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.
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.