If you’ve been around me long enough, you probably have come to realize that I spend a lot of time thinking about grilled chicken. I don’t really know why. Perhaps its memories of humid Maryland summer’s spent by the grill; perhaps its the divergent ways grilled chicken can go very right (crisp skin, succulent meat) or very wrong (a soggy mess).

The divergence, I eventually discovered, is as true in Sanaa as it is in suburban Baltimore. And its fed a continuing, low key obsession with madhbi, Yemen’s finest flame-grilled chicken.

This latest trip to Cairo took me to al-Sada restaurant, which has quickly emerged as a favorite among my Yemeni friends. The owners hail, as the name would suggest from al-Sada in Ibb, but a big focus of the menu is madhbi and mandi, both of which originally hail from Hadramawt.

I had heard the meat was excellent but, nonetheless, my friends and I opted for chicken (for whatever reason, my friend Hamza almost invariably opts for chicken over meat). It didnt disappoint. The chicken mandi was slow-cooked with precision, its skin smooth but — unlike many a chicken mandi — anything but slimy. The skin of the madhbi, cutting a sharp contrast, was crisped to perfection, covering still-juicy, tender meat. Spicing was on point, as was the service, even though we arrived long after the lunch rush. Setting was barebones, though booths and, thus, a family section, are present in the rear of the restaurant.

Al-Sada Restaurant is located in al-Doqqi, Cairo.

Cross-posted at my website.

Writer and political analyst focusing on the Middle East with an emphasis on Yemen and the Gulf; fellow @ECFR, @NewAmerica. @adammbaron; adammbaron.com.

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