Wed, Oct 21, 2015 - Page 12 News List

A vegantastic honor

Taiwan’s Mianto and Bio AtPeace Cafe are the only establishments in Asia that made this year’s Vegans Are Cool’s best restaurants list

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

Bio AtPeace serves mostly organic food, and vegetables are also sourced from local farmers. The seasonal menu is mostly Western — pitas, risotto, sandwiches — with some Asian and fusion dishes. Kelly Nicholls says they are constantly experimenting with combining Eastern and Western ingredients, such as their pate, which includes dried bean curd, soy sauce and lemon juice. Another favorite is their raw cheesecake, which consists mainly of coconut oil, lemon juice and cashews.

ROAD TO VEGANISM

One may become a vegan for health as well as ethical and environmental reasons. Some simply believe it is morally wrong to harm another living being, while others refuse to be involved in meat production, which they say is harming the environment through the amount of land and resources it requires as well as livestock emission of greenhouse gasses.

Andrew Nicholls grew up on a farm, where killing animals was an everyday chore. During university, he met a vegan and read the book Diet for a New America, which completely changed what he knew.

“As I did more research, I was like, ‘Who am I to exploit anything in this world?’” he says. “First I have to look at what I’m taking before I can give. If I can minimize the need to extract life and energy from this planet while trying to maximize my output, it makes sense on every level.”

Cason became a vegetarian about 14 years ago after a friend explained how animals suffer in the livestock industry. Later, she became vegan because of her health, and she says she hasn’t been to the doctor since.

“It started with my health, but when you get into it you find out so many things,” she says. “I didn’t know [livestock production] was a major cause of global warming.”

PROMOTING THE CAUSE

Both restaurants operate with a mission to show the public that vegan food can be delicious.

“If I just give you a piece of meat to eat, it’s going to be awful with no salt, pepper or spices,” Cason says. “It’s the same with broccoli and carrots. It should taste just as delicious.”

Andrew Nicholls says only when people realize that they, for example, like the vegan cheesecake as much as or more than a regular one, will they be more willing to learn about the lifestyle.

“You empower people by giving them options,” he says. “Give people good food, then let them ask questions.”

Cason says the best way is for people to do their own research, discuss it with her on their own accord and decide for themselves.

Andrew Nicholls says while he does believe that animals have souls and the right to life, he can’t prove it, so he uses science to talk to people about veganism.

“If I talk about ethics, it’s like making you feel guilty about what you’re doing,” he says. “The real research is that meat production is destroying the earth, absolutely and utterly.”

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