How Chefs and Restaurateurs in the UAE Cater to Vegan and Vegetarian Diners

  • Jan. 5, 2023
How Chefs and Restaurateurs in the UAE Cater to Vegan and Vegetarian Diners

In the last decade, plant-based food has exploded in popularity globally, particularly among health-conscious customers. As a result, the worldwide restaurant sector has started to provide more vegan and plant-based alternatives to accommodate the growing preferences of customers. In reality, some restaurants in the UAE have embraced this trend and devised a strategy to fulfill the needs of sophisticated customers.

Some cuisines, like as Vietnamese, have traditionally included vegan meals into their culture and cuisine. "More than 95 percent of the Vietnamese population is Buddhist, and veganism has always been a part of our culinary culture," said Lily Hoa Nguyen, creator and executive chef of Vietnamese Foodies.

However, occasionally individuals embrace a plant-based vegan diet for other personal reasons. It might be for environmental reasons, such as preventing climate change or improving their health. This diet is known to strengthen the immune system, decrease inflammation, promote weight maintenance, and be rich in fiber.

Sanjay Vazirani, chief executive officer of Foodlink Global Restaurants & Catering Services, said, "The market for plant-based cuisine has been expanding in popularity, and many forward-thinking restaurants are adjusting their menus to meet the rising demand. It increases revenue, gives menu variety and originality, attracts consumers, and strengthens brand loyalty.

"The trend began with celebrity gatherings a few years ago, when we began receiving requests for plant-based alternatives; when the trend gained momentum, we added it to our regular menu."

Neat Burger at Dubai Mall, for instance, was formed by entrepreneurs and founders, such as Lewis Hamilton and Leonardo Di Caprio, who hoped to discover a method to invest in sustainability.

Stasi Nichas, chief operating officer and co-founder of Neat Burger, said, "This aligned with our common objective to consume less red meat and other animal products. After seeing the success of the alternative protein sector, we set out to refine our product with quality at its core.

Popular neighborhood eateries are likewise putting their best foot forward by adding more plant-based items on their menus. For instance, Fabienne Naggear, marketing manager at Kitopi, said that Zaroob has begun selling plant-based shawarma for a short period of time.

She said, "Our initial partnership was with Impossible, which is well-known on the market. It was the natural and safe option, since we wanted to be the first to introduce a plant-based meat shawarma. After this partnership, we began exploring with firms like Tindle that provide chicken substitutes. Positive comments was also received. Customers praised every plant-based product we introduced and thanked us for providing them with this alternative. Moreover, Levant Street cuisine is inherently vegetarian and vegan, therefore we are pleased to expand this category to accommodate all sorts of guests."

Ramya Sivaprasad, managing partner of Mogao by Socialicious in Dubai Silicon Oasis, emphasized that including plant-based meals promotes an inclusive menu and accommodates visitors with various dietary requirements, including vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free diets. "We have team members that mostly consume plant-based foods. This personalizes our commitment to a plant-based meal, she noted.