A friend once told me: It’s hard to be vegetarian in Manila. The choices for vegetarian, more so vegan, produce is slim to none, and is limited to the fruit and vegetable aisle or expensive specialized grocery stores. Raw vegan chef and advocate Mona Lisa Neuboeck thinks otherwise; if you’ve got the knowledge, you can treat your body well and eat excellent vegan food in Manila without compromising on flavor and breaking your bank. There are a lot of choices on Happycow.com – Just type ‘Manila, Philippines’ into the search bar. (You can even download the App for free on iTunes to get instant vegan/vegetarian dining options directly on your phone, even when traveling to whatever country in the world!). Here are Mona Lisa’s personal tips for eating vegan in the city.
1. Corner Tree Café
Not all of the ingredients used are certified organic on this place along Jupiter Street in Makati, but it is still a great lacto-ovo vegetarian restaurant with that cozy French Brasserie feel to it and jazz tunes playing in the background. This is where I usually meet up with people who are very dear to me.
2. Satinka Naturals Bistro & Café
This is an earthy little establishment located at 1137 Kamagong Street in Makati. The owner duo, an artsy couple from the mountain province of Kalinga offers organic dishes with vegetarian, vegan and a few raw food options.
3. JuJu Eats
Juju Eats is not a strict vegetarian restaurant but a very raw food / vegan friendly, healthy ‘fast food’ place along Pasong Tamo in Makati. Because it also offers non-vegetarian ingredients, I often take my non-vegan friends here to chat over a refreshing stainless-steel bowl full of salad and some mexican chocolate raw nut milk for dessert.
4. ‘Alive!’ at The Farm in San Benito
Located in The Farm in San Benito, Alive is my favorite vegan/raw food restaurant in the Philippines. Because it’s quite far from the city (it’s in Batangas). We usually only go there on special occasions to enjoy their world class 5 course raw food meals with epicure plating after an excellent massage treatment at their resident spa.
5. Sunday Market in Legazpi Village
Since we moved to Subic, we no longer go there religiously but we always try to pass by and grab some organic produce from the Kalinga Farmers whenever possible. My raw food ‘classmate’ Asha Peri (from way back in Bali where we both completed our raw food chef training with Elaina Love) sells some selected homemade raw food items such as cakes, cookies and dehydrated items at her ‘Leafkitchen’ stall there every Sunday morning.
6. Landmark Supermarket Makati
Believe it or not, but this is where my Partner Corey and I buy most of our organic green leafy vegetables at times when we aren’t growing our own. They have an alright organic produce section in their veggie chiller including Romaine, Chinese Kale, spinach, celery, cucumbers, tomatoes, curly lettuce and herbs. Rustans Supermarket Makati also offers the same selection as Landmark.