Tayybeh is a Vancouver food company that sells authentic Syrian food and employs female Syrian immigrants and refugees. Tayybeh, which means “delicious” in Arabic, connects consumers with Syrian food products while giving jobs to newcomers who may have barriers to employment.

This unique social enterprise began as a pop-up dinner in Vancouver in October of 2016. The initiative was a one-time volunteer effort, and its intent was primarily to introduce the community to Syrian cuisine. Although the group did not run any advertising, tickets quickly sold out and the women themselves had a great time making and serving the food. In December later that year, they organized a similar pop-up dinner, but this time, bigger and better — and the tickets sold out quickly once more.

This is when the group realized that this was a great way to create a sustainable income for hard-working Syrian women. And so Tayybeh: A Celebration of Syrian Cuisine came into fruition. They currently have launched three different product lines:

  • Catering: The company caters for all occasions: weddings, office lunches, conferences, birthday parties and much more. This function consumes most of their day-to-day operations.
  • Food Truck: Last summer, Tayybeh also launched a food truck which served in Robson Square in Downtown Vancouver once a week, as well as during special events, such as the Kitsilano Street Festival. This summer, in addition to special events, the truck will be serving twice a week.
  • Packaged Foods: They have a line of packaged products, which mostly consists of Syrian dips and spreads.

All products are made from authentic recipes from the chefs’ hometowns in Syria, an authenticity that you can taste with every bite. In the Middle East, Syria is known to be the culinary capital of the region because the food is so healthy and flavourful. Tayybeh’s chefs create the food with the original tastes and savors of their individual districts.

The powerful women who run the business are migrants to Canada, and have undergone numerous challenges, namely the difficulty of integration in a new country. They juggle issues around language barriers, managing big families, transiting, and much more, as they adjust to this new — and expensive — home.

Tayybeh has had tremendous reception from the community. According to Founder Nihal Elwan, “It’s all been one beautiful upward wave, if you will. Our biggest success is the welcoming support and enthusiasm from the community that we’ve received. If it weren’t for the incredible reception and interactivity from people who have attended our events or purchased from us, we wouldn’t be here.”

Tayybeh’s next goal? To take Vancouver city by storm! Not only do they want to become the biggest provider of Middle Eastern food in the city, but they also wish to become the biggest employer of Middle Eastern women, especially those who face barriers to employment. Because when it comes to Tayybeh, delicious is not all it means. Tayybeh means authenticity, empowerment, and home. 

To find out more about Tayybeh, visit their website at tayybeh.com.

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