CAIRO, Egypt, Jun 1 – Egyptian football fans readied to cheer on national hero Mohamed Salah in Sunday’s Champions League clash and tuck into food from a cart whose owner vows they’ll “never eat alone”.
A tribute to the Reds, the “Liverfuul” cart serves up hot dishes of “fuul” (fava beans) in Ain Shams, a working-class suburb of Cairo.
Mohamed Ahmed, 31, a DJ turned street food entrepreneur, came up with the idea with friend Mohamed al-Sayed before the start of Ramadan, the Muslim holy month of daytime fasting due to end next week.
The cart, which only operates between 11 pm and 3 am, is emblazoned with Sayed’s red and green design – after the Liverpool football club logo.
Liverpool’s legendary anthem has been amended on the cart to read: “You’ll never eat alone.”
“There’s no one who doesn’t love Salah. We’re avid football fans so the idea clicked one day while we were sitting around, and the response has been huge from the locals,” he told AFP.
“As Egyptians we like to get together, especially during Ramadan, and have a communal meal. So the tagline came naturally and Sayed designed it perfectly.”
Ahmed Adel, a 25-year-old engineer, spotted photos of the cart on Facebook in early May and has been a regular customer.
He is circled every time by dozens of hungry patrons in a carnival-like atmosphere of loud music and football commentary on flat screen televisions.
Named after Liverpool’s Swiss star, Shaqiri-sterma, a mix of eggs and pastrami, is his favourite. A dish named “Mo Salah” is also on the menu.
“The food is great and the atmosphere is friendly,” he said.
He anticipated a Liverpool victory in the UEFA Champions League final against fellow English club Tottenham Hotspurs and two goals for Salah, who has become a source of national pride for Egypt.
Ahmed, the food cart operator, said he was happy that his business had become a gathering point for the club’s fans in the capital Cairo.
“I’m a winner either way, it’s not just about money for me,” he said.
“The first week of business we were running at a loss, but with word of mouth and social media, it has really picked up,” Adel added.
He was counting on Liverpool being crowned European champions against first-time finalists Spurs, after a heartbreaking loss to Real Madrid in last year’s final in which Salah went off injured.