When There's Money to Burn: Organic + Intolerant-Friendly Food in Cairo

When There’s Money to Burn: Organic + Intolerant-Friendly Food in Cairo

Cairo has no shortage of supermarkets, that’s a fact. However, getting organic goods you can be (relatively) sure are up to standard and that are gluten, dairy, insert-other-allergen-here free is a completely different matter.

The reason for this is not because Egyptian’s don’t have food allergies. They do, and there are plenty of lactose and gluten intolerant people around. The lack of organic goods in Egypt is often due to one of three things:

  1. Strict customs controls that prevent/make it difficult for merchants to import certain items (quinoa, dulse, or…my favourite…hemp milk);
  2. The cost of importing certain organic/biologically certified goods (controls sometimes raise the value of an item between 50 – 200%);
  3. The cost to maintain an organic farm and cultivate enough veggies/fruits/meat is high. Farmers have a better chance at generating higher profits if they can get organic certification from an international body (like the EU) and export food to international markets.

Which sucks for people in Egypt who want to have access to organic food.

organic in cairo

Though it’s nearly impossible to find some items (e.g. hemp, chia seeds, nutritional yeast and certain vitamins/minerals) it’s become increasingly common to find certified organic foodstuffs like rice cakes, millet, mustard, quinoa, gluten free flour and even various rice/soy/almond/oat and 7-grain milks. There are bio-shops and farmer’s markets popping up across the country and even some of the big supermarket chains carry organic goods from time to time.

So if you find yourself in Egypt (Cairo especially) and are in dire need of organic goodness, you can check out any of the shops listed below to see if they have what you need.

organic in cairo

Who knows? You might be in for a fantastic surprise.

Health Harvest 

Has stores in Egypt (Cairo and Alexandria) that sell macrobiotic food, and American and Japanese organic products. It is best to contact the number of the shop you want to pop into for directions on how to get there.

Bio Shop – Maadi

Organic shop that sells organic produce, food including cheeses and meat.

27, Road 231
Maadi, Cairo, Egypt

Nūn Center

Sells a host of organic food (gluten free flour, organic mustard and rice milk anyone?) and hosts a farmer’s market every Saturday from 10:00 – 14:30 for local merchants to sell their goods (including homemade olive oil, organic vegetables, sprouted breads, etc.).

4 Shafik Mansour, Floor 2
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt

Alfa Market

Alfa Market is a grocery chain with several locations across the country. While their focus isn’t organic goods, sometimes you get lucky and find organic beans, rice cakes, cereals, pastas and milk on the shelves. It’s a bit hit-or-miss though at Alfa as those gluten-free crackers you scored last week might not be there two weeks from now.

3 El Malek El Afdal St.
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt

7, El Sad El Aaly St.
Dokki, Cairo, Egypt

Gourmet Egypt

With locations across Egypt, Gourmet is a boutique concept store created by food lovers for lovers of food. While everything isn’t organic, a lot of the fruit and produce is, and the nice thing is that a good portion of it is locally produced! You can find organic cheese and chocolate at certain times of the year and the best thing about Gourmet is that they deliver. All day long. Anywhere.

3 Badr Buildings, Katameya Ring Road
Maadi, Cairo, Egypt

Dandy Mega Mall
Cairo Alex Desert Road – Egypt

3 Brazil Street
Zamalek, Cairo, Egypt

Carrefour and Metro Markets sometime also have organic (EU and American certified) goods and are worth checking out, especially for pastas, rice, crackers/cereals and sometimes chocolate as well.