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Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Looking for Om Ali

We set out last night on a quest to find Cairo's best Om Ali.  Om Ali is a delicious dessert made from milk, cream, sugar, butter and filo dough.  It's frequently topped with nuts and raisins.  What's not to like in that combination?  A little more on its history (and a recipe) can be found here.

We had heard that Saber, a well-known dessert restaurant, had a branch on Faisal Street although we hadn't seen it in three or four trips along the street during this stay.  With typically vague Egyptian directions and the advice to "just ask anyone!" we began the search.

No one along the street seemed to recognize the name Saber (Just say "saab" and swallow most of the rest of it except a bit of the "r").  But we got several recommendations to try El Malky.  We kept looking.  Following the directions from a couple of youngsters selling all brands of cigarettes, I ended up at this "deli."

They had Om Ali and I figured it looked good enough for us to quit searching.  The price was good.  Four pounds, Egyptian, and if we bought four, the fifth was free!  I bought it.  More suggestions from the street were obtained.  No Saber, but everyone wants us to hit El Malky.  So we did.
EgyptUmAli-3 EgyptUmAli-4

El Malky is a busy spot.  Notice that the sign indicates your credit card is good here.  It should be.  The price was fourteen pounds for a piece.  And, no "five for four" deal either.  But it came in a fancy carryout box and you do get pre-packaged nuts and golden raisins.

Here are the two versions after we got them home.  El Malky's is on the right.
EgyptUmAli-6 EgyptUmAli-7

The final verdict?  Although both are delicious, we'll go with the cheap one and add our own raisins and nuts in the future.

And Saber?  It turns out that they closed the Faisal Street branch some time ago.  We'll have to wait until our next trip downtown to check it out.

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