Ah, Egypt. I’d wanted to visit ever since I was a little kid and saw all those documentaries on tv. I had to go see King Tut, the pyramids, the mummies…The stuff that entertains young kids. Simply put, I just never grew out of it. And I’m glad I didn’t, because Egypt was an amazing place!
I flew to Cairo via Singapore on Singapore Airlines. While the flight from Singapore to Cairo was problematic for a variety of reasons (delays, in-flight entertainment was down for the whole flight, screaming kids that could be heard from the next cabin), the food wasn’t one of them. Singapore Airlines is one of few that seems to get vegan meals right. I flew business class in this case as I had some miles to burn. Some of the food contained gluten, but I was able to eat most of what I got served. And being in business class, I could basically just ask for something and they’d do their best to try and appease me. I couldn’t eat the bread, so I asked for some rice cakes and got them. I couldn’t eat one of the sweets, so I asked for some fruit as an alternative and got given a small bowl of fruit salad. Not something that will generally occur in economy class. Or on less reputable airlines!
I have to admit I was a little surprised at how easy it was to travel in Egypt as a vegan. Admittedly a lot of the food came served with pita bread which wasn’t gluten free, but if you pulled the bread apart and just ate the filling? Easy! A lot of other vegan food items did contain wheat, but since it was always immediately obvious or my guide told me specifically what not to order, I was able to avoid them.
I ate a lot of falafels. Normally they come served in pita bread with either tzatziki or hommus. For obvious reasons I can’t eat tzatziki, but hommus is fine. So I ended up ordering falafels with a side of tabbouleh most days. I’d just take the falafel covered with hommus out of the pita bread and eat it separately with the tabbouleh. Now you might wonder how I ate tabbouleh since it traditionally contains cracked wheat (burghul). This is true even in Egypt, but there are enough places around that use alternatives such as quinoa, millet or buckwheat. My guide was able to query this with cooks or waitstaff wherever we went.
I actually liked the falafel, hommus and tabbouleh combination so much that it has now become a regular part of my diet at home! I wrap it all up in some gluten free wraps or tortillas and it is awesome!
I also ate a lot of vegetables. I didn’t find the fruit in Egypt to be particularly good, so generally tended to avoid it. Such is life?
This trip more than any other I’ve done I managed to make some life-long friends. Normally you meet a few people on your travels and then forget about each other when you get home. For some reason the people I met on this trip all kept in contact. Even now, when one of us is in the home town of one of the others, we drop in to say hi! It’s nice, because we get to reminisce about our adventures and there’s always the “hey, do you remember when…?” inside jokes that nobody else gets.
Good memories. Good times. Good food!
Believe it or not, you can get gluten free falafels pretty easily!
This is why I wanted to go to Egypt. It’s just mindblowing!