Anyone who has had the pleasure of travelling to South Africa knows that its diversity is not only in its scenery and culture, but in its cuisine. On the sunny shores of Durban, you’ll find impressive spice combinations that you wouldn’t have dreamed could be cooked so wonderfully so far from India. In the buzzing metropolitan of Johannesburg, you’ll find that your food options are as vast and expansive as the city itself, modern yet soaked in history. In Cape Town, you’ll find that from the clear beaches, to the green vineyards and right into the city centre that you could be in just about any top city in the world.
Every year, South Africa, like the rest of the world, develops a social conscious on a slighter more sophisticated level than the year before. Between organisations such as the South African Vegan Society and the media pumping out enlightening information about the state of the environment as a result of the meat industry, restaurants are hearing this and saying: “We don’t need meat to keep you happy!” Vegan and vegetarian restaurants pop up more frequently than ever, and even those who haven’t yet decided against eating meat are eating out – why not, if the food is still good, right?
The New King of South Africa – Vegan Restaurants
If you’re visiting South Africa, you’re likely to find yourself in either Cape Town, Johannesburg or Durban. So here are some Vegan options to try out when you’re visiting, regardless of whether you identify as Vegan at this time. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you Vegan in South Africa.
Durban: Out To Lunch
Address: 28a Ronan Rd, Durban
Out To Lunch is so humble in both its situation as well as its food options that you almost forget that ordering meat is not an option. Fascinated by the creative and tasty ways Out to Lunch assembles natural and healthy food, you will find yourself resolved with the fact that if you were to eat here every day, you’d forget you ever felt you needed meat. Out to Lunch offers raw and alkaline plant based vegan food. Get the burger which is made with aubergine, along with a side of crunchy, organic fresh veggies. If you didn’t think vegan could taste meaty, this place may change your mind!
Johannesburg: Swaruchi Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 226 Main St, Fordsburg, Johannesburg
Situated in arguably the trendiest, artsy part of Johannesburg, Swaruchi Pure Vegetarian Restaurant has no pretences about it. It shows you just how varied a meat-free diet can be, providing multiple delicious options to choose from. The best part is, its Indian style! Often, vegetarians find themselves with a limit of 3 possible choices on a menu, and it’s from observing this that meat-eaters tend to shy away from the prospect. However, Swaruchi shows its guests that limits do not exist when it comes to plant-based cooking! This vegan restaurant is rated as one of the top in South Africa and for good reason!
Cape Town: The Hungry Herbivore
Address:11 Orphan St, Cape Town
Situated on Orphan Street, a quick stroll away from Cape Town’s famous “Long Street” – home to food, night clubs and rooftop bars aplenty. Cape Town has really begun to absorb the world of conscious eating, and is making it so common-place that choosing to eat at The Hungry Herbivore, for instance, won’t make you think twice. Not only does it serve a Vegan-dream of variety on its menu, but it also sells a range of snacks to make sure temptation is never the reason hungry herbivores stray from their track! Advice: go with the Kim Burger, you won’t be disappointed. This one is game over folks, this place is to die for.
The Passing of the Guard – From Meat to Vegan
These restaurants aren’t preaching change or maintaining that meat-eaters need to give up their habits instantly. No, instead, they’re providing realistic alternatives, that actually make you want to get involved. It stops the age-old insistence that the two worlds have to be separated, bridging the gap between vegans and meat-eaters alike. Now, everyone can visit these places and both parties will leave feeling entirely satisfied.
Megan Thomas is an international student in Cardiff UK. She is originally from South Africa and considers herself a local of Durban, Johannesburg, and Cape Town.