Sunday, April 8, 2012

Buying American in Egypt




Last night I was an American in Giza.  It's my Spring Break from school and I'm not going anywhere since the country is fine...until it's not (and when it's not then it's very sudden and severe).  So, to cure my I-can't-go-anywhere blues, I went in search of America in Egypt.

I went first to Hardee's in Giza at Al-Haram and Arish.  We could have gone to McDonald's, KFC, Pizza Hut, or Domino's since they're all right there.  Cook Door is too but, though it sounds American, I've never seen one in America.

Hardee's was really a different experience from before the Revolution.  I guess we hadn't been there in a while.  Before it was wall to wall people and birthday parties (with costume characters and loud music).  Last night?  I think there was an echo. 

The biggest problem with Hardee's, however, is that my husband can't say it without laughing.  There's a rude way to say "rear end" in Arabic which my husband finds remarkably simmilar to the restaurant's name.  Sigh...

I ordered a Frisco burger for me, a cheeseburger for the kid and a chicken fillet for the hub.  We got the regular fries, the curly fries and the smallest amount of onion rings I've ever seen in a basket.  We drank one large 7-Up and one small.  Then, we topped off our experience with one chocolate milkshake and two hazelnut milkshakes.  Price?  125 LE. 

At my favorite local restaurant, Andrea's, we could have had a table of starters (kofta, cheese samosas, stuffed grape leaves, white beans, tahina, baba ganoush, pickles), bread freshly baked in a clay oven and a whole roasted chicken for the same price.

Choices!

This might have been my farewell-to-fast-food meal.  It was a flirtacious effort and, though I can make believe that I can live like an American here, I really can't. 

Besides, my Mr. Boo was so thirsty and sweaty after eating the food.  It was almost scary how the hidden salt levels in the meal affected him. 

After our meal, I wasn't done with buying American.  We went around the corner to Metro Market which is upscale in that it's clean, well-lit, you can pick items up off the shelves and you can see foreign products.  I don't really want to tell you how much we spent because it's obscene.  Really.  Like, a gross sum of money for me to buy things that I'll eat to remember life before (and to share with a husband who's never tasted them before).

It is possible to buy American in Egypt.  Some things are really easy to find and you'll see them everywhere; you don't have to go to a speciality store.  Some things are a little harder to find; you have to find the right place which stocks them.  Some things (no matter how you try) are impossible to find; or at least impossible for me.

In the interest of public service, I will provide you with a list of

American Products in Egypt

Candy

Easy to Find
         
           Cadbury (British but known in America)
           Kit-Kat Bar
           Mentos
           Twix

Hard to Find

         Extra Gum
         Jelly Bellies
         M&Ms
         Snickers
         Trident Gum  

Cheese

Easy to Find
   
          Laughing Cow "La Vache Quirit"

Hard to Find

          Cheddar (not processed)
           Edam

           Gouda
           Mozerella

Drinks

Easy to Find

          7-Up (which gets called "Seven")
         Coca Cola
          Fanta
          Lipton Tea (lose leaf)
          Nesquik in box   16.95
          Tang (orange, apple, mango) 30g packet   1.50 LE
          Pepsi
        

Hard to Find

         100% Juice in boxes
         Alcohol
         Cranberry Juice
         Sprite

Impossible to Find

          Gingerale
          Rootbeer
          Sports Drinks

Fruit

In season

Easy to Find

        Apples
        Bananas
        Cantaloupe
        Dates
        Guava
        Oranges
        Magoes
        Strawberries
        Tangerines
        Watermelon
       
Hard to Find
         
          Avocado
          Grapefruit
          Kiwi
          Pineapple

Impossible to Find

          Fresh blueberries, raspberries or cranberries

Health Care Products

Easy to Find

          Always
         Johnson & Johnson's Baby Powder
         Vaseline

Hard to Find

          Tampax


Noodles


Easy to Find
 
          Macaroni Noodles
          Spaghetti Noodles
          Ramen  "Indome"   1.25 LE

Hard to Find

          Lasagne Noodles
          Mac n Cheese in a box



Sauces

Easy to Find
          Heinz Ketchup
          Heinz Mustard   5 LE
          Knorr Sauce Packets

Hard to Find

           Mexican Salsa

Shampoo

Shampoos might not be stocked at a small market but rather at the pharmacy.
Easy to Find

          Head & Shoulders
          Herbal Essence
          Johnson's & Johnson's Baby Shampoo
          Pantene

Snacks

Easy to Find

          Peanuts (fresh-roasted)
          Popcorn
          Potato Chips
          Roasted Seeds

Harder to Find

          Almonds (raw)
          Bugles "Conos"   2 LE medium bag
          Doritos    2 LE small bag
          Pretzels (found at some bakeries but not local groceries)
          Pringles   8 LE small can 15 LE large can

Spreads

Easy to Find

          Jams (apricot, fig, strawberry)
          Nutella

Harder to Find

          Grape Jelly
          Peanut Butter   9 LE
          Raspberry Jam

Vegetables

In season


Easy to Find

          Artichokes
          Cabbage
          Carrots
          Cauliflower
          Cucumbers
          Eggplant
          Green Beans
          Lettuce
          Onions
          Peas
          Potatoes
          Spinach
          Sweet Potatoes
          Tomatoes

Hard to Find

          Broccoli
          Jicima
          Pumpkin
          Waterchestnuts

5 comments:

Mona Z said...

I guess I should consider us lucky. We have all the harder to find items here in most supermarkets, except for the fresh berries and Grape Jelly.

Yosra said...

Asalamu Alaykom Mona,

I had to check your blog to remember where you were. HURGHADA! Ya, totally easy to find everything there, I'm sure. It's all about catering to the foreigners, isn't it?

You look great, by the way, in that last pic on your balcony, mashahallah. Loved the sun on your face :)

Keep smiling!

Mona Z said...

Oh stop it! Lol, I guess yea it's all about the tourists, but alhamdulillah

@pril said...

As Salaamu Alaike Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuh.

I am visiting Saudi for a few months and have found that this list you created is even true here. My twin is always talking about things that are easy to find and things that are hard to find.

@pril

Yosra said...

Wa Alaykom Asalam @pril,

Thanks for giving more info.

How fun that you get to visit Saudi. I bet it's a nice place to visit (but you wouldn't want to live there).

Maybe the product list is something throughout the Middle East.

Wishing you an enjoyable journey and a safe return. Wave when you pass over Egypt!