>> The Original Hawowshi | Eat the World Los Angeles

Monday 20 December 2021

The Original Hawowshi

EGYPT ๐Ÿ‡ช๐Ÿ‡ฌ
Pop-up vending at Family Fridays at the Lakewood YMCA

COVID-19 UPDATE: This vendor is outside at events or can be ordered for pickup from his Reseda home.

๐Ÿ“Primary location is a private residence in Reseda. Can be found at various locations doing pop-up events. This was at the Lakewood YMCA's Family Fridays.

While it is possible to find Egyptian food in Anaheim's Little Arabia, it is one of the harder-to-find cuisines in Southern California, something Chef Amir is trying to remedy with his relatively new business. The Original Hawowshi has grown from being a pickup operation based from his Reseda garage into one that is finding its feet cooking its namesake street food at area vendor events and private gatherings.

The business takes it name from hawawshi, a snack found everywhere at night on the streets of any city in Egypt. It has also gained some popularity through Northern Africa and into the Levant, where regional variations have altered it in different ways. In homes and restaurants the dish is often baked in the oven, but when you find vendors on the street, it is cooked on a flattop griddle. The most popular spots will have dozens cooking simultaneously and their purveyors will put on a show to potential customers flipping the hawawshi in entertaining ways.

Six hawawshi on the griddle

Those unfamiliar with Egyptian food will call this a split pita, but the whole wheat bread is actually aish baladi, unique to Egypt and made in the chef's home. This is stuffed with local favorite Harris Ranch beef, ground and seasoned to his liking with onions, parsley, and an array of ground spices. When the final product is handed to you for $10 (below), it looks like the tastes will be simple but it eventually bursts with flavor in each bite.

If you answer "yes" to the question of whether you prefer it spicy, a few thin slices of serrano will be dropped in between the baladi and beef mix as well. A side of pickles makes a nice flavor and texture contrast to bites of the hawawshi, and his homemade tahini is the perfect creamy, sesame condiment that the hand-held dish does not really need but benefits from nonetheless.

Beef hawawshi served with pickles and tahini

If you catch the chef at his home, you can also order fateer, which he makes in a pizza oven. This flaky pastry shows off a mix of cheeses and fits nicely in a small pizza box when served. Sometimes you can even find sweet fateer with powdered sugar and honey, one of the greatest desserts in the world.

Wherever you locate Chef Amir, make sure to catch his schedule on Instagram. When this was picked up at a recent event at the Lakewood YMCA, he said he will soon be bringing the pizza oven with him to events so that he can offer fateer as well.


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