Vegan in Egypt

Fancy Stuff

Of course, in Egypt there are – albeit very rarely – also vegetarian or vegan declared options. These can be found in particular here:

Zamalek
Pop-Up Market in Zamalek (every Saturday and Sunday)
Pop-Up Market in Zamalek (every Saturday and Sunday)

Zamalek – the trendy district of Cairo – is especially popular with expats. Every Saturday and Sunday, the Pop-Up Market takes place at the Zamalek Market. This can be thought of as a small organic market on which there is also a completely vegan stall: Earthly Delights. The predominantly frozen products are all gluten-, soy- and sugar-free. In addition to pizza, burger patties, cashew cheese, raw cakes and truffles, there are also cashew-based coconut vanilla, chocolate, cinnamon and coffee ice creams. The creations called “KAJU” can also be found in the supermarket Sunny Market.

Vegan coffee ice cream on cashew basis of KAJU brand
Vegan coffee ice cream on cashew basis of KAJU brand
Vegan Bruger from Earthly Delights
Vegan Bruger from Earthly Delights
Pop-Up Market – Zamalek Market

Opening hours: Sat & Sun 12:00–16:00
Address: 4 Al Sheikh Al Marsafi, Omar Al Khayam, Zamalek

Sunny Market

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 07:30–00:00
Address: 9 El-Aziz Othman, Al Gabalayah, Zamalek

KAJU ice cream in the Sunny Market
KAJU ice cream in the Sunny Market

A vegan burger is also available at Butcher’s Burger. We were assured by the owner that the “veggie burger” gets by without any animal products. You get it for the equivalent of just over 2 dollars including fries. The taste was good, only the consistency of the patties could not convince us entirely.

Veggie burger at Butcher's Burger
Veggie burger at Butcher’s Burger
Butcher’s Burger

Opening hours: Sat-Wed 10:00–00:00, Thu & Fri 10:00–01:00
Address: 5 Abou El Feda, Abu Al Feda, Zamalek

Also the Cake Café is located in Zamalek and here, too, the operators know what “vegan” means. Various vegan cakes, cupcakes, cookies, “power bites” (gluten-free) and pies are offered daily. Homemade almond milk (also sugar-free if desired) is also available for the cappuccino. However, the prices are at European level. For the savory hunger, you can get different salads and wraps.

Vegan chocolate cake in the Cake Café
Vegan chocolate cake in the Cake Café
Cake Café

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 08:00–00:00
Address: 14 Al Sheikh Al Marsafi, Omar Al Khayam, Zamalek

BEANO’S
Caramel latte with cashew milk from Beano's
Caramel latte with cashew milk from Beano’s

Another coffee shop with vegan options is also – but not only – located in Zamalek. Founded in 2001, Beano’s Cafe operates 27 stores, 26 of which are scattered in Cairo and one in Alexandria. Here you can get a wide range of fancy hot and cold drinks on request with homemade almond or cashew milk. But not only that: For the equivalent of 2.50 dollars you can treat yourself to a banana oat or apple quinoa porridge for breakfast or as a small meal in between (make sure to cancel the honey).

Beano's Cafe in a shopping mall
Beano’s Cafe in a shopping mall
HARDEE’S
Veggie burger from the US fast food chain Hardee's
Veggie burger from the US fast food chain Hardee’s

Even the American fast food chain Hardee’s has a vegan burger on offer in Egypt. The 100% plant-based veggie burger is easily recognizable by its price, as it is by far the cheapest burger in the entire range: the burger itself is only 18 Egyptian pounds (about 1 dollar) and in the combo menu with large drink and fries 37 pounds (about 2 dollars). The patty consists for the most part of vegetables and tastes slightly of curry. Branches can be found in and around Cairo and Alexandria.

TBS (THE BAKERY SHOP)
Vegan croissant and donut from TBS (The Bakery Shop)
Vegan croissant and donut from TBS (The Bakery Shop)

The bakery chain TBS (The Bakery Shop) offers, according to the orthodox fasting rules, vegan options called “seyami”. These include a donut, a croissant and a strawberry tart, which was already sold out during our visit. Unfortunately, there is no plant milk available here.

Other restaurants

In other restaurants, you should always look for the words “seyami” and “nabati” or ask if they have such food. Both can be roughly translated as “vegetable”. However, since very few Egyptians understand the concept of vegetarianism, let alone veganism, make sure they understood that you don’t want meat, fish, eggs or milk in your food. You can do this with the words “akl nabati faqat” (“only vegetable food”) or “bidun lachma/samak/bed/laban” (“without meat/fish/eggs/milk”).

Vegan pizza also labeled as "syamy" in the menu
Vegan pizza also labeled as “syamy” in the menu

We can give you a specific recommendation for the Sofra Restaurant & Café in Luxor. Admittedly, the prices are – for Egyptian standards – slightly upscale, but there you can get all sorts of vegan mezze, which all taste excellent! The lovingly and uniquely designed atmosphere on the roof terrace invites you to linger.

Vegan Mezze at the Sofra Restaurant & Café
Vegan Mezze at the Sofra Restaurant & Café
Sofra Restaurant & Café

Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11:00–23:00
Address: 90 Mohamed Farid St, Luxor

What can I get in the supermarket?

Typical arabic

As already mentioned, every supermarket has the typical Egyptian date cookies maamoul. Whether these are vegan or not, varies from manufacturer to manufacturer, so a look at the ingredients is recommended. With the brand Borio, there is a widespread Oreo cookie clone, which is also vegan. Foul as well can be bought in tins in the supermarket.

Fresh Baba Ganoush (eggplant puree) and Tahina (sesame sauce) from Carrefour for 7 Egyptian pounds each (about 39 cents)
Fresh Baba Ganoush (eggplant puree) and Tahina (sesame sauce) from Carrefour for 7 Egyptian pounds each (about 39 cents)

In large supermarkets such as Carrefour you will also find freshly packaged dips such as hummus (chickpea puree), baba ganoush (eggplant puree) and tahina (sesame sauce). Many supermarkets also carry a vegan chocolate halwa spread, like the one from El Rashidi El Mizan (costing about 1.25 dollar).

Vegan chocolate halwa spread from El Rashidi El Mizan
Vegan chocolate halwa spread from El Rashidi El Mizan

In some supermarkets you can also buy Lebanese manoushi bread. These are sour-spicy flatbreads, which were richly coated with Zatar – a mixture of thyme, sumac, roasted sesame and salt – and olive oil before baking.

Plant milk

Soy and almond milk are not easy to find and have its price: In an Abu Ashara supermarket in Hurghada, 10 ounces of soy milk from Vitasoy cost about 1.40 dollar and one quart of Silk almond milk around 6 dollars.

Silk almond milk and Vitasoy soy milk at Abu Ashara in Hurghada
Silk almond milk and Vitasoy soy milk at Abu Ashara in Hurghada

At Metro Market, Lactasoy‘s soymilk is available for 47 Egyptian pounds, or about 2.65 dollar. Of the varieties, however, only “Black Seasame” and “High Calcium” are vegan, all others contain either lactose or fish product (iiiuuurgh!), so better look closely at the allergens!

The two vegan soy milk varieties from Lactasoy
The two vegan soy milk varieties from Lactasoy

If you do not want to give up your Alpro soy milk, you’ll get it at the Alfa Market in Zamalek for 129 Egyptian pounds (the equivalent of a whopping 7 dollars). There you will generally find a lot of imported stuff.

Alpro soy milk at Alfa Market
Alpro soy milk at Alfa Market
Specials
Homemade almond milk in the Sunny Market
Homemade almond milk in the Sunny Market

A special case among the supermarkets is the already mentioned Sunny Market in Zamalek. In addition to the vegan KAJU products (see above), there are also, for example, home-made almond milk (11 ounces for 25 Egyptian pounds ≈ 1.40 dollar), and soy milk of Silk, Alpro and Lactasoy at similar prices as already mentioned. In the supermarket, you can also find some other vegan declared products, such as “energy cups” from Natural Bites.

"Energy Cups" from Natural Bites
“Energy Cups” from Natural Bites

Ron has been particularly pleased about another discovery: For the equivalent of only about 33 cents, Metro Market offers refrigerated soft drinks called Double Dare in 11-ounces glass bottles. All varieties are vegan and include flavors such as coconut, chocolate, malt caramel, watermelon and lemon-basil. Fun fact: The drink is bottled in Hamburg.

Beverage bottles of the brand Double Dare
Beverage bottles of the brand Double Dare

…and in the hotel?

Most hotels serve mostly European food. We usually spend the night either in hostels or in cheap private apartments, not infrequently we just choose the cheapest option on Booking.com (more on that soon!). Often, there is even breakfast included, especially in the hostels. The breakfast was always vegetarian, so we had to cancel only the cheese and eggs and were left with bread, jam, tea and fruit.

We also booked two snorkeling tours in Hurghada, one at the Golden Rose Hotel, one at Zak Apartements. These were around 10 dollar each and included once breakfast and lunch (tour booked through Zak apartments) and once lunch only (booked through Golden Rose Hotel). Both times it was easy for us to find vegan food in the wide buffet. The tour we booked through Zak Apartments included even a smoothie flatrate.

Strawberry and mango smoothie
Strawberry and mango smoothie

Conclusion

If you expect vegan fancy food like doner kebab, burgers and pizza with vegan cheese everywhere like in Berlin, Prague or New York, do not travel to Egypt. You can find these, if at all, only in the hipster district of Zamalek in Cairo at corresponding prices. Also, a raw and/or gluten-free diet can quickly become monotonous over a longer period in Egypt.

But for those interested in traditional vegan food, which is also spread among the locals, very easy to find and extremely cheap, this is the place. Egypt is thus definitely a recommendation for vegans even on a budget! 🙂

 

2 Replies to “Vegan in Egypt”

  1. Hi! What a tasty throwback to Egypt! Just a note from me as a vegan who’ve spent in Egypt about 2,5 years of life…shorba ads (lentil soup) isn’t always vegan as many times they cook it with broth.

  2. Marine Garden Camp in Dahab is entirely vegan, I’m the chef there.
    😁😁😁
    We’re on the Happy Cow vegan ap.
    And on Trip Advisor.

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