Thu, May 21, 2015 - Page 12 News List

Bake me a vegan cupcake

Cake lovers will come together for the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in Taipei this Sunday to raise funds for charity

By Dana Ter  /  Staff reporter

Mousse tarts from Fresh Bakery & Cafe are healthy and tasty.

Photo Courtesy of Fresh Bakery & Cafe

A couple of months ago, I was walking past rows of street vendors selling deep-fried Oreos and fried milk in a Kenting night market when I finally came upon a stand which displayed vegetables on skewers. I rejoiced and placed my order. But my heart sank quickly to the pavement when, in one swift move, the vendor lifted the skewer from the grill, dipped it a steaming pot of sweet, sticky sauce and handed it to me with a big smile on her face.

It’s no secret that for the more health conscious, and particularly in light of the recent food scandals, it can be a daily struggle to find a healthy, non-sweet, non-greasy meal in Taiwan.

Daisy Lin (林黛西), the founder of Bright Side Projects, a charity-based non-profit that helps underprivileged children, recognizes this. On Sunday, her other group, It’s A Vegan Affair, which organizes monthly potlucks and gatherings at restaurants, will be hosting, along with a few Taipei-based vegan bakeries, Taiwan’s first ever large-scale vegan bake sale.

The event, which will be held at Grandma Nitti’s Kitchen, is part of the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale, a bake-a-thon which takes place across many different countries to raise funds for charitable causes. Proceeds from Sunday’s sale will go to Bright Side Projects and Animals Taiwan, another non-profit devoted to the care and rehabilitation of injured stray animals.

NEW VEGAN EATERIES ON THE BLOCK

This is the first time that a vegan bake-a-thon has received such widespread support from the local level. Vegan restaurant chain Loving Hut’s Pingtung City branch participated in the Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale in 2010, but it lacked support and publicity. Lin says that not having corporate backing was certainly a reason why the event had a more widespread appeal this time around.

Performance notes

What: Worldwide Vegan Bake Sale

Where: Grandma Nitti’s Kitchen (中西美食), 8, Lane 93, Shida Rd., Taipei (台北市師大路93巷8號)

When: Sunday 1am to 5pm

Admission: Free

On the net: www.facebook.com/events/806086252810716


“It’s not just a vegan restaurant hosting an event, but people, both vegan and omnivores, taking the time to share a part of their lifestyle,” Lin tells the Taipei Times.

She adds that the number of bakers and volunteers who signed up is indicative of how people are becoming more willing to test out new foods and ideas. In fact, most of the participating bakeries, such as Fresh Bakery & Cafe (新鮮烘焙坊), Mianto (米愛多), Ooh Cha Cha (自然食), Soul R. Vegan (靈魂餐廳) and Nakedfood (裸食私廚), have only opened recently or within the last two years.

Lin was pleasantly surprised to discover the number of vegan eateries popping up in Taipei, but she also says that “they are still under the radar for the general population.”

Dairy-free diets, she adds, have been around in Taiwan for quite a while, as evidenced by the number of vegetarian buffets, although such places were, in the past, often greasy and for reasons that were primarily religious or dietary.

“That seems like it’s less of a choice than a compliance order, so it’s still a disassociation from health,” Lin says. “There is a lot of ground to tread in terms of linking veganism and vegetarianism to healthy eating and the even bigger picture of environmentalism.”

‘SILENT MOVEMENT’

Lin, who became a vegetarian in 2012, has been imparting her love and knowledge of healthy eating to friends and people she works with. One of the biggest question she gets about vegan baking is how it is possible to replace milk and eggs — the two most essential ingredients for baking, both of which derive from animals — with non-dairy products. Eggs, she says, can be replaced with flax seeds, bananas and applesauce, while soymilk, almond milk and oak milk could act as substitutes for animal milk.

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