May 11, 2023

Political events in a number of Arab countries, such as Egypt, Syria, Yemen, Libya, Iraq and Palestine, after the Arab Spring revolutions, prompted some of their citizens to seek refuge and reside in Turkey, as the number of refugees and Arab residents approached about five million, according to statements by Turkish officials, and the number of the Egyptian community reaches about thirty thousand. person, according to unofficial statistics of Egyptian NGOs in Istanbul.

The difference between Turkish and Egyptian cuisine and the increase in the number of the Egyptian community in Turkey in general and Istanbul in particular, prompted some Egyptians to open private restaurants to serve various favorite dishes of the Egyptians, as they were very popular, as they are one of the most prominent destinations for tasting popular foods that are accompanied by a flavor of homesickness.

The Egyptian pilgrim Ibrahim, owner of the “Egyptian Kitchen” restaurant for popular dishes, sums up the story of opening a restaurant in Istanbul by saying: “When we came to Istanbul, we met Egyptian expatriates longing for Egyptian food and its sweetness.”

He added that the restaurant has become a meeting place for Egyptians, where individuals come to meet their friends and co-workers, as well as eat traditional Egyptian foods such as Egyptian-style stuffed meat, and even trotters and fatteh, according to a report by the Qatari Al-Jazeera network.

Mohamed and Ibrahim are two young Egyptian expatriates who have been in Turkey for nearly six years. We met them inside the Egyptian Kitchen Restaurant, while they were having lunch, where they confirmed that they come to Egyptian restaurants because of their longing for Egyptian food, which is famous for its high flavor and alloy, as well as diversity, unlike Turkish restaurants, which they considered poor in terms of quality. Diversity.

“Egyptian food outside Egypt has a second taste, after the longing in exile. When I eat a meal of molokhia or a tagine of fatteh with trotters, it has a different taste than in Egypt as a result of the longing for my country,” Muhammad said, considering that this is the main reason for his almost weekly presence in Egyptian restaurants in Istanbul.

As for Ibrahim, he indicated that his upbringing in the countryside made him love Egyptian food that contains agricultural ghee and thick spices, stressing that the Egyptian cuisine is distinguished in its diversity and the abundance of foods served on the dining table, as he loves popular foods such as samyn, kawara, hawawshi, and other foods.

He concluded his speech by saying, “The idea of ​​going to Egyptian restaurants is that Egyptian food is not just food that satiates after hunger, but it is life. When I eat Egyptian food, I feel as if I am in my homeland, Egypt, among my family and friends.”

The Egyptian House, a name adopted by “Ali Younes” for his restaurant, which serves popular Egyptian dishes such as koshari, hawawshi, kaware’, feteer, and Alexandrian liver, stressing that when he thought of opening the restaurant, his concern was choosing the method and types of food, so he worked on serving Egyptian foods the way he was used to. Egyptian People.

Yunus pointed out that the restaurant is witnessing a great demand by the Egyptian youth in Istanbul, who are keen to eat popular Egyptian meals such as koshari, sweet and salty pies, and also offers juices that are not found in Turkish lands and are brought from Egypt, such as mangoes and guavas, due to the increasing demand for them.

Abdo Badawy, an Egyptian young man, confirmed that he accepts Egyptian restaurants because the food culture in Turkey differs from the Egyptian culture, expressing his admiration for the Egyptian breakfast, which is different from the Turkish breakfast, according to him, as there are beans, falafel, and eggplant.

Badawy explained that Egyptian restaurants are distinguished – apart from eating – by meeting friends and providing an opportunity for acquaintance between Egyptian expatriate youth, hoping to alleviate the pain of alienation in light of the difference in culture with the Turkish people and the difficulty of learning Turkish for many.

As for the university student Hassan Ali, he says, “There must be a craving for Egyptian food, especially with the atmosphere of alienation and the lack of family presence, which impedes the possibility of preparing food all the time, which prompts us to come to restaurants.” So you sit with them, which breaks the barrier of alienation among young people.”

And the matter is not limited to Egyptian restaurants only, but also applies to Syrian and Yemeni restaurants as well, which also have the largest spread in Istanbul.

Source: Turk Press

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