I’m very thankful that we were able to visit Egypt during a more peaceful time, while locals were in ramadan and fasting for the sunlight hours. We ate a lot of homemade Egyptian food, but also ventured out into the streets of Cairo to find some vegan baked goods, ful sandwiches, kushari and Indian food. There aren’t a lot of places for vegans to eat in Cario; you really have to know where to look. We were fortunate that our hosts, Joey and Manar, were able to introduce us to places like Sugar and Spice, where we bought this box of vegan baked goods. At this little bakery and cafe in Zamalek (an island that is known to some as the Manhattan of Cairo), we picked up a mini chocolate bundt cake, rice crispy square and two mini carrot cake loafs.
Vegan Desserts in Cairo, Egypt
When I look at these pictures from Sugar and Spice, they don’t remind me of Cairo or Egypt. Run by two American expats, this bakery is one of a kind. It had a very American vibe, an all English menu, and lots of brightly coloured confections. Being there felt very comfortable and familiar. I was super excited to see vegan options identified by small ‘v’ symbols. In addition to the baked goods we tried, they also had vegan cookies, soups, salads, a roasted veggie wrap and veggie pizzas. The baked goods ranged from 10-20 Egyptian Pounds/E£ ($1.70-$2.55 USD), the soups were 12 E£ ($2.04) and the sandwiches 18 E£ ($3.06). If you’re a vegan and visiting Cairo, you have to seek out Sugar and Spice to grab a meal or snack and chill out in the upstairs lounge enjoying some free wifi. Zamalek is the only place you’ll find such a haven in Cairo.
Sugar ‘n’ Spice
6 Brazil Street
Cairo , Egypt
Tel: 27356236, 0141771033, 0113365321
Ful Sandwiches from a Local Shop
From one extreme to another….
These sandwiches, if you can call them that, are from a small shop in Zamalek. It’s too bad I don’t have a photo of the place to share with you. I don’t even have a name. The shop was essentially the exact opposite of Sugar and Spice. Run down, hole in the wall, flies buzzing around everywhere. There were a few stools to sit on while you waited, but this place was for take out. As a group of three, we bought five of these half pitas stuffed with ful (or ful mudammas), cooked and mashed fava beans, and a bag of grilled eggplant for additional substance. Enough food to feed three people for lunch: local price, about 3.00 E£ ($0.51 USD). I know the Egyptian pound is low at the moment, but I think you can get a sense of how the prices at shops catering to locals are wildly less than the prices at shop catering to tourists. But that’s true pretty much everywhere in the world. I don’t think you’d have much luck ordering at a local shop that sells ful sandwiches without knowing some Arabic. We were lucky to have Joey’s help when ordering.
Kushari, aka as koshary, kosheri or koshari, is the dish you must try if you visit Egypt. It’s basically the national dish! It consists of a base of rice, topped by layers of macaroni pasta, brown lentils and chickpeas. To this you add a garlic & vinegar dressing and a spicy tomato sauce/salsa. Delicious, crispy fried onions are sprinkled on top. The key to this dish is that every component is cooked separately and combined just before serving. It’s the farthest thing from a one pot meal.
You have to watch my video and see how all of the ingreidents are combined. These guys are pros!
As a group of four, Manar, Joey, John and I bought a “family size” tray, which you can see came with many small containers — those are filled with the garlic & vinegar dressing and tomato salsa. I think the big tray cost us about 30 E£ ($5.10) and was way more than enough food to feed the four of us.
Funny enough, after we had finished filling our bellies with this amazing chickpea-lentil-rice-pasta-onion mix, Manar’s mom called to let us know she’d made some kushari. We had the pleasure of sampling a home cooked version made with brown rice, lots of chickpeas, and onions that were lightly grilled instead of fried. It was just as good at the fast food version but tasted a bit healthier, which our already stuffed tummies appreciated. I haven’t attempted to make kushari at home yet, but it’s definitely on my list of meals I want to recreate.
Indian Food at Nawab in Cairo, Egypt
We went out for Indian food twice while in Cairo. Joey took us to Nawab, a traditional Indian restaurant that was always willing to omit ghee, butter and yogurt from their dishes to make them vegan. At Nawab we enjoyed tasty aloo gobi, dal tadka and chana masala. We also tried vegetable samosas and some battered vegetable patties. The prices for main dishes were 25-30 E£ ($4.25-5.10 USD). The samosas and other veggie appetizers cost 12-17 E£ ($2.04-2.89 USD). The food was priced for tourists and expats but still a good deal for us. This is a great place to go for dinner after a long day of sightseeing.
21 B Baghat Aly Street
Cairo , Egypt
Cairo in Photos
That’s all I have for restaurant recommendations so I’ll leave you with some photos of street vendors and other sights in Cairo.