the dish

Zooba’s Carb-Happy Koshari Sticks to Its Egyptian Roots

Egypt’s food culture may be ancient, but its national dish, koshari, claims more recent origins. The humble hodgepodge of rice, pasta, and legumes with spiced tomato sauce and fried onions is thought to have descended from Indian khichdi via British colonialism, the macaroni a likely contribution of the country’s once-sizable Italian immigrant population. With its bounty of beans and variety of starches, it’s a legit grain bowl ripe for the fast-casual treatment. London has its Koshari Street, Bay Ridge and Greenwich Village had the short-lived Kusharista, and at Nolita’s new Zooba, the first American outpost of the Cairo-based chain, koshari is a featured attraction despite New York head chef Omar Hegazi’s preopening jitters: “Will people really want to be eating a bowl filled with carbs?” Considering the dish has gone from weekend special to daily staple, it seems that they do.

Mouse over or tap the image to read more.

On the menu at Zooba; $12; 100 Kenmare St., at Cleveland Pl.; 646-328-9144

*This article appears in the January 20, 2020, issue of New York Magazine. Subscribe Now!

Zooba’s Carb-Happy Koshari Sticks to Its Egyptian Roots