CAPE TOWN—Considering that South Africa is one of the highest per capita meat-consuming countries in Africa, one might be surprised to discover that there are 14 fully vegan restaurants in Cape Town alone. Humane Society International/Africa and ProVeg South Africa have partnered to create a My Plant-Based City map of Cape Town to highlight these restaurants, as well as 16 other vegan-friendly eateries offering great plant-based options.
More and more South African consumers are looking for healthier, more environmentally friendly, and ethical food options. This has led to an increase in veg-friendly restaurants serving everything from burgers and brownies to fine-dining dishes. A decade ago, it would have been almost impossible to find a vegan-friendly menu in South Africa, but today there are countless eateries offering a selection of plant-based meals. Offerings cater to everyone, from those looking for healthy poke bowls featuring fresh whole foods, to others craving plant-based versions of fast-food favourites like cheeseburgers. Advances in food technology have meant that plant-based meat and dairy alternatives are now able to successfully mimic the taste and texture of animal products they replace.
Leozette Roode, meat-reduction specialist for HSI/Africa, says: “The guide is an ideal tool to help Capetonians explore the diversity of the city’s incredible plant-based food options. These options are not only offered to die-hard vegans but also consumers who want to eat more plant-based, like on a Green Monday, and who have other dietary, cultural or religious needs. Today it is easier than ever to feast on foods that are healthier and less harmful to the planet and to animals, without having to sacrifice on taste!
HSI/Africa advocates for a reduction in the number of animals raised for food by changing consumer eating habits to reduce the amount of meat, dairy, eggs and fish they eat. Through its Green Monday SA campaign, HSI/Africa assists institutions, private and public businesses and food service providers in increasing plant-based offerings by conducting culinary training with chefs. The My Plant-Based City maps form part of HSI/Africa’s Green Monday SA campaign as a fun, affordable and tasty way to bring about positive change.
The list of eateries featured on the map is based on recommendations from renowned local blogger and vegan influencer, Garth Tavares, better known as the Cape Town Vegan. The list highlights some of the most novel vegan offerings including “meaty” options like Infinite Foods’ ultimate burger, seitan burgers and subs from The Fussy Vegan, and chicken-style kebabs from The Vegan Butchery. For those with a sweet tooth, some highlights include ice-cream and waffles from Ditto, donuts from Grumpy & Runt, We Cafe’s gluten-free chocolate brownies and baked goods and coffee from Okja Café. Health-enthusiasts also have a variety to choose from including a tempura cauliflower bowl from Wild Eatery and Sunshine Food Co’s sprouted charcoal burger with chickpea dahl. You can even have a crackable plant-based egg from Vegan Street Food or sushi from Plushi.
The My Plant-based City Map also lists the top five most plant-based friendly national food chains according to ProVeg South Africa’s 2022 Plant-Based Friendly Fast Food Franchise Ranking. According to Donovan Will, co-creator of the maps and Country Director of ProVeg South Africa, taste and availability remain two of the biggest barriers to consumers who are considering eating more plant-based food, and fast food chains play a big role in removing these barriers.
“We know that many South Africans eat fast food, and we know that fast food chains generally don’t sacrifice on taste, so having chains with hundreds of branches across the country offering plant-based options clearly plays a big part in making these options more available, and getting consumers to try them.”
ProVeg South Africa is the local chapter of ProVeg International, a global food awareness organisation working to transition the food system from one primarily centered on animal agriculture to one based on plant-based and cellular agriculture. The maps and the fast food ranking form part of their ongoing efforts to promote plant-based food in South Africa, which includes the licensing of Europe’s largest vegan accreditation, V-Label, hosting events like the annual Plant-based Heritage Day Braai, and working to influence government food policies.
Printed versions of the map will be distributed across Cape Town at the participating restaurants as well as various information points. South Africans can also download the map and access all the locations of all the restaurants via the www.myplantbasedcity.co.za website.
Photos of the dishes can be downloaded here.