Posted by Danielle Bussone on Oct 15, 2014 in Vegan Food Quest: Veggin' Out and About Southeast Asia! | 0 comments
A VEGAN CULINARY ADVENTURE!
by Caryl Eyers
And so another month on our Vegan Food Quest to find, eat, and write about the best vegan food in the world has ticked by. This installment of our regular column comes from Vietnam where we spent a month exploring Hoi An, in Central Vietnam as well as Nha Trang towards the South.
Last month we were wondering what Vietnam would have to offer traveling vegans (us), and looking back on our time in this amazing country we think it’s fair to say it offers us A LOT!
In Hoi An, vegan food was everywhere from local speciality dishes that can’t be found anywhere else in the country to vegan versions of some of the tastiest dishes to be found in Vietnamese cuisine. We discovered new ingredients and flavors like ‘fish mint’ (not really to our liking) and ‘fermented tofu’ (divided opinions, with one of us loving it and the other not being so keen). Our month was a vegan culinary adventure!
Hoi An, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is a brilliant travel destination and we loved the time we spent there, cycling around the old town, drinking Vietnamese ‘drip coffee’ in riverside cafes or relaxing at the beach.
We spent a lot of time in our local Vietnamese Buddhist vegan restaurant, eating whatever the lovely Miss Lien and her family cooked for us including fried spring rolls, mushroom hot-pots and even the speciality of the house (only served twice a month) vegan ‘com ga’ which means ‘chicken rice,’ a clever meat free version.
The local market was an interesting place to explore with tons of fresh fruit, vegetables and herbs on display. It was also a great place to pick up a snack and, after a bit of checking that our vegan requests were understood, we were presented with some delicious vegan ‘ban xeo’ rice flour pancakes.
After a disappointing start to our search in Ho Chi Minh City, we managed to find the most amazing vegan ‘banh mi’ by visiting a tiny shop in Hoi An, made famous by a visit from Anthony Bourdain. We charmed the very busy ladies at this very busy street side restaurant and they made us a plant-based version of their famed sandwich.
One of the really surprising things we found about Vietnam was that some of their luxury resorts were not only out of this world spectacular but they were also really vegan friendly! We spent a couple of nights at The Nam Hai in Hoi An where we indulged in visits to the spa (which used natural vegan products!), lazed by the beachfront infinity pool and ate romantic luxury vegan dinners in our villa.
We also spent a few nights at An Lam Villas in Ninh Van Bay where our villa had its own private pool, a huge outdoor bathroom (with its own friendly lizard) and two indoor swings!
We ate delicious vietnamese food as well as some more Western inspired vegan food like a pickled beetroot salad served with rolls of soft caramelized pumpkin, crunchy walnut pieces and a star anise flavored beetroot syrup, that was divine.
And as if we weren’t spoiled enough, we got to spend our final few days in Vietnam in the amazing Six Senses Ninh Van Bay where our Rock Pool Villa had the most beautiful infinity pool overlooking the sea as well as our very own waterfront cave!
Again more fresh and delicious Vietnamese food was eaten but even more exciting for us was getting to eat a fabulous vegan dinner created by Anton Manganaro and Paul Merrett, renowned British chefs who were visiting Six Senses as part of the resort’s 10 Year anniversary celebrations.
Both chefs run successful restaurants in the UK, but aren’t vegan so we loved giving them the challenge to design a vegan menu (which they did very successfully!). We’ll definitely be paying them a visit when we’re back home!
We felt like our month in Vietnam really ended on a luxurious high where everything seemed to be about ultimate relaxation and luxury, not to mention the exceptional quality of vegan food. So it was with great excitement and renewed energy that we headed back to Thailand for the next leg of the Vegan Food Quest where the plan was to attend a Chinese Buddhist Festival where everybody spends 9 days eating only vegan food.
Now that’s our kind of festival!
My first time at a Cafe Gratitude restaurant was in 2009 at their premier location, in an area that was a little “off the beaten path” in San Francisco. The restaurant had a very colorful, earthy, laid back and eclectic vibe. The wall’s were covered with inspiration quotes, detailed murals, and their pledge to “Nourish a Thankful Community.” The servers and the people were warm and inviting and the restaurant was filled with a mix of hippies, young adults, nature lovers and foodie types. Their Venice Beach location doesn’t quite have that same vibe.
After an intense workout, who doesn’t crave a thick and juicy burger? A veggie burger, that is! That’s exactly what happened to us the other night when my running partner and I had finished a 7-mile “hill training” run in the pouring down rain along the very steep and long causeway bridge. I could think of no other place than the Green Bar & Kitchen, an organic plant-based, non-GMO, mostly gluten-free eatery to satisfy our hunger in a healthy yet hearty way! gb&K is located at 1075 SE 17th St., in very popular and touristy east Ft. Lauderdale.
Posted by Danielle Bussone on Sep 17, 2014 in Asian, Vegan, Vegan Food Quest: Veggin' Out and About Southeast Asia! | 0 comments
SINGAPORE, MALAYSIA & VIETNAM
THREE COUNTRIES AND COUNTLESS VEGAN ADVENTURES!
by Caryl Eyers
Here it is, our latest Vegan Food Quest update where we can share some of our vegan food adventures from South East Asia. This month we were in 3 separate countries and yet again we didn’t go hungry as we searched out plant-based treats from around the globe.
One of our favourite places we visited was in Singapore, where we were lucky enough to visit VeganBurg, a healthy fast food burger restaurant. French fries seasoned with seaweed, cold broccoli sides and crunchy little ‘spinach pops’ were a healthier alternative to what you’d usually find in a fast food place.
The Boston area hosts several fine vegan restaurants, but True Bistro located in Teele Square in Somerville, Massachusetts, stands above the others. Opened in 2009, it has become a destination eatery that is distinguished by a calming ambiance and an eclectic menu that offers something for everyone, whether vegan or not.
True Bistro is situated on a busy downtown street but as you step through the door, you leave all the hustle and bustle behind. Although the dining room is small—it holds around 40 people comfortably—the high ceilings and large, light-filled windows give the impression of a spaciousness that belies its actual size. Original paintings dot the wall near the entrance, small vases of fresh cut flowers adorn the tables, and soft, soothing music sets the tone for a peaceful, unhurried meal. It is apparent that owners Michael and Linda Harrison have taken great care to create a tranquil environment where patrons can relax and feel welcome.
Posted by Danielle Bussone on Aug 20, 2014 in Vegan Food Quest: Veggin' Out and About Southeast Asia! | 0 comments
FROM LUXURY HOTEL MEALS TO FANTASTIC STREET FOOD ON THE CHEAP!
by Caryl Eyers
This month’s Vegan Food Quest has seen us discovering fabulous vegan food in Java, Indonesia. We’ve eaten everything from amazing fine dining vegan food in restaurants in 5 star hotels to cheap and tasty street food prepared on a cart at the side of the street.
Check it out! Miss Illinois 2014 Marisa Buchheit (a long-time vegan) is going to be performing at Veggie Fest on Sunday, August 10! “Being vegan has helped me to feel balanced and has given me incredible mental and physical strength,” says Marisa. Come to Veggie Fest to hear her sing, meet her in the children’s tent, and wish her all the best as she represents Illinois at the upcoming Miss America competition! VeggieFestChicago — Free Admission. Free Parking.
The closest thing to Broadway one can find outside of New York City, at least in the US, is the Barter Theater. The Barter, Virginia’s state theater, has put Abingdon on the map, making it a destination for tourists from around the world. One has only to attend a performance, any performance, to recognize the breadth of the talent that resides in this tiny corner of SW Virginia.
NEW LOOK, NEW LOCATION, SAME INTENTION
This June Whole Health Natural Foods store (aka Whole Health Center) opened at its brand new location in the heart of Abingdon. Conveniently situated between I-81 exits 17 and 19, the new location is nestled between neighboring restaurant 128 Pecan—a fun, casual spot with some vegetarian dishes and a vegan option or two—and the trailhead of the beautiful Virginia Creeper Trail.
The Seed Food & Wine Festival 2014 (SFWF) takes place this October in and around the beaches of Miami. This annual gathering celebrates spirits, craft beer, fine wine and all kinds of plant-based cuisine, while raising health awareness. SFWF is overjoyed about the support it is receiving from some of the biggest names in the vegan community.
The Seed Food & Wine Festival 2014 has signed up a stellar cast of celebrity chefs, authors and health experts to appear at the Festival, starting with the world’s leading raw food chef and best-selling author, Matthew Kenney; 2014 James Beard Award nominees Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby; and author Brendan Brazier, a former professional Ironman triathlete considered to be one of the world’s foremost authorities on plant-based nutrition.