27 May 2010

Otlob: McDonalds, KFC, Pizza Hut, and more

McDonalds, McDonalds
Kentucky Fried Chicken and a Pizza Hut 
You like it you love it
You know you really want it
(Lyrics: The Fast Food Song, Fast Food Rockers, 2003)

(Photo credit: http://otlob.com/)
Be still my beating heart for I have been introduced to the greatness that is Otlob.  Otlob is an online food ordering service similar to Dining in in the States.  It delivers 24 hours a day all over Cairo.  I was first introduced to the fantasticness the evening of my arrival.  After a night of shisha and Horreya coupled with American food deprivation we decided a late night order of McDonalds would hit the spot.  I don't eat McDonalds when stateside but I have found it tastes shockingly better in other countries.  A cheeseburger, fries, and a Kit Kat McFlurry later and I was ready to crash a happy camper.

Location: On the info-web
Price: McDonalds has no minimum charge but does add a 4.54 LE delivery fee in addition to your order.  A cheeseburger, large fries, and Kit Kat McFlurry came to 29.04 LE.  Value meals range in cost from 17 LE to 35 LE. KFC individual meals range from 6-29 LE.  Pizza Hut pizzas cost between 16-50 LE depending on topping choice and they deliver 24 hours a day within Cairo.  Al-Omda has a minimum charge of 12 LE plus a 3 LE delivery fee.  However they do deliver between the hours of 8 AM- 4 AM.  Soup, medium sandwich, and Cola Cola (Pepsi) for two was 35 LE including tip. 
Atmosphere: Hanging in pjs in the flat rather than standing in line at take away is always a relaxing choice.

There are many other options other than American or fast food to choose from on otlob.  On the homepage of the site you are instructed to choose your city/area or search by restaurant.  To avoid disappointment of choosing a restaurant that does not deliver to your area we suggest you select your neighborhood on the map or from the list.  This will take you to a page naming all of the restaurants that will deliver to you; from there you can choose the category of food you prefer.  It is quite an extensive list offering everything from burgers to sushi and TexMex to Yemeni. 

We attempted to order from Chili's one morning but they were not open until 1 pm so we resorted to KFC instead. It was a good back up plan.  The spicy chicken strips were delish and the apple pie was to die for.  I was expecting a lame flaky hot pocket-esque pie but this was so much better than anticipated.  It was covered in brown and white sugar and was more like a hot strudel than apple pie.  It's definitely worth the 7 LE.  If you like dipping sauce make sure to order extra for just 0.1 LE.  We ordered chicken strips and chicken nuggets and got just 2 packets of bbq sauce and 2 packets of ketchup.

After another evening of shisha we passed up a late night snack on the streets of Cairo for otlob and the promise of Pizza Hut.  Usually ordering pizza with other people is an ordeal for me since I do not eat pig and most toppings consist of something pork filled.  However I soon realized that an added benefit of visiting a Muslim country means no pork!  The pepperoni is beef as is the bacon.  Woot woot!  We went for the more traditional toppings of pepperoni, cheese, and mushrooms, but they also offer a vast array of choices including prawns, calamari, tuna, and hot dog to name a few.  If you're feeling adventurous and want to leave the laziness of your abode, I would recommend the Pizza Hut across from the pyramids at Giza as well.  Not only was their service and pizza excellent, and within stumbling distance after a hot trek around the site, you also get an awesome view of the Sphinx and the pyramids from your air conditioned paradise.  How many other restaurants can claim this great of a view?

Not to fear, Otlob offers many an ethnic option as well.  For dinner and a successive lunch we ordered traditional Egyptian food from Al-Omda.  The chicken and meat (beef) shawermas were tasty and very filling.  Shawermas are similar to sub sandwiches with meat slices, green peppers, parsley, and sesame paste salad.  Note: regardless of your level of hunger or lack thereof you cannot order the medium sandwiches after 4 pm.  Bonus points to Al-Omda for sending their awesome lentil soup in reusable pottery bowls.  It is quite a hearty portion but even after full I was still scraping the bottom of the bowl to get every last drop.  Among their vast array of delicacies are sections of Oriental food, pizza, Koushari, Feteer, and Al-Meshaltet.  The Al Foul Family section even gives you a choice between a french fries sandwich on french or shami bread.

And we made it full circle back to the American cuisine my final night in Cairo.  After trying all of the local cuisine I got one last taste of America before heading back to East Africa where they have no fast food or late night grub.  Chili's was the order of the day.  It's a bit pricey but I have yet to see a turkey sandwich on any menu in Nairobi so I am not complaining.  I also have it on good authority that the burger bites were delightful and actual slider size, not miniature versions.  Update: I'm not saying it was the turkey sandwich, but just hours after eating my last American meal for awhile I got deathly ill on my flights back to Nairobi.  Just a word of caution when ordering Chili's, choose something very well cooked, just in case.  

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