Happy tummy food at Maya Café

As I grow older, my appreciation for food that is good for me has grown too. Those who know me well might be quite incredulous of this statement – I am a meat-eating, butter-loving, cake-baking foodie who once would balk at the idea of putting a grain or pulse anywhere near my mouth. I honestly still feel like a meal without meat is not a fulfilling one – but I’m getting better.

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Maya Café

Having this food blog definitely helps me to be more open to the idea of eating vegetarian/raw/vegan food. Yes, I know they’re different, and that I’ve grouped all three together in a rather indifferent manner, and yet that’s what they are to me. Vegetarian/raw/vegan = boring. But as I’ve said, things are starting to change, and it’s nice having a light and unbloated tummy after a meal … every now and then.

Carrot juice

The Pick Me Up: Carrot, Apple & Ginger Juice

Red cabbage

The Raw Energy: Tomato, Red cabbage, Celery & Lemon Juice

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The juices are tasty and served in cute glass jars

Thanks to my beautiful veggie friend AB, I heard about Maya Café, located on Moon Street in the trendy Star Street area. She had brought home their quinoa salad as a starter when I went over for dinner at hers, and to my surprise … it was good!

Maya Café has been open for a couple of months and is owned by Mina, a super friendly and approachable Indian lady who runs the front-of-house, and Tina, the French chef. I was eavesdropping on a conversation at another table, and heard that Mina used to work in the diamond industry, and Tina used to be in fashion!

Mina was very happy to answer any questions that I  had about the menu. No butter or flour is used in any of their dishes, and whilst not all of the food is vegan, all of it is vegetarian.

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Dahl of the day – white, red and green lentils

Both the soup of the day and the dahl were vegan, and the dahl was particularly tasty! I am not a lentil lover, but there were lots of layers of satisfying flavour to this dish.

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Soup of the day: Sweet Pea Soup

For the main course, I just had to order the Quinoa Salad again. The veggies change according to what is freshly available.

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Quinoa Salad

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Grassroots Pantry

If there was any restaurant that would encourage me to become vegetarian, it’s this one. Tucked away at the end of a small lane, among the maze of one way streets in Sai Ying Pun, is this unassuming gem that is Grassroots Pantry. Inside and out, it is decorated to look like a beautiful summertime garden – plants and pretty flowers are thoughtfully placed around the interior and on the tables, birds adorn the wallpaper, and everything is pretty, fresh, light and bright.

It’s run by Chef Peggy Chan, who is encouraging the slow food movement by offering healthy dishes jam-packed full of good things and made with seasonal and (whenever possible) local organic produce. For anyone who thought that to be vegetarian is to be limited and bored with food (like me), then you should come here and stand corrected.

The cutest handmade menus

Everything about this boutique cafe concept is as ‘green’ and socially responsible as can possibly be, from the individual (The menu changes according to seasonal produce so that everything that goes in your stomach is as fresh as possible) to the community (they hold workshops and cooking classes to educate the people), and even beyond (they are in partnership with Table for Two , and charity that provides meals to children in need).

And now to the food… Continue reading