By Rana Khaled
“The pursuit and enjoyment of unique and memorable food and drink experiences” – that’s how many internet websites define food tourism.
It’s not a way that Egyptians typically think about eating – despite the fact that the average citizen spends roughly 47% of their monthly income on food, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
Mustafa Hamza wants to change that with a new Facebook page called “MostakshFood”, a name derived from the word “Mostakshef”, which means “the explorer”, and the word “food”.
Hamza uses the service to share his own experience with meals, prices and food quality with those who might be hesitant to try a new restaurant or cuisine. The page includes photos and videos.
“The whole thing started seven years ago when I moved from Alexandria to Cairo to pursue my university studies,” he said. “I started to depend mainly on fast food and I didn’t find a lot of information on the internet to guide me where to go.”
In his opinion, eating a good meal in a new place can improve your mood. Because most of Egyptians prefer to hang out with their friends and family members in restaurants and cafes, he thinks it’s important to help them choose the perfect place to enjoy their time.
“I noticed that all of my friends prefer to eat pizza or burger in some famous places although there are a lot of simple, unknown places that may provide a better food quality, faster service, and lower prices,” he said.
Hamza chose to use Facebook as a platform in order to make the experience interactive. People can comment, share their own experiences, and post the advantages and drawbacks of the places they visited.
“I try different restaurants in Cairo and Alexandria, I write simple description for the location and provide people with information about the different meals the place presents as well as their prices,” he said. “This encourages people to leave the places they are used to visiting and discover new places outside their residence areas searching for the good meal.”
During Ramadan, Hamza started a journey searching for the best “bean dish” for “Suhour”. Believing that even cooking beans requires a kind of art, he tried a number of restaurants before bestowing the title on “Al Krabeegy” restaurant in Sayedda Zeinab.
Despite receiving a lot of advertising offers from famous restaurants and cafes, Hamza refused to publish them on the page, believing that they will reduce the credibility of his reviews. Instead, he plans to have a partnership with a number of news sites that are interested to provide their readers with a food service.
Hamza believes that food is a way to build bridges across cultures.
“I intend to try many different Japanese, Chinese, Lebanese and Syrian restaurants that open everyday in Cairo and Alexandria,” he said. “I think this will be a useful chance for those who love to experience various cultures and enjoy different tastes.”