Food

Opening up to vegan friendliness

It is no more a challenge for vegans to choose their place to eat — most eateries in Hyderabad are turning vegan-friendly

A colleague was meeting a ‘contact’ of his for extra updates on the socio-political front. He decided to do most of the meeting at a coffee shop close to his home. “But I am vegan. I don’t drink black coffee and the other coffees are made with milk,” said the guest. The barista was hell bent upon making his new guest try the coffee at their cafe. So, he went out, got a pack of soy milk and presented a cuppa that brought a smile to his face. The meeting ended and my colleague’s contact pleased with the coffee of his choice too decided work out of the cafe for the day.

Veganism is a comparatively new dining option for many. With restaurants only listing veg, non-veg and Jain food preferences, vegan eaters didn’t stand a chance to dine out without making their hosts worry. Every restaurant might not have a dedicated vegan section as of now, but like this cafe owner, most eateries are ready to custom-make vegan dishes for vegan eaters.

Reason? “It is about respecting one’s dining habits. Vegan eating habits is no more a rarity. So we have to cater to their preferences. Customising food according to one’s choice of ingredients is the least our chefs can do to see a happy customer,” says Jomy Abraham, Operations manager at Marriott Hotels.

Opening up to vegan friendliness

What if I say I want a vegan cake or vegan dessert?Cchef Ratheesh of Marriott’s Momo Café says, “Give me a heads up and we can have the guests licking their fingers.”

While some cuisines are remarkably vegan-friendly it is practically difficult to think about vegan options in some south-east Asian cuisines. Most vegans vouch middle-eastern cuisine for most vegan-friendly. Have they not heard about shawarma and lamb roasts? “Avoid the meat, then everything else is mostly animal product free and nutritious,” says a vegan eater.

In Hyderabad there are a handful of eateries that cater to only vegan eaters. These eateries clearly indicate that vegan food is interesting and the choices are not limited. Cafes like Terrasen and Smart Alec are making a strong statement by offering a vegan-only menu. The response is immense and the popularity is going beyond vegan eaters.

Is it possible to be vegan and eating Indian? “Absolutely. Including millets is a good idea. But again millets are tricky.

It takes a while for some people to get used to eating millet-based food. Vegan is a way of eating that is free from any animal product,” explains Madhu Reddy.

Vegan way of eating is new to Hyderabad hence it requires extra care while making fancy food. If you thought vegan food is void of cakes and shakes, then try the selection of cakes at Terassen.

They just don’t stop there, their shakes are a hit with most of the patrons irrespective of whether one is vegan or not and their raw jackfruit sandwich can give the ordinary chicken sandwich some serious food complex when it comes to taste.

Being vegan-friendly motivates restaurants to work on their menu and ingredients. Chefs are working on war footing in order to make vegan food more visible on the table. If food like beetroot hummus and turmeric cappuccino are featured on the menu, curiosity will drive non-vegans to expand their palates too.

Is it really difficult for a chef to dish out vegan food? “Absolutely not. These days most ingredients are easily available. Honestly a wholesome vegan meal can be rustled up at any home with the basic everyday ingredients. If your everyday food doesn’t revolve around meat and animal products, it is hardly a challenge,” says chef Chalapti Rao of Simply South.

But he says he is not sure if he can make a pure south Indian filter coffee vegan style though.

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Printable version | Apr 5, 2020 6:46:19 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/life-and-style/food/opening-up-to-vegan-friendliness/article24151145.ece

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