Beef in Egypt

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Why is it so hard to find a good, locally sourced sirloin steak in Egypt? Why is the beef in Egypt so red and lacking the desired marbling of fat? Well, there are many reasons… But one of the most crucial reasons is the common taste, which comes with complete ignorance as to what makes for a quality steak… Or even what a ‘steak’ actually is!

Nothing irritates me more than asking the waiter what cut of meat they serve as their ‘steak’ and seeing a baffled look on her/his face followed by the generic answer of “It’s a steak, sir!”. So I push myself and try to elaborate by asking; “Is it a ribeye steak? A sirloin? A fillet?!”, so I see eyebrows raised even higher than before and a repeat of the generic answer once again or sometimes a much more appreciated; “I don’t know.”. Seriously, the complete absence of culinary basic education in food establishments here is simply unacceptable.

Let’s talk cattle! Locally bred cows in Egypt are not properly fed or cared for and I am not just talking about animal cruelty here, but they don’t even get the necessary diet or slaughtering technique to yield a good steak (which by the way, negates the ‘Halal’ concept anyway). If you want a guaranteed piece of quality, juicy muscle then you can only buy Australian beef from specialty stores. If you just go to any butcher or supermarket meat section, then I can only wish you the best of luck to get a one in ten chance of a satisfying piece of steak.

On a happier note, I actually found this beautiful cut of meat in my local supermarket! It was the right color, beautifully marbled and I just had to put in some extra effort to take some nice shots of this rare occasion.

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Now, I am not asking for all our local beef to be Wagyu-grade tomorrow morning, but I sincerely do not think that it is okay to accept the fact that it is a complete hit or miss endeavour. I urge all cattle farm operators, butchers and restaurants to educate themselves more about beef.

SideShot1

4 Comments Add yours

  1. Abeer says:

    Mido, I used to share your opinion about this until a few days ago, when I came across a really nice filet. My initial attempt at a filet mignon was a chewy disappointment, but by the second time I had nailed the technique and it came out perfect and incredibly juicy. Guess what, it was also Halal. So, I can’t help but look back at your condescending post and think to myself, it must be you, not the poor butcher. Please work on yourself before forming and proudly and openly putting your prejudices against Halal out there. It’s sad to see this superiority complex out there. I’ve witnessed Zabiha once and if anything, it made me think that if the heart pumps out all the blood before the animal dies, then in fact it’s going to taste and feel better. It also happened fast. Did you know that if the stun gun doesn’t work the first time, they can electrocute the cow again and again until it gives out? I have no idea where you got the idea that a yummy, halal steak is an oxymoron. You’re simply wrong. As for your anecdote, I won’t say you’re lying but that maybe it’s an isolated unfortunate incident. If you take the time to try to order a ribeye or filet mignon on a food delivery app, you won’t have any trouble. Most Egyptians I know do know what a steak is, and one even identified a cut for me before, so please, there’s no need to be rude and condescending. At the end of the day, we should praise Allah for this source of nutrition that most have limited access to.

    I hope you consider this as valuable feedback and don’t reply with emotion, if you choose to do so.

    Salam.

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    1. midoeats says:

      Hi Abeer, thank you for elaborate feedback on my blog post.
      I just think there’s a misunderstanding.. I never disputed the Halal ritual of slaughter. In fact, I was saying that the problem in Egypt is that they don’t apply it which is why a lot of the meat goes through rigor mortis and becomes inedible.
      I’m sorry to re-confirm and re-iterate that everything in Egypt is shit! And people who work in the food industry know nothing about it and they don’t exert enough effort to learn. The condescending tone is because I am frustrated with the people of my country and am trying to slap them out of their ignorance. I didn’t mean to offend you. To say that I don’t know how to cook or that I might be lying or that I am being arrogant without validation or that I need to try more butchers in Egypt before judging, is all quite judgemental of you, too.
      Thank you for trying to keep a controlled tone.. But it shows. 🙂

      Fact (for you): more than 90% of the meat slaughtered in Egypt is not Halal! Because the main pillar of Halal is not applied. The pillar of mercy towards the animal.

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  2. Lina Ayad says:

    Hi there
    I have been in egypt for just over a year now and honestly i am struggling with the meat…in every way. I can never get the cut i want nor is the taste very appealing. I found a place or two that supply australian meat…but it is very hard to always find in stock. I wokld love to know where you get your meat from….and certainly this delicious looking specimen here
    Ps i am Australian…..so i have come here quite spoiled when it comes to great meat
    Lina

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    1. midoeats says:

      Hi Lina! I’m sorry I just saw this.. Unfortunately the only place that used to supply the best Australian meat in Egypt was Gourmet. Now it’s just too expensive and they opted for US and local instead. 😦

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