Have a plant-based diet in Angola.. is it possible?

Angola, land of contrasts, music, dance, earth smells, nice people and colorful landscape. Angola is still a difficult country to visit and lacks in touristic infrastructures. The differences between the capital city Luanda and the rest of the country are abysmal in all aspects, so food is no exception. Angola is in south-central Africa, from its past Portuguese cuisine has significantly influenced Angolan cuisine.

Luanda is one of the most expensive cities in the world and has some imported vegan and vegetarian products in some supermarket at a very prohibited price and some restaurants with vegan/vegetarian options available.

But if you are visiting or traveling to another place in the country the story is completely different. You might struggle to eat, because there is not enough options if any available.

The big markets are busy places and you will need help to find them, they are located in the middle of a shanty town, where you can find seasonal fruits, vegetables, roots, some cereals (rice, flour, corn, etc..) and beans, but they don’t have much variety. In town you will find women’s selling fruits and vegetables in the street.

Outside Luanda will be quit difficult to find a supermarket with vegan options due to the lack of supply and demand, or even a restaurant that has a vegetarian or vegan option available.

If you are staying in a hotel you can make a special request, for a vegan meal, but don’t expect anything too fancy. If there is a possibility just cook your own meal, that will be the best solution!

Typical dishes/sides/snacks/deserts that are vegan:

  • Funge: Plain carbohydrate made from cassava with a texture like mash potato, generally served with a full-flavored spicy sauce.
  • Farofa: Toasted cassava flour with a salty and smoky flavor.
  • Feijão de óleo de palma: Stewed beans in a palm oil sauce.
  • Mukua: Dried fruit from the baobab tree, often used for ice cream.
  • Kussangua: Traditional non-alcoholic drink made from cornflour.
  • Chikuanga: a bread made from manioc flour, served in a wrap of banana leaves (from northeast Angola).
  • Cocada amarela, yellow coconut pudding made with sugar, grated coconut, egg yolks, and ground cinnamon. (vegetarian)
  • Doce de ginguba, peanut candy.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

 

A vegan in Melaka

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We attempted to go to the Night Market on Jonker Street but was choc-a-bloc with people, so we gave up on that, but not on the idea of finding a good market away from the heavy tourist wave. So we talked with a few locals and cycled to the suburbs to find a great market thrumming with locals and fresh vegan treats, and we also found a good small night market  with the best popiahs in the world 🙂

Malaysia is one of the easiest places in South East Asia to find vegan and vegetarian food, and  Melaka wasn’t an exception. You have great street food,  eateries and restaurants, among the places I tried, I do recommend the Soon Wong Vegetarian Restaurant,  the Mori Vegetarian Tea House, the indian restaurant Selvam Restrain, and the Veggie Planet 

Once in Melaka if you want to try something different and delicious don’t miss:

  • Lei Cha, a traditional hakka rice dish,
  • Roti canai,
  • mock meat,
  • fresh spring rolls (popiahs),
  • Barley drink,
  • one of this great sweets, kuih, ondeh-ondeh, putu piring (steamed rice flour cake with gula melaka filling), Putu Bambu (rice flour and shredded coconut with a filling of gula melaka), Apam Balik (pancakes filled with sweetcorn and peanuts),

To come to the point, we did a lot of really good eating, which always makes us happy. Malaysia and Melaka is full of foodie surprises…

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

🚌 More about Melaka here 🚌

a Vegan in Sarawak – island of Borneo

Sarawak’s food is just amazing, and the only problem you will have being a vegan is not to gain 10kg 🙂

Kuching 

🌱Sin Wei Tong cafe – has a vegetarian stall, great food around 5RM per dish. some dishes have egg but can request without.

🌱Shun son yen – vegetarian restaurant by kilo, with delicious food and fresh juices I paid around 15RM for my meal. Make sure you go early to have all the option still available because the food goes quickly. You can try a bit of everything.

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🌱 water front –  there are food stalls and restaurants that have great vegan options.

🌱Zhen Xiang Zhai, delicious food and a good place to try the Sarawak laksa, they close at 3pm. A meal with drinks will cost around 15RM  you can choose from the buffet or order off their menu.

🌱open marker – lovelly local place to explore.

🌱Food fair, at the time you are visiting Kuching check if they have a food fair, they have all kinds of food, but be prepared for a crowded place.

Bau

🌱Bau food court– One of the food stalls serves exclusively great vegan food but other stall still have a few options, have a look and ask around.

Other food in the region

💚Seri Muka – Malaysian sweet with rice with pandas leavesimg_1804

💚Steamed Buns –  easily find any food markets and street stalls. They have vegetarian fillings like – sweet been past,  Kaya, Pandan or black sesame paste.

💚Kendal, dessert made with coconut milk, green jelly noodles (rice flour)

💚ABC, made out of shaved ice and a variety of ingredients such as red beans, fruit, sweet corn, grass jelly, etc..

💚Ondeh-Ondeh, glutinous rice flour dumplings filled with ‘gula Melaka’

💚Sticky coconut rice with palm sugar and mango

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💚Fruit and Vegetables, don’t miss it …

💚Other treats

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

A taste of Vegan Thailand, testimony and tips

15I have been in Thailand twice, and visited the country from north to south, east to west and several islands from both seas. Thailand was the firsts country I visited in Southeast Asia and since then fell in love for that part of the globe.

If you are planning to travel there, be prepared to be astonished with its exotic, luxurious and unspoiled natural areas, colorful places, interesting temples, nice, smiley and laid-back people, great weather, unbelievable beaches, maniac drivers, and at last but not the least THE FOOD….

From my personal experience, I need to say that’s fairly easy to have a vegan/vegetarian diet in Thailand. Even when you adventure yourself out of the big cities and you go to places that haven’t seen many Foreigners.

I found that being vegan in Thailand is often deeply respected as Thailand is a predominately Buddhist country.  There is a big prevalence of soy products, like milk and tofu, and traditionally Thai food doesn’t contain dairy, this includes desserts 🙂 so your main concern will mainly involve the use of eggs.

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Fruit stands, fresh markets, night markets and street stalls are very abundant. You will have so many vegan options to choose from, that looks like heaven. All my meals included fresh veggies, fruit (so much fruit),  rice or rice noodles, juices and Coconut Water and may I say fruit again 🙂

The fruit is just amazing, you definitely need to try Mango, Mangosteen, Rambutan, Pineapple, dragon fruit, Custard Apple, Langsat, Longan, watermelon and, Coconut.

The fruit is so delicious that I just couldn’t have enough of it… and you will understand why…

The only problem is what they cook with. They tend to use  fish sauce, oyster sauce, and shrimp paste a lot, so be careful, prepared and relaxed knowing that most of the times communication is not the best, so make sure you explain that you are vegan/vegetarian and you don’t consume shrimp paste (gapi), oyster sauce (sot hoi naag rom), and fish sauce (nam bplaa).  In some odd occasions I even needed to add that I don’t eat chicken too 😀

If you can’t communicate your needs and you’re feeling uncomfortable just politely decline and move on to another location. you will see that everyone will smile and be kind to you. I like to eat in the street stalls and markets, from my experience people is really nice and will try to do something for you even if is not in their “menu” but be prepared to be persuaded to have their normal dish because they think what you are asking is not going to be delicious 🙂 Try not to be to picky and expect them to cook using the same pans where they did the chicken, fish and shrimps.

jclassrestaurant_thumb4I found that the easiest way is to say that you follow a jay diet, which translates as strict vegan, but with no garlic and onions. So you can look for the national sign: a bright yellow flag with “Jay” (เจ) written in red, looks like a 17. You can find this sign almost everywhere from restaurants, food stalls or supermarket packages. The restaurants are not too expensive and the food is great.

I found that looking for Taoist temples which have also restaurants is great as well, they are vegan, the price is usually low and they use lots of really delicious textured vegetable.

It’s also good to know that Thailand hosts a great annual national vegetarian festival called teet-sa-kan kin jay, so you can always try to travel during those dates  (9th lunar month of the Chinese calendar) you will not regret.

Happy Cow is a very useful tool to find restaurants.

photography – all rights reserved – Ana Rocha

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Bali – Indonesia

Sofia Fernandes, is a 22 years old Portuguese women, that works in Cambridge in the tourism area. Sofia is an easy-going and sociable person that enjoys spending time with her friends, travel and to do exercise. Last month she did her first solo travel trip to Bali – Indonesia. Have a read, and feel free to leave any comments and questions.

“Traveling solo was a life-changing experience.

New cultures, new people, different costumes and food, you find yourself at home because everyone is so friendly.

Mainly, I consider it’s quite easy to find vegetarian options. They serve the typical fried rice or noodles with vegetables that is actually quite tasty. It usually comes with a fried egg on top, so if you are vegan, just ditch the egg. They have a vast selection of fresh juices that you can order for breakfast, so sweet, refreshing and all natural. My favorite was the watermelon juice that we got as a welcome drink in one of the places we stayed in. The locals are so welcoming and genuine, definitely fell in love with the people, always willing to help with a smile on their face. Since it’s a very poor country, they normally grow their own food,

Since it’s a very poor country, they normally grow their own food, obviously, everything is organic and tastier. We had the amazing chance to try home cooked food by one Balinese family and it was incredible. They offered a buffet with a lot of vegetarian options including tempeh and tofu so you wouldn’t miss out. They had the famous Bakwan Jagun which is basically corn fritter served with rice and chili sauce, my favorite – Keripik tempeh pedas – thinly sliced tempeh, fried, and doused in spicy, sweet sauce and much more. However, they mainly eat pork and chicken. Kuta is probably the easiest place to eat because it offers a lot of different restaurants with all kinds of food, it’s more western since it’s a very touristic place. I definitely recommend visiting, it’s a piece of heaven with a lot of healthy options!!”

 

photography – all rights reserved – Sofia Fernandes

SWEET POTATO HUMMUS WITH ROASTED CHICKPEAS (hummus de bata doce com grão torrado)

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We are real fans of hummus, we already tried at least a dozen recipes with different spices, herbs and ingredients. The other day we found on one green planet blog a recipe of sweet potato hummus with roasted chickpeas, and it’s amazing!!

To know how to make it, all the ingredients and  quantities have a look in the original recipe here.

TIPS: use dry chickpeas instead of can chickpeas

PT  Óptima receita de hummus de bata doce e grão de bico tostado!! 

Ingredientes :

  • 1 batata doce
  • 1 copo e  1/2 grão de bico demolhado (ou 1 lata de grão 15 oz)
  • 2/3 dentes de alho
  • 3 colheres de sopa de azeite 
  • 1/2 colher de chá de mistura de especiarias 
  • 1/4 colher de chá de pimenta caiena 
  • 1 colher de sopa de tahini
  • sumo de 1/2 limão
  • 1 copo de couve verde sem talos
  • grão de bico torrado para colocar por cima

Retira a pele da batata doce, corta-a em pedaços pequenos e coze.Enquanto as batatas cozem, num bocado de azeite cozinha a couve.Coloca a batata cozida num processador e adiciona todos os outros ingredientes (menos o tahini, limão e o grão torrado) até ficar uma pasta homogénea. Retira do processador e mistura com a couve.Serve com o grão torrado por cima e um fio de azeite.

Torrar o grão: Preaquecer o forno a 200C. Colocar o grão num tabuleiro de ir ao forno temperado com caminhos, sal, azeite e alho. Após 30-40 minutos retirar quando estiverem dourados e estaladiços.

chickpeas

photo:onegreenplanet       l      adapted recipe from onegreenplanet