>> Zööba | Eat the World NYC

29 September 2019



There are a lot of cultures currently offering their "street food" in New York City, but until this past Friday Egyptian was not quite one of them. You will find many Egyptians on the street serving great food at the city's halal carts, but these generalized menus do not really show the diversity of what you might find in Cairo, where Zööba started in 2012.

In its first move outside of Egypt, one of the co-owners has chosen his mother's home city as the popular chain's first stop. In a colorful, modern space the team here were all super busy on day one preparing foods for all the curious New Yorkers and homesick Egyptians who had had their way here for the opening.

If you have ever been to Cairo, you need no explanation about their most popular item ta'ameya. Often referred to as "Egyptian falafel," it is impossible to avoid but very unique because it is made with fava beans rather than chickpeas. Fava beans make each ball a bit denser and moister than your average falafel, and the taste you can judge for yourself. Each portion is fried to order and matched with various sauces and fresh greens depending on which you select.

Both the ta'ameya and the hawawshi (below) are inside of Zööba's freshly baked baladi bread. Travelers will also remember smelling this iconic bread around every corner in Cairo or Alexandria, each circular disc is made with whole wheat flour, has its top cut off after baking, and is stuffed with the contents of choice. The bread is a real treat.

Often a hawawshi is ground or minced meat combined with vegetables and spices, but here the beef is made of larger chunks which they claim are 45% vegetables. The cheese hawawshi ($8.50, above and below) adds an Egyptian roumy cheese along with arugula and tomato onion relish inside the baladi.

The bread holds up much better than your average hand held pita, making these options very good for takeaway meals during good weather. Don't worry though, there is seating inside, and once the initial crowds die down (this sandwich took about 25 minutes to obtain) the dining room should have a standard level of comfort for fast casual.

Zööba also serves a beef liver sandwich, koshari on the weekends, and a whole array of side dishes, dips, and freshly made teas and limeades. With this kind of spread available, grab a group and plan to eat at their large communal table in the back.

Zooba Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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