Food for the health-conscious

This article is part of a series we are running ahead of the Mada Marketplace event to feature the participating vendors.

With the surge in the different fitness programs in Egypt, it was only a matter of time before a trend of healthy eateries came in tow. The challenge, however, is to find a combination that is as good to your taste buds as it is to your health.  

Last December, Ma7ali set out to bring back the concept of your friendly neighborhood deli and grocery store, offering locally produced, healthy food.

Located in Maadi, its patrons are treated to “good, clean and fair” food that’s wholesome and tasty, healthy and at reasonable prices.

“It’s good for the producer, the consumer and the planet,” co-founder Bassem Khalifa explains.

Khalifa and his team are very hands-on, making everything at Ma7ali from scratch. The mulberry jam sold at the grocery store is made from mulberries they picked themselves from neighboring trees, he says.

Other produce sold at Ma7ali is handpicked from various farmers markets as far as Siwa.

The place is set up like the familiar and traditional grocery store down the street, with the brand’s trademark old-school fruit and vegetable scale set up on the counter.

“At your old grocery store, you either go and buy pastrami or you tell the guy to make you a sandwich,” Khalifa says, “[Ma7ali] looks like a new thing, but it’s actually a pretty old idea.”

Khalifa prides the deli and grocery store for being a “demonstration of how you can get good, clean food that is completely locally sourced.”

Along with the fresh produce, the selection of jams and other groceries sold at Ma7ali, the deli offers a tasty array of duck, beef, chicken and vegetarian sandwiches.

Ma7ali also offers a creative selection of desserts, such as candied beetroot and ginger cupcakes.

Those looking for wholesome, heartier meals can turn to Fitchen, a delivery-only healthy and gourmet kitchen located in Zamalek.

Besides their breakfast menu, Fitchen offers hearty meals that include the necessary nutrients, indicating on their menu the amount of protein, calories, carbs and fat of each item for the health-conscious.

Chicken, beef or fish meals are served with carbs — rice, risotto or pasta — and one of Fitchen’s vegetable selections.

The choice of carbs can also include one of the kitchen’s potato specialties: roasted potatoes, baked sweet potatoes, spicy sweet potato fries or zucchini and potato cooked with olive oil, paprika, bell peppers and breadcrumbs.

The menu also includes fresh salads, salad wraps and a creative spicy tuna fish cake.

With the slogan “Fit people eat Fitchen,” the restaurant maintains an interactive relationship with its customers, offering various health tips and words of encouragement on its Facebook page, all the while leading an unyielding campaign against junk food.

Salad Boulevard, inspired by an “Eat better, live better” philosophy, offers what they call a guilt-free menu, serving up nutritious salads, wraps and smoothies. With the aim of proving that “healthy and nutritious can be delicious,” their selection includes fresh and natural ingredients, with a strict policy against anything fried, fatty or preserved.

Only three months old, Salad Boulevard is starting with a limited selection of salads including arugula salad with a blend of tomatoes, walnuts and pomegranate, chicken avocado salad and sashimi salmon salad with fresh greens.

Customers can also create their own salads with their greens of choice. Health fanatics can also treat themselves to their selection of smoothies with an assortment of fresh fruits or vegetable blends.

This delivery-only kitchen currently only serves residents of 6th of October city, until they find a place from where they can expand their reach and where takeout can also be available.

Read more about why Mada Masr is organizing a marketplace event here