a rust-colored oil. cooked with ground spices. The rest you do it yourself, adding condiments at will and mixing all the mass.

You can complement the koshary with fried liver or lean sections of slightly spicy porphyry-colored beef sausage. If you eat the whole bowl of starches and legumes on your own, there’s always a good chance you won’t be hungry for a while.

What the stars mean Due to the pandemic, restaurants are not receiving stars.

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Newsrust - US Top News: Restaurant Review: Foda Egyptian Sandwiches in Astoria, Queens
Restaurant Review: Foda Egyptian Sandwiches in Astoria, Queens
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