Top 5 Vegan Food in Poblacion, Makati City

Here is a starter list for anyone looking for vegan or vegetarian food in Poblacion, Makati City. From vegan pizza to Makati’s second-best hummus.

Looking for vegan food in Poblacion to sweeten that space between bars? Line your stomach with some of the finest international vegan cuisine in town, by visiting any of the following 5 eateries.

Where there is a will, there is a way. And where there is a demand, there is a supply. In Poblacion, Makati City’s thriving and vibrant red light district and social hub, there is, it seems, a demand for great vegetarian and vegan food. From hole-in-the-wall vegan pizza at great prices, to much larger establishments, Poblacion has it all. And here are my top 5 recommendations!

All of the following are nestled right within the Poblacion district, so don’t worry about walking too far from place to place! It’s easier to find vegan food in Poblacion, Makati, than you thought.

5. The Social: Indonesian

While it may not be an exclusively vegan, or even vegetarian, place, The Social’s very own Indonesian kitchen is definitely worth a visit. Tucked into the courtyard of The Social – Poblacion’s answer to ‘those hot sweaty nights’ – this little nook produces a range of Indonesian delights.

Their menu may be somewhat unpredictable (depending on how generous you’re feeling, you might call it rotating or dynamic), but on a good night, there will be three or four delicious vegetarian and/or vegan options. These include (and may or may not be limited to) gado gado, laksa, nasi campur and sate. Ask them what they can do for YOU. And maybe they’ll do it.

They don’t seem to have a web presence, so you’ll have to take my word for it!

4. Greenery Kitchen

For over 10 years, Greenery Kitchen has been producing some of the finest vegan/vegetarian takes on classic Filipino foods such as kare-kare and sisig. They also run a delivery service and will deliver straight to your door, on a one-off or regularised basis. You will not regret it. Try this food!

If you live close by, it is also worth checking out their organic vegetable boxes, packed with love and delivered directly to you. Choose from different size boxes, and select or de-select in order to design your perfect combination of delicious fruits and veggies.

Visit their website here.

3. The Social: Crosta Vegan Pizza

Steaming into third place is The Social’s other offering. Crosta is hailed by many as the producer of Makati’s best pizza. It certainly makes Makati’s best VEGAN PIZZA.

Not only do they have a solid and original vegan pizza menu, but they will accommodate adjustments too. With a variety of cheeses, mushrooms and other tidbits to choose from, plus stuffed crusts to boot, you’ll have your taste buds tingled to high heaven.

If you want cheese and haven’t got much to spend, you can go for their Basic Bitch, a classic mozzarella which comes in at just 200 pesos. Their vegan offerings will set you back a bit further, up to 500 pesos, but they’re worth it for the decadent delight you’ll feel with every bite.

2. Cosmic Vegan Cafe

Vegan, check. Poblacion, check. Makati, yes.

In second place is one of Poblacion’s, or even Makati’s, vegan staples – a veritable institution of vegan deliciousness. Self-described as a ‘vegetarian & vegan cafe and bistro’, Cosmic is almost a world in and of itself, a microclimate of vegan friendliness just waiting to take you into its folds.

From their website:

Contrary to popular belief, vegetarian and vegan food should actually be more affordable. We want diners to try our version of everyday Japanese, Italian, Filipino, and Mexican dishes without breaking the bank.

The folks behind Cosmic have been vegetarians beyond their recall and Cosmic was built out of passion and need for more vegetarian and vegan options for Manila’s growing health-conscious dwellers.

Agreed! That’s why Cosmic produces healthy, affordable, traditional and fusion foods that everybody can enjoy. You can dine on their delectable Filipino classics – their sisig, for example, absolutely swings – or go for something with a western bent. They are the proof that veganism doesn’t need to cost you. With meals for as little as PHP200, your wallet will thank you.

On top of this, they champion a bunch of great community outreach projects, and host workshops and events in their upstairs lounge, including music meditation sessions. They are great. Check them out!

1. Hummus Elijah
The best vegan food in Poblacion, Makati

It’s come to this. And it’s not even a specialised ‘vegan’ restaurant! Hummus Elijah is another bastion of the vegetarian/vegan cause in Makati. They produce some of the best hummus, falafel, and baklava this side of the South China Sea. If you’re looking for vegetarian or vegan food in Poblacion, Makati, this is the place for you.

A bunch of restaurants and cafes even source their ingredients from Hummus Elijah. Without them, Makati City would not be the same.

They offer a range of Mediterranean and Middle Eastern foods – call it Palestinian, Jordanian, Lebanese or Turkish, they have it covered. They’ll deliver it to your door or you can go in to experience the sumptuous menu in the setting they intended it for. Unbeatable.

From their website:

We aim to provide the friendliest, most helpful service and the freshest, best tasting hummus, salads and platters. We want our guests to integrate Hummus Elijah into their daily healthy lifestyles through our fast service, welcoming atmosphere and of course delicious food.

Get through those doors and eat that hummus!

*

For more vegan-related writing, read any of the following:
Milking the issue – arguments about the best milk substitute
Where To Eat Vegan Food in Sri Lanka, and Chinese

More Manila guides can be found in the Manila page!

Milking the issue – arguments about the best milk substitute

Milk substitutes get a lot of flak — they are hypocritical, they are unhealthy, they are bad for the planet, they use too much water, they shouldn’t be called milks, and so on. In trying to sort wheat from chaff, I have found that, largely, these criticisms are unfounded, rooted in misunderstanding and/or peddled by dairy lobbyists. But scare stories stick in the mind, and often require unwedging. The question of ‘what is the best milk substitute’ is buried under mindless prejudices.

Many of the shots fired masquerade as legitimate, informed concerns, be they medical, ecological or nutritional. However, many of them require little research to dislodge.

What is the best milk substitute?

Soy milk

Criticisms of soy include the causation of hormonal misbalance, or a ‘feminising’ effect on men (untrue / incomprehensively tested / tested on animals, rather than humans). There was one guy who reported increased oestrogen levels, and breast tenderness, but he was drinking six pints of soy milk a day: too much, as they say, of a good thing.

Soy is also panned for its monoculturism. Production has increased fifteen-fold since the 1950s, and is mostly limited to the United States, Brazil and Argentina. It is true that soy accounts for the second largest portion of deforestation worldwide — after cattle ranching. Plantations are ploughed into land which, for generations, has been used for subsistence farming. The forest, rugged yet fragile, loses its balance. More than 200 tribes, comprising 650,000 Brazilian Indians, are threatened by the expansion of agricultural and grazing (read: soy and ranching) land. Jaguars are dying.

So, is soy bad? Well, on such grand scales, yes. But 70–75% of soy worldwide is used for livestock feed. 32 million acres of South American soy-growing land feeds Europe’s meat and dairy industries — equivalent to three Switzerlands. So with ranching in the top position, and soy, three quarters of which is converted into animal feed, in second place, any criticism of soy monocultural deforestation is more justly levelled at the meat industry (having been multiplied, by three or more).

Almond milk

Almond milk has come under fire too, for its allegedly astronomical levels of water wastage — a wave of criticism set off by a dietary consultant of the diary industry, albeit a lactose-free arm.

A widely shared graphic, cited by the BBC, shows almond milk water use to be substantially higher than that of oat, soy or rice milks. Almonds are one of the most water-intensive crops in California, requiring approximately 1 gallon per almond. However, dairy milk water use is still nearly twice as high.

The results are derived from a University of Oxford study. Taking into account 38,700 farms and 1,600 processors, the study finds that ‘the impacts of the lowest-impact animal products exceed average impacts of substitute vegetable proteins’, almost across the board. (It shows as much as 105kg of CO2 is produced per 100g of beef protein, compared to 3.5kg of CO2 per 100g of tofu protein) The Guardian’s environment editor talks about this too.

“Save the bees; drink dairy.” During the winter of 2018–19, an estimated 50 billion bees were ‘wiped out’ during the Californian almond harvest. But the news articles and opinion pieces which actually investigate this typically point to industrialised farming methods as the primary culprit, not the fact of almond consumption — nor, indeed, almond milk production.

A typical line runs as follows:

If you’ve given up dairy in a quest to be a little kinder to the planet, we’ve got bad news. Your almond milk latte obsession may be doing more harm than good.

NewsHub

Well, no it’s not, because it’s not dairy, which is doing more harm than good, and more harm than almonds — much more. Waves of bandwagon/shifting-the-blame criticism like this prompt such high-grade opinion-havers as Piers Morgan to tweet things like “the mass slaughter of billions of bees is on YOU vegans [and] vegetarians,” which is super intelligent, because only 1/25 of almonds are actually used to make almond milk (my estimate, calculations below).

[The United States produces 2 million tonnes of almonds per year. Global almond milk sales for 2018 were just under $6 billion. Divide this by a conservatively low retail cost per litre ($1.50) = 4 billion litres, consisting of 98% non-almond ingredients (water, vitamins, salt, oil, etc.). My own shaky maths gives a total of 80 million kg (or 80,000 tonnes) total mass of almonds used to produce almond milk per year (those pesky vegans are so thirsty), out of total almond production of 2 million tonnes (in the US alone), accounting for just 4% of almonds produced.]

“Your ‘animal ethics’ don’t extend to the little guys,” Piers adds. And yours, apparently, don’t extend to one of the most intelligent animal species on the planet.

Drinking the milk of a cow does nothing to salvage the fate of the bees. Plus, if the lives and livelihoods of droves of bees are of value, why then should the mass slaughter of larger mammals be ignored? Per litre, almond milk accounts for a quarter of the carbon emissions of dairy milk. Any criticism aimed at the almond industry, its affiliates and associates, should surely be multiplied and redirected at dairy.

Oat, Cashew, Hazelnut & Rice milks

As far as I can tell, basically no one has beef with oats. The Oatly brand got a bit of stick for selling shares to China Resources, and running an ad campaign tagged with a line reminiscent of a ‘quit drinking’ slogan, but besides that it’s actually hard to find any criticism online. Drink away.

The cashew industry certainly presents an ethical dilemma, but again, it has nothing to do with the fact of cashews being processed into a milk substitute.

In 2011, a Human Rights Watch report exposed the conditions in Vietnamese forced-labour camps, in which cashew nuts were being processed. Fortunately, this particular punitive slavery practice has been put to an end. Still, cashews are harvested and processed manually, which takes several steps. Exposure to the caustic oils contained within layers of cashew shell causes painful burns and lung irritation, and many workers choose not to wear gloves, in favour of unconstrained handiwork.

Turkey produces and exports three quarters of the world’s hazelnuts, 30% of which are sold to Germany. Productivity is affected by disease and climate. No highlighted concerns.

Rice milk substitute is fine, as long as you don’t drink nothing other than rice milk, while also eating nothing other than rice. Criticisms are hard to find. Plus side: if you have a nut allergy, you can still drink this (because it doesn’t contain nuts).

Basically, it seems, cashew, hazelnut and rice milks don’t offend anyone like Piers Morgan because they are not widespread and popular enough to challenge the status quo. People get tizzy and amplify concerns over soy and almond milks because they are disrupting the dairy-ruled equilibrium, and because, as a rule, people click on headlines which are provocative and reactionary.

In an era where environmental consciousness is entering the mainstream, we owe it to ourselves to sit on the right side of the fence. Plant-based milk substitutes are no longer the domain of the hip, nor do they belong to alternative communities. They have firmly wedged themselves into everyday life. Sacrifices no longer have to be made. Pathos, or ‘loving animals’, is no longer required to make the transition. People are starving, or obese, or sick; the world is burning, sinking and melting; vegans, like non-alcoholics, or those who have quit smoking, are often healthier and happier than meat-eaters; Logos wins outright. It is simply more sensible.

What you can do

Make your own milk — the best milk substitute is a homemade milk substitute (that ancient adage). Almond, oat, soy, even cashew and hazelnut (though these last two are costly). Source your products as locally as possible, control the variables, drink at your leisure.

Buy organic, and/or local. No pesticides, less water, less guilt.

Consider the options. Basically any milk is better than cow’s milk. Remember, mammals are only supposed to drink animal milk while they are suckling. From a bunch of perspectives, it makes much more sense to make opaque white protein-filled liquids from plants instead. Try all of them, see which you like best.

In a nutshell, then:
To minimise CO2 emissions, drink almond.
To minimise land use, drink rice.
To minimise water use, drink soy.

On the other hand, if you want to increase the risk of heart diseaseweakened bonesprostate cancer, while contributing more generously to deforestation, habitat loss, global carbon emissions and water usage, while also minimising the number of times you are insulted by Piers Morgan,

…drink cow.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to share.
Pea milk article coming soon.

Let cows live as cows, please.

*

This article also appears on Medium, along with several others to do with the environment and politics.

For more vegan/plant-based articles (including itineraries and restaurant recommendations), head over to the Sri Lanka and Philippines archives!

Sources:

https://www.baldwin.senate.gov/imo/media/doc/S.%20130%20DAIRY%20PRIDE%20Act.pdf

https://www.nielsen.com/us/en/insights/article/2017/animal-or-plant-understanding-north-american-protein-preferences/

https://waterfootprint.org/en/water-footprint/product-water-footprint/

https://www.ediblebrooklyn.com/2019/plant-milks-sustainability/

https://health.usnews.com/health-news/blogs/eat-run/2014/06/10/non-dairy-milks-once-the-solution-now-part-of-the-problem

https://www.truthordrought.com/almond-milk-myths

https://www.plantbasednews.org/news/piers-morgan-brands-vegans-hypocrites

https://academic.oup.com/humupd/article/15/4/423/733861

https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fertnstert.2010.03.002

http://content.time.com/time/world/article/0,8599,2092004,00.html

https://www.worldwildlife.org/magazine/issues/summer-2018/articles/what-are-the-biggest-drivers-of-tropical-deforestation

http://www.fao.org/3/x4484e/x4484e03.htm

https://www.ishs.org/ishs-article/1226_2

https://www.seeker.com/iq-tests-suggest-pigs-are-smart-as-dogs-chimps-1769934406.html

https://qz.com/1737048/is-your-cashew-milk-latte-an-ethical-choice/

https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/lifestyle/2020/01/bees-doomed-thanks-to-world-s-almond-milk-obsession-report.html

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2020/jan/07/honeybees-deaths-almonds-hives-aoe

Where To Eat Vegan Food in Sri Lanka, and Chinese

Sri Lanka’s southern coast is replete with delicious, wholesome vegan and vegetarian food – you just need to know where to look!

Originally published on Travelista
Read my other sri lanka stories here

Sandy beaches and coconut trees are a dime a dozen on Sri Lanka’s south coast. Many praise the ‘Wonder of Asia’ for its verdant jungles, luscious flora and elephantine fauna. Indeed, there is something to suit every person, every taste: romantic lagoon retreats for couples, backpackers’ hostels for the solo traveller, five star hotels for the affluent and honeymooners. But can you find vegan food in Sri Lanka? Simply put, yes you can.

The beaten path is well trodden. Kite surfers go to Kalpitiya, surfers to Weligama or Arugam Bay and history seekers flock to Anuradhapura and Sigiriya. For less than a day’s salary in some parts of the world, you can find yourself in the back of a jeep, inches from the lowly flapping ears of an Elephas maximus (Sri Lankan elephant).

Such activities are well and good—they are well infrastructured and cater to the taste buds of tourists. However, for this very same reason, it can be difficult to find peace, and space, when partaking in them (and without spending lots of money on an expensive resort).

Sometimes the best thing is to take a step back, and relax at the Japanese Peace Pagoda, Unawatuna. Watching the sun dip below the horizon while encased in its smooth white walls, a certain serenity descends.

Great Hikes

Or, if you want to keep moving, take a rucksack and go for a long walk around part (or all!) of the perimeter of Koggala Lake. While crocodiles were introduced to the lake some years ago, its size means you are unlikely to encounter any. Romping from shore to shore, you can let the quietude of Koggala wash over you. If you go at the right time, you may even see traditional stilt fishermen, alert upon their pedestals, eyes trained on the abyss beneath.

Great Beaches

Or, if you would rather spend some time near the sea, make a visit to Coco Beach, where you can snooze in a hammock big enough for three people, or soar on their giant rope swing out over the ocean. Be careful though, the sea can be a bit rough!

But this isn’t really about hiking, hammocks or swings. It is about the most important thing in the world – food. Where can you find vegan food in Sri Lanka?

Read on to find out where to eat delicious vegan, Chinese and Mexican food on Sri Lanka’s south coast.

You can also find the full version of this article on Medium, along with several others. Read about Sri Lanka’s problems, namely sexism and police corruption, as well as its blessings.