Ahmed Saeed is a small neighbourhood on the southern outskirts of Cairo. Its home to a growing Chinese population and some say its Cairo’s own fledgling Chinatown. It may be off the beaten track for tourists but if you are looking to sample authentic flavours from the east, Ahmed Saeed is certainly the place to be.
As night falls, one brightly lit corner stands out; Ma Dawude’s Chinese Muslim Restaurant.
Its small and modestly decorated but the patrons certainly don’t care. Night after night, they continue to pour in. The restaurant is popular with both Egyptian and Chinese guests, as it respectfully offers a fully halal menu; while still serving the best in Chinese food. The freshly made noodles and traditional Chinese recipes, coupled with the fast and friendly service have made this spot a firm favourite in the neighbourhood.
The owner of the restaurant Ma Dawude, is only 21 years old. He came to Egypt at the age of 18 to study. But soon decided to venture into the restaurant business for additional income. The restaurant had a slow start and faced some competition in the area – but those days seem a thing of the past. Today Ma Dawude, now fluent in arabic, commands a small team of 5 employees and genuinely delights in sharing Chinese food-culture with the people of Cairo.
Ma Dawude, like others in the Chinese community here have high hopes for what President Xi Jinping’s visit to Egypt might mean in the long run.
“China will bring more opportunities to Egypt to develop. And meanwhile Egypt will also bring opportunities to China. We will all benefit.
And for Dawude that can only be good for business.