Spotlight on PLANT

By Chey Olexa

Now is the best time to start being conscious of your environmental impact. Eating healthier and following a vegan diet has become a popular lifestyle choice. With all the subtle and obvious animal ingredients used in Korean foods, it can be difficult to find something to eat when you’re avoiding any animal product. But look no further, there are still plenty of options for our plant-based eating friends.

Plant’s founder Mipa Lee was born in Busan and was raised all over the world. When she returned to Korea as an adult, she started to become aware of her impact on the environment and is a plant-based eater as well. Lee started a blog to document her new life to help provide resources for vegans in Seoul. This led to her starting fundraisers and eventually creating an online shop which would quickly expand. The original Plant shop opened its doors in July 2013 in Itaewon. Lee already had a following which gave the shop a loyal following. In 2017, the second and bigger location opened not too far away from the original. Plant Café & Kitchen has since became a leader in serving good plant-based food and promoting sustainability. They’re working on reducing their use of single use plastics, they support local farmers, and their head chef is also a lady.

Foods

There are a few staple ingredients that are meat substitutes that you should get used to in a vegan diet. All over their food menu is tofu and tempeh (fried soybeans). They are a good source of protein and can provide great flavor when made right. Plant uses tempeh as a bacon substitute in a few dishes such as their mac n cheese and tlt sandwich that takes a twist on a bacon lettuce tomato sandwich.

Most places if they provide anything vegetarian, they’ll have a plant-based or veggie burger. They have three different burgers you can try here. Two of these have cashew-based cheese and sriracha aioli as toppings. An interesting take they have is a vegan chili as a topping. For anyone who can’t have bread or have sensitivities, you can order any of the burgers without buns.

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After 5:00 p.m., you can get some tasty pasta at Plant. They have all the classics available: fettuccine and cream, mac n cheese, and spaghetti and meatballs. Their meatballs are made from tempeh and mushrooms. Their non tomato sauces are cashew based and have no dairy. Two of the dishes do have mushrooms in them, but don’t let that put you off if you don’t like them. They can be a very important ingredient and can be made in different ways that actually change the taste and texture.

Plant has a few tasty salad choices. You could get a classic Caesar salad, you could get a quinoa and tofu feta salad with beets, or you could get one with hummus and squash. All options come with bread.

They have so many other amazing options. Other than their TLT, they have a few great wrap options like their tempeh rainbow wrap. Inside this wrap is tempeh strips, pickled cabbage, coconut cheese, different greens, and their sriracha aioli which makes quite a rainbow of flavor and nutrients.

If none of the above appeal to you, there are still more options you can explore. They have a vegetable and meat substitute stew. If you like curry, they have their own that they serve with rice. For breakfast, you can get their breakfast wrap with tofu scramble and potato. A favorite is the veggie bowl with lentils and rice that resembles a taco bowl without meat.

Drinks

Like all cafes, there are plenty of coffees and tasty drinks to try. They have classic espresso drinks, all flavored with non dairy milks. For the tea drinkers, there are so many options for you. From peppermint to earl grey, and some fruit flavors, you can get them hot or iced. Plant does not have your usual juices though. Instead of apple and orange, you’ll find carrot and beet based with other fruits and vegetables as accents with no sugars added. If you want your drinks a little sweeter, they have smoothies too. They have a protein smoothie with bananas and peanut butter for those needing that boost. They have all the fruit varieties like mango and pineapple. Plant also makes their own strawberry milkshake with vegan whipped cream for those who want a healthier alternative to feed their sweet tooth.

Plant’s bakery location has plenty of options that change daily. The best way to check what they have is to visit. They do have lots of cakes, including carrot cake and berry, chocolate peanut butter and earl grey. They recently posted about their Nutella cupcakes and mint Oreo cupcakes that you can order. You can also find different tarts and muffins and so many items here so we recommend a visit yourself.

Sometimes it can feel hard to eat healthier. Places like Plant really do understand and do their best to be that place that you genuinely don’t feel guilty after going. Make sure to pay attention to your environmental impact. Even if you aren’t vegan, plant-based foods are always worth a try. There’s bound to be something you’ll like. There are plenty of ways you can also learn to be a little less wasteful. Remember: We have one earth, and we must take care of it.

Written by Chey Olexa

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