If you want to have dinner at the “world’s biggest” vegan restaurant, then you’re going to need to head to the city that loves to set big records: Dubai. The biggest city in the UAE, already home to the world’s tallest building (the 2,717-foot-tall Burj Khalifa) and the world’s biggest shopping mall (The Dubai Mall, by total area), will welcome the new record-setting vegan restaurant called Veganity, on August 16th.
Veganity made a name for itself in Dubai in 2017. That’s when its founder, chef Sky Sommers, began catering to the growing demand for vegan food in the Middle East with the launch of a meal delivery service. The company says it plans to maintain the meal service, and the restaurant will expand on its offerings.
“Taking it a step further, owner and head chef Sky Sommers wanted to create something that’s never been done before by opening the Veganity restaurant in the heart of Dubai on the main street of City Walk, creating a haven for vegans and non vegans to be able to enjoy healthy yet soulful gourmet food that’s just as enjoyable,” a spokesman for the restaurant told the National.
According to the company, Veganity is expected to expand to Abu Dhabi next, with other cities to follow. The restaurant boasts more than 200 international dishes. The menu includes gnocchi, vegan meatballs and pasta, vegan fried chicken, and a number of vegan desserts.
Vegan Demand In the Middle East
Just a few hours away from Dubai, Saudi Arabia is also experiencing a rapidly rising interest in the vegan diet.
“Concerns for health, animal rights and the environment are all proving to be key factors in motivating Saudis to change their diets and stop using animal products,” reports Arab News.
“With increasing numbers of shops and restaurants in the Kingdom now offering a wider range of vegan and vegetarian products, the shift from meat is becoming all the more palatable for many young Saudis.”
Israel has long been considered the “vegan capital” of the world, with a strong vegan population including a growing percentage of the nation’s military adhering to the lifestyle. McDonald’s recently added a vegan burger to its Israeli locations. The nonprofit Vegan Friendly has seen success in transitioning Israeli bakeries to vegan egg and milk products to meet the growing demand.
“At the moment we’re focusing on bakeries. When we get to a point where 60 to 70 percent of pastries in Israel are vegan, we’ll move on to other products,” Vegan Friendly founder Omri Paz said in a recent interview.
As for Dubai, animal products are still in high demand, but vegan food continues to attract new consumers daily.
“People think we eat like rabbits but everything you ate before you can just make vegan and it’s way healthier,” Sommers said in an interview last year with website Grazia. “My hope is to mainstream the plant-based movement.”