Thursday, April 6, 2017

FOODFIC: Please Welcome Laurence O'Bryan, Author of The Cairo Puzzle

In early February, just gone, I spent three days in Cairo researching my upcoming mystery novel, The Cairo Puzzle.  Cairo is an extraordinary city, the largest between Mexico city and India, far larger than any in Europe.

Twenty million people in the metro area makes for a dense and bustling space, filled with beeping cars at all hours of the day and night. My main reason for going there was to get inside the Great Pyramid to visit the King’s Chamber, which I succeeded in doing. To see the small, claustrophobic main passage inside the pyramid in 360VR, possibly the first such view ever, click here.

We stayed in the Rameses Hilton, a stone’s throw from the Nile and a little down the river from the Antiquities Museum, with its unmissable treasures of Tutankhamun.

The giant self-service breakfast bar at the hotel served a tasty beef bacon substitute along with an array of almost every type of breakfast food you would find in any major hotel on any continent. There were lots of Middle Eastern and Far Eastern visitors filling the restaurant from early in the morning and plenty of coffee and fresh orange juice top-ups to get us started for the day.

But my favorite food item at the hotel was the lemon drink served in the lobby bar downstairs. My wife tells me that’s because they mix a lot of sugar with the lemon juice! See what it looks like below.

Apparently, this is a traditional drink in Egypt. I loved it. The hotel served it in style too, as you can see from the pic.

For lunch, one day, an Egyptian directed us to the Abou Tarek restaurant on El-Shaikh Marouf, in the heart of the city.

The Abou Tarek restaurant is famous for one thing; Kushari. This is a mix of rice, lentils, and macaroni with optional spicy tomato sauce or garlic vinegar, with a topping of chickpeas and fried onions.

I was hungry when I arrived so I ate most of mine quickly.

It was also about seventy degrees outside in early February and after a morning visiting the pyramids a good lunch was just what I needed. The amazing thing, for me, was that this dish was all they served in the restaurant for lunch.

You could get it topped with slightly different layers, but that’s it. That’s what you get at the Abou Tarek. The other thing that was interesting was the aluminum tables and the 1950’s feel of the restaurant. We ate on the tightly packed upper floor surrounded by tables full of Egyptians.

See the lunch we received below. The metal bowls in the middle of the table are the spicy sauce.

We also visited some western style restaurants and the hotel restaurant, but the most memorable food items on our short trip were the lemon juice and the Kushari.

I love visiting the cities I feature in my novels and eating with the locals. I’ve been to London, 

Istanbul, Jerusalem, Cairo, Nuremberg and San Francisco, where my novel coming out late in 2017 is based.

I enjoyed every second of my Cairo trip, despite the traffic we had to dodge through, the sandy dust in the air and the constant beeping from the streets, which reached us even in our tenth floor hotel room.

Thanks for stopping by to share your food for thought, Laurence!

You can find Laurence here:

Laurence O’Bryan is a traditional and self-published mystery author, and the founder of the Dublin Writers Conference, which you can also attend online. See details about that here. For a 25% discount on all the options for the conference use this coupon code on checkout: shelley1

Laurence’s series of Puzzle mysteries starts in Istanbul. You can see that one on Amazon here. It was translated into 10 languages. He also founded, to help great books get discovered. 

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