It is safe to say that if Nairobi starts a fad, the trend is bound to catch up in the country. One that is spreading right now is veganism. With the increasing number of people warming up to the vegan diet more due to health reasons than animal compassion, it is reasonable to notice more restaurants adopting menus that suit them.
2018 saw pop up of events in Nairobi such as Veg-bruary, Santa is Vegan and Veg-Fest which further helped spread the craze among city dwellers.
These events created platforms that taught attendants how to make vegan meals, how to achieve a balanced vegan diet, meet and eat, networking and participants got to discuss the way forward for vegans in Kenya.
Kenya might be learning from cities such as Dubai, which have also have noted a rising number of people who are going the vegan way. The city is a haven for residents and visitors who prefer to eat vegan, starting from restaurants and various eateries to the massive food festivals that the city hosts.
One of the most popular food festivals internationally, is the Dubai Food Festival. The festival promotes the diversity, creativity and multi-cultural nature of Dubai’s culinary offering – from five-star gourmet dining to everyday restaurants and cafés for all budgets; international brands to a burgeoning scene of home-grown concepts influenced by traditional Emirati cuisine and the flavors of the 200 nationalities that live in Dubai.
The 2019 Dubai Food Festival is actually offering an exclusive Vegan Experience at Bleu Blanc, Renaissance Downtown Dubai. The offering will be extended to only six guests who will get to sit at the Grill Counter and enjoy a special Vegan meal filled with tantalising flavours and aromatic dishes by David Myers, an award-winning chef.
Apart from the festival, some of the restaurants that offer sumptuous vegan meals in Dubai are:
Brambles is influenced by northern Californian cuisine and includes loads of veg, cold-pressed juices and a “farm-to-table” motive. Thecafé is located at Le Méridien Mina Seyahi, and serves up fresh dishes including plenty of vegan and gluten-free options, such as a black bean vurger, açai berry power bowl and kale and grapefruit salad. Step into a cosy haven where breakfast lasts all day and bowls are bursting with fresh herbs and veggies and Kale Brownies.
The Pearl Courtyard
The Pearl Spa at Four Seasons Resort Dubai at Jumeirah Beach has launched its very first healthy dining menu, to be served in The Pearl Courtyard, a beautiful outdoor terrace area next to the Spa that is shaded with palm trees and melodied with the sounds of the glittering fountains nearby.
The restaurant offers a special menu called “Get the Glow”, It uses fresh and seasonal produce and aims to “change the way we view food without compromising on the flavour”. Dishes include avocado toast with moringa, pistachio, pomegranate and organic onion crispy bread and a spinach wrap, quinoa and chickpea patties.
Super Natural Kitchen
Super Natural Kitchen is Dubai’s first and only 100% raw, vegan,gluten-free , sugar-free preservative-free café. The eatery uses organic and locally-grown produce whenever possible. Interesting about the Kitchen is that it is plastic-free, and uses stainless steel straws. If you choose to buy a take away meal, they pack it in delivery containers which are plant-based and completely compostable!
This hidden cafe with a Bali-like atmosphere, offers a plant-based menu that’s gluten-free, dairy-free, soy-free and without refined sugars. Sample items include veggie burger, chickpea omelette, vegetable rolls, chocolate smoothie, acai bowl, and cakes. The café makes their own almond milk and fresh juices daily.For Kenyans looking for new dining experiences while at the city, then this is a place to try.
Locally,vegan restaurants are an unexplored niche business idea, with less than 20 operating out of the many in the city. They offer eating alternatives to the locals with a touch of both local and international cuisines. Some of these include Chowpaty which offers Indian Vegan Cuisines,Ashiana Vegetarian Restaurant, Jagannath Restaurant, Riyas Delicious Corner, LMS Guest House Restaurant which offers local traditional vegetables as part of their menu,Slush Limited, Ruchira an Bridges Organic Health Restaurant.
There is a popular vegan quote by Howard Lynan that says “No animal needs to die in order for me to live. And that makes me feel good.” Perhaps one of these days you should try a vegan meal and see if it worth the craze?