Over the course of one week in 2012, Cairo’s airport officials reported foiling four attempts to illegally import bovine brains, which are worth about six times as much in Egypt as they are in Sudan. The news made headlines when smugglers were caught trying to move 420 pounds of frozen, Sudanese cow brains through the capital city’s airport. Officials seized and reportedly burned the lot.
Only a truly coveted food could inspire such bold international crime. Throughout Egypt, vendors and eateries transform cow brains into fried delicacies. Cooks slice up, bread, and deep-fry the tender meat until crispy on the outside. The insides are piping hot, custardy, and slightly squishy, but the carbohydrate casings help them maintain a cohesive shape. Often, they’re served stuffed in pita bread and doused in a healthy helping of spicy, red sauce.
Where to Try It
Samy Liver Restaurant28 El-Sayed Mohammed Karim, As Sayalah Sharq, Qesm Al Gomrok, Egypt
Try the fried brain sandwich at this Alexandria eatery.
This eclectic, BYOB joint serves fried veal brain. It's not on the menu, just ask.