If you are visiting LA before the summer ends, here are a few new vegan restaurants to try compiled by LAist.com, including Gracias Madre, a vegan Mexican restaurant on Melrose Avenue!
While we may associate the vegetarian lifestyle with Asia for the variety of plant-based meals they rely on, its Buddhist culture, and for creating tofu, in China, finding vegetarian restaurants was actually hard to do for a long time. It is a meat based culture with heavy reliance on pork for protein.
However, things are changing, and estimates put the vegetarian community at 4% to 5% of the population which equate to around 50 million people! Now there are a large number of veg restaurants in the major cities including the 'Gingko Tree' in Beijing offering more than just tofu and leafy greens. Chefs are inventing new ways to make meat style meals out of tofu to attract more Chinese consumers and it is working. Also, fear of the environmental calamities which are occurring due the the rapid growth of the manufacturing sector in that country has also spurred people to rethink their diets and trend towards more eco-friendly ingredients according to this article from PRI.
With such a huge population in China, any growth in this trend will have positive implications for the planet!
A new sushi restaurant has opened in the trendy Rappongi district of Tokyo. However, this sushi, according to Rocket News 24 does not contain any fish ingredients. Every menu item is 100% vegetarian!
The restaurant is called 'Vegetable Sushi Potager' and it has redefined this fish based Japanese staple. Based on the colorful photos in the article, the restaurant makes each dish look fantastic and demonstrates that with some creativity, sushi can be transformed to appeal to patrons with plant-based diets!
Not too long ago, Subway announced that it would open an all-vegetarian outlet in India as covered in my blog post on 8/22. Now McDonald's has announced that it will open all-vegetarian restaurants across India, but hasn't specified when or how many restaurants. According to the Associated Press, revenue has been flat so they are look for ways to boost sales in specific markets catering to the local tastes.
With dietary habits changing influenced by health concerns and growing demand for vegetarian fast food, it's a good strategy for the company and will benefit consumers and animals. I hope they will open up an all-vegetarian outlet in North America as well. All it took was one company to lead the way for others to follow. This is an exciting trend to watch!
"How am I going to live without pizza?"
This may be one of the first thoughts of someone considering a vegan diet. Fortunately, many cities now have restaurants that feature vegan pizzas on the menu or have the ability to craft a vegan pizza upon request. With the rise of gourmet pizza restaurants, so have the number of vegan options expanded. This has happened, in part, with the improvement of vegan cheese which has qualities when melted similar to dairy cheeses.
Pizza can be enjoyed without cheese as well as some restaurants offer a thin crust with marinara sauce and veggies making it even more healthy. There are all-vegan pizza restaurants in some cities that have numerous delicious options and which are reinventing the traditional concept. Whole Foods usually offers vegan pizza at it's pizza counter as well. It's nice to see that vegans have great options now for this common comfort food!
Articles Featuring Vegan Pizza Restaurants:
Vegan Pizza in Los Angeles
Vegan Pizza in Jacksonville, Florida
Peace O'Pie - Boston
Top Vegan Pizzas - USA
Vegan Pizza in NYC
Make your own simple delicious vegan pizza using a pre-made crust - check out my easy recipes and do-it-yourself video for Naples Vegan Pizza!
Subway sandwich shops have 37,000 outlets worldwide including 280 in India. All of its outlets in India don't serve beef and have several vegetarian options. However, in the city of Jalandhar, it will launch an all-vegetarian restaurant on September 4, its first in the world and maybe the first global fast food chain to have an all-vegetarian offering!
This is great news. Just recently, Subway announced that it would test market three new vegetarian meals in its US stores, but it is going much further in India. The reason for the new store is that it is near an all vegetarian private university. The owners of the school were able to convince Subway to dedicate the store to vegetarian fare.
Perhaps this will become a trend, especially if sales go well. If the new menu is intriguing to customers, it may be demanded at other stores across India and maybe eventually we'll see similar offerings in the US. This is a wonderful opportunity for other fast food chains to try a vegetarian menu and benefit customers, animals, and the environment!
Toronto was the first city I visited where I felt there was a visible and vibrant vegan culture. There are many restaurant options some of which are famous for their cuisine. Even the hot dog carts on the street sell veggie dogs!
My first dining experience was a vegetarian buffet style restaurant called Commensal which had a wide variety of vegan options. It was a delight to eat there and want to go back to try the eateries in this video about dining veg in Toronto.
It was nice to read the news that Subway was test marketing three new vegan sandwiches in its restaurants in the D.C. and Virginia area. I hope it rolls out the new menu items nationally. I avoid fast food completely as part of my long term health strategy. However, for many consumers, fast food is a regular part of the weekly eating experience. With more healthy choices on the menu at Subway, it offers its customers the option to eat better when visiting its sandwich shops.
Almost every Subway I've seen is packed during the lunch hour, sometimes with lines forming outside the door. With so much demand for its sandwiches, vegan options will receive a lot of visibility and maybe some new customers. If consumers like the products then it may influence menu options at other fast food chains as well which is good news!
I don't have any statistics on what percentage of meat production is absorbed by fast food restaurants; if the percentage is large and if vegan options grow in popularity at fast food chains, it could eventually reduce demand for animal agriculture. It will be interesting to watch how Subway's move impacts the industry and consumer eating habits in the future.
A small company in Singapore, a small island nation in Southeast Asia between Malaysia and Indonesia, is operating what could be the world's first vegan fast food burger chain. It's called Vegan Burg (www.VeganBurg.com). Serving a variety of vegan burgers including 'Cracked Pepper Mayo', 'Hawaiian Pineapple', and 'Smoky BBQ', it now has four locations around the city and plans to open more.
It's a wonderful business idea and aims to make fast food healthy. Although I'm not a huge fan of fast food of any variety, it is a nutritious option for people on the go or who have short lunch hours. The inspiration for the business comes from this message on the website:
"We used to think that plant based diet is impossible. Compelled by our love and respect for planet earth, as well as a desire for a healthier lifestyle, we decided to do something radical. Since making that step, we have never turned back." - Vegan Burg
It's great to see the vegan trend impacting fast food restaurants and hope their business continues to be a great success, especially since it may be the first of its kind!
A couple weeks ago I posted that Germans were consuming less meat and eating more vegetables (Mehr Gemuse, bitte!)which is great considering they have a very meat based diet. As evidence of the change, Berlin is becoming a hub for vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Europe. This article lists three interesting places to eat if you are traveling in the city. It's nice to see the veg*n trend catching on in Europe!
Make Simple Vegan Meals