Veganism and vegetarianism were mentioned 4.3 million times on social media during a 90-day period in 2015. That’s something investors and entrepreneurs in the food industry cannot ignore.
While this type of eating was once largely associated with animal welfare, now consumers are seeing vegan and vegetarianism as much more—as a chance to protect our planet for future generations, a chance to be a part of a “food tribe” (something millennials crave) and a chance to alleviate physical ailments.
Africa is one of the most exciting places to visit as a vegan or vegetarian. Each country has vastly different approaches to getting creative with animal-free ingredients. Here’s a look at 8 creative vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Africa.
This article originally appeared on AFKInsider.com.
Free Food, Johannesburg, South Africa
It’s not really free and you do need to pay for your food at Free Food, but your digestive system won’t pay for it later. And it got your attention, right? The restaurant’s menu is free of gluten, dairy, sugar, preservatives and animal products. The menu changes very two weeks, but some creations you can expect anytime are kale and sugar-bean wraps, a veggie burger with a millet base, and tofu triangles with shiitake mushrooms and ginger jelly. See the full menu at Freefood.co.za.
Earth Café, Marrakech, Morocco
Diners at Earth Café are never far from where their ingredients originated. That’s because the owner grows most of the food at his farm. The owner even offers cooking classes on his farm. After making a complete meal, you can eat it on the grounds it came from. Of course, if guests don’t feel like cooking, they can stop at Earth Café, sit on colorful cushioned benches, and munch on items like vegan spring rolls and pumpkin goat cheese. After eating, customers can visit the gift shop and pick up goodies made on the farm like flavored cooking oils. Peruse the shop on Earthcafemarrakech.com.
The Greenside Café, Johannesburg, South Africa
The Greenside Café won the People’s Choice Award for the best vegetarian menu in Johannesburg, and this is the place to be if you’re a vegan craving famously non-vegan foods that taste like the original. One such example is the Burger King, made from mung beans, mushrooms and a variety of nuts and seeds. Non-vegans also swarm the place, according to Thegreensidecafe.co.za.
Veggie Victory, Lagos, Nigeria
Veggie Victory is creative in Lagos simply for being vegetarian. It became the first vegan and vegetarian establishment in Nigeria in 2013. But even if there was plenty of competition, the restaurant would still thrive. The menu is loaded with comfort food like soy hot dogs, “milk” shakes, yam chips, and hearty vegan Nigerian stews. The restaurant has put great care into its vegan protein sources, with treats like barbecue tofu, stir-fried wheat protein, and curry tofu. You can drool over their dishes at Veggiev.com.
Itegue Taitu Hotel, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Visitors at the Itegue Taitu Hotel like the rooms but rave about the lunch buffet. A quick look at the hotel’s TripAdvisor page will show several travelers mentioning the lunch buffet. A daily vegan buffet, it costs barely $3, and it’s all you can eat. The public is welcome too. One traveler noted that the locals grab a midday meal here, enjoying the fresh salads, fluffy injera, and generous lentil dishes.
The Vegan Kitchen, Cairo, Egypt
The Vegan Kitchen is the first restaurant to open in Cairo that is vegan, gluten-free and organic. The Lebanese couple who own it want it to go beyond just a restaurant and be a place that raises awareness about how veganism can help the planet. All the furniture in the establishment is made from recycled materials. One TripAdvisor reviewer raves that the spot has edible food for anti-vegans. The cinnamon ginger and vanilla ice cream, and the vegan tiramisu, come highly recommended.
Chowpaty, Nairobi, Kenya
Chowpaty is a local chain that has grown. The first location had just 60 seats, and now it’s up to 200 seats, expanding to meet customer demand for its delicious Indian vegetarian cuisine. In ambiance, the restaurants took a slight detour. Rather than an earthy décor, they’re chic, serving up festive cocktails and offering outdoor seating. The menu is 12 pages long on Chowpatyrestaurants.com, with over a dozen types of bread alone, along with classic Indian dishes and some Italian cuisine. This restaurant answers the question — what if the Cheesecake Factory opened a Indian vegetarian restaurant?
La Sqala Restaurant, Casablanca, Morocco
It’s hard to decide what’s more important about this restaurant: it’s delectable cuisine or the fact that it sits on the rooftop of an 18th-century fort. Amazing views of the city are complemented with generous servings of vegan food on colorful dishes full of character. One such dish is a veggie tagine piled high with vegetables prepared with spices and herbs, and served with homemade round bread. You’ll find a depiction of the place on Veganworldtrekker.com.