Whether is Molokhiya, the mallow leaves soup once celebrated as being a pharaoh worthy dish, or the slow-cooked lamb with chocolate, one can enjoy delightful Egyptian cuisine without a fuss, in Fasahet Somaya’s minuscule eatery in Downtown Cairo.
In Egyptian culture, Fasahet is the place where the guests are received and the name of the place translated owner’s wish – “people coming here should feel as family”. And indeed, Somaya’s place is as welcoming as your aunt’s kitchen and is generating the same amount of surprise, since the menu offers something new, depending on the ingredients found available during daily morning shopping.
The only certainties while passing the blue door’s place? Good food & good mood. An international media darling, Somaya has been called “the chef feeding a revolution” by Vice, the creator of the best Molokhiya by CNN Travel and placed on the must-visit list while in Cairo, by The Independent or Liberation.
WHAT WOULD MAKE YOUR SOUL SING? WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY?
What makes my soul sing is seeing true joy in my son’s – Marawan – eyes. Add to this, waking up to a dream of my late mother, and trying out a new dish on someone and see that it made them happy.
A CHILDHOOD STORY THAT ANNOUNCED THE CREATIVE PERSON YOU ARE TODAY
Ever since I was young, I always had this really weird dream of me getting into a car without knowing how to drive, but then I find myself driving it effortlessly. And for that reason, I believe that having a will do something even if I don’t have the full knowledge of how to do it, is the first step towards my success in actually doing it.
BEST CONTEXT EVER FOR INSPIRATION WAS
The thing that inspires me the most is having someone who is eager to have me cook for them. Furthermore, having all the ingredients I need, having a clean kitchen, and the people I love around me. All that makes cook with passion.
THE PROJECT YOU LOVED MOST
The kind of meals that I love to cook the most, are unexpected or surprise meals. Especially, if it was prepared as comfort food for a sick friend, a friend who’s traveling, or someone I love.
THE PROJECT OTHERS LOVED MOST
I can’t quite tell which dish in particular people love most, because there are various dishes that are considered popular. But I think people tend to love the unorthodox dishes more, like meat with chocolate for example, maybe because it’s considered strange when compared to the traditional Egyptian food. On the other hand, a lot of people had bad experiences with typical Egyptian dishes like Kawareaa (Beef Knuckles) and spinach, but I was proudly able to turn things around for them after cooking my version of those dishes for them.
THE BEST THING ABOUT EGYPTIAN CREATIVITY IS
The intuition and the spontaneity that comes from the heart. Egyptians pour their hearts into everything they do…so, I think that is the best thing when it comes to Egyptian creativity.
BEST STATEMENT OF EGYPTIAN HUMOR
Egyptians tend to make jokes all the time even in the darkest moments, you can say that it is a basic survival skill.
BEST PLACE IN CAIRO
For me, the best place in Cairo is Downtown Cairo early in the morning or late at night. I love its beautiful wide streets and beautiful architecture.
BEST PLACE IN EGYPT
The best place in Egypt for me is the beach…any beach in Egypt.
MOST DISTURBING CLICHÉ ABOUT EGYPT, IN THE MEDIA OUTLETS OF THE WORLD IS
I think there are a lot of various cliché and stereotypes in the media outlets not only about Egypt but also about a lot of other countries. But after all, a cliché is a cliché which I find insignificant and not worth mentioning.
EGYPT SHOULD BE KNOWN FOR
Egypt should be famous for the sense of humor of its people and the blessings that we are all showered with.
YOUR VIEWS ON SPIRITUALITY
I see it as taking care of your mind, body and spirit (or soul whatever you want). All will be well if one can do this!
YOUR VIEWS ON MONEY
For me, money doesn’t have any value except that it allows me to obtain what I need to live. Personally, I am a believer that real happiness can’t be obtained through money. It’s only a means that gives a sense of safety when available.
AN INSPIRATION SOURCE YOU RECOMMEND FOR A YOUNG CREATIVE
In my opinion, the source of inspiration for any creative person in any field is being true to one’s self. A person should search inside himself to find out what he truly loves… and really wants to do. And this alone is enough to help this person deliver his message with love and creativity.
If you want to check out the lovely dishes Somaya makes and see what’s new on the menu, click here.