Tafweela is the brainchild of friends Haya and Mahy, who bonded over their love for their scooters and fresh, vegan food.
Foul carts are synonymous with the Egyptian street, and with Ramadan currently in full swing, foul is on everyone's minds and menus. So when two women decided to open up their own foul cart in Rehab, we had to go and check it out.
Their project, aptly named Tafweela, is a colourful little cart set up right outside Rehab's Gate 20. Run by friends Haya and Mahy, it serves sohour every night during Ramadan, with a variety of freshly-made foul, taameya, eggs, and potato sandwiches and plates, along with salads and even desserts. The duo are a match made in culinary heaven, with Haya handling the food while Mahy handles the books. Speaking to Cairo Scene, the pair told us about their experience and their mutual love for biking.
How did you two meet?
Mahy: We met on a biker Facebook group. I'd messaged the group asking about scooters because I was looking to buy one and Haya was one of only two people who got back to me. That was about a year and a half ago and we've been good friends ever since.
What gave you the idea to start this project?
Haya: I love being in the kitchen and I love food; I feel like food is something everybody can agree on. And since I’m actually a vegan, I wanted to do something that involved the food that I eat; foul, taameya, potatoes. Foods that everybody eats.
Did you view this as a business opportunity?
Mahy: Not really, no. I don’t like the corporate lifestyle so I wanted to do something that was different and out of the ordinary and this was it.
Haya: I also have a problem of not being able to eat anything that I haven’t seen prepared in front of me or that I’ve prepared myself because I'm very concerned with cleanliness. So doing this was also a way to provide people with food that I absolutely trust is clean.
How has it been being two girls running a food cart?
Haya: Well, we don’t really think about it as us being two girls. We try not to allow ourselves to bother anybody and at the same time we don’t allow anybody to bother us.
Mahy: Because we are bikers, we're not typical girly girls, so we're a bit tougher than most people. That makes us deal with things differently.
Have you had any bad experiences doing this?
Haya: Not really, I think probably the worst thing is when people judge us without even knowing what we do. We had one incident where someone made a Facebook post harshly criticising us, but they didn’t even know what we sold so their post was full of false information. That was quite strange.
That brings us to our next question then, what's the funniest incident you've had so far?
Mahy: It's not really an incident but people tend to deal with the place as if it’s a cafe and not a foul cart. We don’t have tea or coffee or shisha which people ask for and are actually disappointed when we say we don't offer these things.
Are you doing this cart specifically for Ramadan or do you plan to keep it going after Ramadan ends?
Haya: We’ve actually had the idea for a food cart since last winter but we never got around to doing it. When Ramadan started we decided 'what better time to go for it.' We do plan to continue after Ramadan but we will have a different menu!
Mahy: Because this was something entirely new for us, we didn’t really know how to go about doing it; we originally wanted to do hummus el sham and belila in the winter, but then Ramadan came around and obviously these don’t work for the month, especially since it’s in the summer. So we started thinking of what would be best for the month. We will probably go back to our original idea after Ramadan, and even add a few other things.
We've certainly enjoyed meeting and talking to Haya and Mahy, and after the delicious sohour we had at Tafweela, we'd say this place is definitely well worth a visit.
For more on Tafweela, check out their Facebook page.