Wednesday, 8 January 2014
Egyptian and Arabian Food in Johor Bahru at Wadi Hana Elarabi Restaurant
Head Chef Amr from Egypt
Fazaiwati, the owner of Wadi Hana Elarabi Restaurant invited me to try the Egyptian specialities at her restaurant. As I have never eaten Egyptian food nor been to Egypt before, I was excited to try the food at Wadi Hana Elarabi. It was an eye opener and I am grateful for Fazaiwati and her staff's patience and hospitality in showing me Egyptian cuisine. They are true ambassadors of Egyptian food.
Wadi Hana Elarabi is a corner unit shop lot, 3 minutes drive from Angsana Plaza along Jalan Pembangunan (off Jalan Tampoi).
Inside, there are seats and cushions on the floor which many customers find very comfortable and homely. There are also the usual tables and chairs.
Wadi Hana Elarabi also has a small private room set up like a tent which can seat up to 10 people comfortably.
Fazaiwati was an accountant with one of the Big Four before her love of Egyptian cuisine led her to open Wadi Hana Elarabi with her all-Egyptian crew.
Chef Amr from Egypt leads the kitchen at Wadi Hana Elarabi. Amr worked 7 years at Intercontinental Hotel in Cairo before coming to Johor Bahru.
I got this snap of Wadi Hana Elarabi's Sous-Chef Mahmmoud from Egypt in action frying egg plant when Faizawati let me loose in the kitchen hehe.
Karkade Egyptian hibiscus drink RM4
Once we were seated, we were served this Karkade which is a popular Egyptian drink made with hibiscus petals. It resembles a rose tea in looks and flavour. At the moment, Wadi Hana Elarabi serves this as their complimentary welcome drink.
Fattoush Salad RM6.00
We started with Fattoush Salad which is fresh vegetables and greens with lime juice and olive oil served with fried pita bread. I like the crunchy chunky cut fresh ingredients and tangy taste. Fattoush salad is refreshing and appetising.
Eating bread with hummus dip is a way of life in the Middle East. Hummus is made mainly with chickpeas, lime juice and olive oil. The hummus at Wadi Hana Elarabi has a tangy flavour from the lime juice, which is the Egyptian style.
I had this dulang (large serving tray) style serving as Faizawati wanted me to sample a few of Wadi Hana Elarabi's rice dishes in one sitting :P
Chicken Mandy Rice RM15.00
The popular Chicken Mandy Rice which is Basmati rice boiled in chicken broth and served with grilled chicken. The Egyptian version of Mandy rice differs from the other Arab versions that cook the rice using oil and juice drippings instead of chicken broth.
Orz Bel Khalta with Chicken RM12.00
Orz Bel Khalta is a traditional Egyptian staple of chicken or lamb and rice cooked with toasted nuts and soaked raisins.
Lamb Maklobah Rice RM18.00
Lamb Maklobah Rice served with slices of fried egg plant.
Fatta Rice with Lamb RM18.00
Fatta Rice with lamb and fried bread topped with a pulpy, tangy, savoury gravy (similar to spaghetti gravy).
The soup of the day was chicken and vegetable soup with lessan, which are those "seeds" in the picture. They are actually a form of pasta. Slippery and soft, lessan is quite interesting, if you had not tried it before.
The rice dishes are eaten with this pulpy spicy dip. The spicy sting is sharp but fades quickly. I like it.
Vegetable Soup RM8.00
This simple looking vegetable soup took me by surprise by it savouriness. I enjoyed it a lot.
I noticed savoury and tangy notes in most of the dishes I sampled at Wadi Hana Elarabi, and I asked Faizawati what is the source of these flavours. That was when I was shown this red-purplish sumac spice, a grounded preserved shrub used to season and flavour many Egyptian dishes.
After the hefty and rich rice dishes, it was time for dessert and coffee :D
Umm Ali RM9.00
We had Umm Ali sweet dessert, a national dish of Egypt made with bread pudding and milk topped with crushed peanuts and raisins.
Our refreshing lemon mint drink.
This is the Wadi Hana Energy Drink with is a sweet creamy concoction of milk, honey, dates, and cream sprinkled with crushed peanuts. Love it along with its million calories, more or less :P I think it's a perfect natural energy drink to start the day :D
Arabic Coffee RM4.00
As a coffee lover, I couldn't resist trying this Arabic Coffee before getting on the road. I like this Arabic coffee which has good body, robust, slightly sweet and fragrant from the spices added.
Wadi Hana Elarabi is definitely the place to go in Johor Bahru for Egyptian cuisine prepared by Egyptian chefs and served at very reasonable prices.
Restaurant name: Wadi Hana Elarabi Restaurant
Address: 1, Jalan Pembangunan (off Jalan Tampoi), Taman Desa Rahmat, Johor Bahru
Hours: 12:00 noon to 12:00 midnight (Closed Tuesday)
Date visited: 6 Jan 2014
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