The trend of veganism has recently hit the Lebanese market due to a rise in the awareness of animal cruelty, as well as its dietary and health benefits.
What many vegans don’t acknowledge is the amount of places, including restaurants, food markets and specialty stores that offer many vegan options.
One of the first to take the lead in offering vegan substitutes is Rodrigue’s Vegan Bites. The homemade concept offers nut cheeses, or Joubnat Laws, of different flavors such as chilli or black seeds.
Rodrigue also proposes vegan Chanklish as well as a non-dairy chocolate spread known as Chakala for all the chocolate lovers alike.
Other restaurants emerged out of the need for a vegan eatery such as Eat Sunshine. They propose a vast range of vegan friendly dishes, especially breakfast items. Chia pudding made with almond milk, acai bowls, and nut butter toasts are some of their specialities.
Jai, a thai and fusion restaurant found in Clemenceau is a dream for any vegan with their coconut milk based soup Tom ka Gai, bean stew called Dahl and other rich salads.
Many vegans in Beirut also tend to forget the variety of animal and dairy free products in the menus found in typical Lebanese restaurant such as Kababji, T-Marbouta, and many others.
From mdardara, tabbouleh, fattoush and hummus, to raheb salad, kebbet batata, hindbeh and vine leaves, vegans can enjoy a mezza on their own.
The Olive Tree is a staple for many vegans interested in eating bakery items filled with either tofu, rice labne, zaatar or even a choice of meatless lahm b’aajin. They also happen to have items such as the Steakless Sub, Meatless Burger, and Soyalicious Shawarma that actually fills the stomach to the brim, better than an average salad.
A small eatery in Hamra, better known as Aunty Salwa, also offers a list of vegan foods that our mothers feed us on the daily; such as okra in oil, pumpkin kebbe, burghul with tomato, and stuffed churd.
Larger institutions such as the Beirut Souks are also vegan friendly. Their weekly Saturday food market, Souk el Tayeb, hosts small businesses that sell locally grown and cultivated items. This includes homemade nut butters, snacks, vegetables and more!
There are three well-known specialty stores that target those with special dietary needs, which are La Vie Claire, A New Earth: Organic and Eco-Living Store, and Live Organic. They all propose a vast range of imported and local items suitable for vegans.
On the other hand, vegans in Beirut can also take inspiration from many of the Lebanese-based social media accounts that prepare vegan dishes and advise their followers on the places to grab a bite or their groceries from.
With the expansion of this habit in the area, many businesses are choosing to offer vegan-friendly options in order to satisfy the needs of every customer.