For World Vegan Month, The Vegan Review is sharing the stories of vegans from 30 countries around the world. Here’s one from Egypt.
Fayza Ahmad, 21, is a student from Cairo, Egypt.
She went vegan aged 17. She says ‘vegan’ in Egypt’s local language is ‘Nabati’.
Why did you go vegan?
I went vegan for health benefits and whatnot. But shortly after, I became vegan for ethical reasons. The animals and Mother Earth.
What was the biggest challenge when you transitioned?
The biggest challenge was the lack of support maybe. There weren’t that many vegan products in Egypt, but it wasn’t really that challenging.
What was the reaction of your loved ones when you went plant-based? How did they adapt?
My family was confused, in the sense that they didn’t really understand it. They didn’t need to adapt though, as I was in charge of the cooking.
Who are your influences?
Mostly foreign YouTubers. I love Caitlin Shoemaker, Lauren Toyota, and Sarah from Sarah’s Vegan Kitchen.
Read out interview with hot for food’s Lauren Toyota.
What’s your favourite thing to cook now? Have you tried to veganise a local traditional dish?
My favourite thing to cook is probably any tofu dish. I love it so much.
My favourite veganised local dish is makroona béchamel (similar to the Greek macaroni béchamel).
What vegan product do you wish your country had available?
I wish Egypt had affordable vegan meat substitutes. For now, I’ll stick to tofu, tempeh and the lovely textured vegetable protein (TVP).
How accessible and affordable are vegan products in your country?
I’d say to eat whole foods is pretty affordable. Even tofu, tempeh and TVP are really cheap.
What’s your favourite spot for vegan food in your city?
It’s hard to choose one spot. Chickinn has a lovely vegan menu, Dragon House has tasty tofu dishes and Bistro has nice Italian-American dishes.
What is the one city you’d like to visit as a vegan?
London. So many vegan options that seem too delicious to miss out on.
Check out our Ultimate Guide to vegan burgers in London.
What’s the biggest roadblock to veganism in your country?
It’s how expensive some vegan things are in Egypt. Like plant milks, dairy-free cheeses and such.