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  • Writer's pictureThe Linguistic Foodie

El Basha Mediterranean Eatery مطعم الباشا البحر المتوسط: Egyptian Flavors of Rochester

El Basha Mediterranean Eatery is located in the village of Victor. The restaurant offers all the delectable flavors that Egypt has to offer. The exterior of the restaurant is cute and quaint--a small red painted house transitioned into a restaurant. The interior has touches of Egypt throughout including pyramid souvenirs at the ordering desk and a sign depicting "Ramadan Kareem رمضان كريم" for the holy month of Ramadan.


As expected, the woman serving the food was very friendly and social, making sure to make conversation with every customer. You can tell she really enjoys what she does. Egyptians are some of the friendliest and most social people I have ever met.


I recently went to Egypt where I fell in love with everything Egyptian, especially Egyptian food. After a while back home, a began to miss Egyptian street food so I was eager to give El Basha a try. Because I have been so exposed to Egyptian food, I know exactly what to compare El Basha to. I'd like to say I am an expert in Egyptian food now!


The falafel

I decided to order the falafel (called taameya الطعمية in Egypt) and the foul as an appetizer. The falafel were delicious--crispy on the outside and soft on the inside served with Tahina طحينة on the side. In most places, falafel is made with chickpeas but interestingly in Egypt, falafel or taameya is actually made with fava beans. We had falafel in almost every meal in Egypt and it was one of our favorite things to eat. The falafel that we had in Egypt had a green color to it and was flatter, but at El Basha they were more like other falafels (rounder and regular chickpea color). The foul was also rich and flavorful. Foul is a stew of fava beans and oil, commonly eaten for breakfast in Egypt. The foul at El Basha had a red color whereas the foul in Egypt was more brown and had more spices mixed together. The foul at El Basha almost reminded me of Rajma राजमा, an Indian curry made with kidney beans. While it was a little different than traditional, the foul at El Basha was still tasty.


The koshary

Next, I decided to have the koshary plate for my main meal. I had never even heard of Koshary before going to Egypt but now I am in love with it. It is made with a mix of macaroni, fried onions, noodles, tomato sauce, vinegar, rice, and lentils. While the combination might sound odd, trust me it is delicious. If you want to learn more about koshary--see my post that focuses just on koshary here: https://www.thelinguisticfoodie.com/post/koshary-%D9%83%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%8A-an-egyptian-staple-worth-trying.

I was a little bit disappointed because the koshary at El Basha was lacking the fried onions and the noodles. Nonetheless, I gobbled the whole thing up and it brought me back to my trip to Cairo. I do think that the koshary could have used an extra ounce of flavor, though. I think that it is hard for me to judge it because I had the best koshary in the whole world in Egypt already and nothing can beat that! I found that El Basha has so many vegetarian options. While many other middle eastern and Arab cuisines are just all meat, Egyptian food always had vegetarian options for me.

My full plate of food with foul, falafel, tahina, pita, koshary, and salad

El Basha can also expose us to some of Egyptian Arabic--in my biased opinion, the best dialect of Arabic. Arabic is such a beautiful language and a useful one too--as it is the 5th most spoken language in the world. However, Arabic is spoken so differently in various Arab countries which is why an Iraqi can barely understand a Moroccan. Because the Nile has remained self-contained, Egyptian Arabic has been able to evolve into a dialect unlike any other.


Although 93% of Egypt speaks Arabic, there are also many other languages that Egypt is home to. One such language is the Nubian language, the language of the Nubian people of southern Egypt and northern Sudan (these people are ethnically African rather than Arab). The Nubian language has survived since ancient times 300 years ago unlike the Egyptian language the Ancient Egyptians used to speak. Speaking of Ancient Egyptian, Egypt is home to the greatest finding in Linguistics of the past centuries. The uncovering of the Rosetta stone has allowed linguists to translate hieroglyphs using the help of Greek, which has given us information on the fascinating lives and traditions of Ancient Egyptians.


El Basha was a great restaurant with exceptional service and food. I definitely think that this place deserves more service and I am also think that the US doesn't have enough Egyptian restaurants. With more than 100 million people in Egypt, you'd think that Egypt would share more of its delicious cuisine with us! So the next time you can't decide on a restaurant, I strongly recommend you go to El Basha Mediterranean Eatery with your friends and family to try some amazing Egyptian cuisine!

مع السلامة (Arabic reads from right to left)

-The Linguistic Foodie :)


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