In a land where steak rules, local foodie blogger and vegan Karen Louise Fletcher reveals the amazing and delicious vegan options in her home town, Cape Town
Vegetable display at Oranjezicht Market (Oranjezicht Market)
In Cape Town, we’re all obsessed with fresh produce. To stock up, I love visiting the Saturday morning food in Cape Town. I recommend visiting either Oranjezicht Market (every Saturday 9am-2pm) or Neighbourgoods Market (every Saturday 9am-3pm). Not only can you tap into local fresh food from around the area, but you'll get to know the people harvesting and producing the goods as well.
The setting at Oranjezicht Market is particularly breathtaking, with the iconic Table Mountain in the background and the glistening ocean ahead. Neighbourhoods Market has a hip and industrial vibe, and is housed in a historic sky-lit warehouse of The Old Biscuit Mill. When you visit the markets, you must try the Naartjies (also known as satsumas) and don’t leave without a jar of Cape Gooseberry jam which the region is famous for.
Near the Neighbourgoods Market is Raw And Roxy, a great cafe for strictly raw and vegan goods. The avocado chocolate ganache cake is to die for and the vitamin-charged juices are a great option for grab-and-go.
Diners at Plant Cafe (Plant Cafe)
Plant Cafe is the local go-to for vegans and the first vegan eatery to open in Cape Town. Think comfort foods and everyday foods, all made with vegan ingredients. They also have a great selection of good wines and craft beers. Devil’s Peak King’s Blockhouse IPA is a particular favourite.
For breakfast, I’m a sucker for their Breakfast Bowl with almond milk, frozen bananas, pea protein powder, avocado and raw cacao topped with fresh strawberries, banana, toasted coconut nibs, nuts and granola. It’s balanced, colourful and delicious. When it comes to getting my fix of carbohydrates, I love their 'Dirty Mac & Cheese’.
All the food at Plant Cafe is made from scratch, from the mayo and other sauces down to their cheese and tempeh bacon. A percentage of their profits is donated to human-based and animal-based charities, so you can feel good inside and be happy where your money is going.
Their dedication to promoting a compassionate lifestyle is remarkable and its welcoming and relaxed atmosphere makes it a frequent hotspot.
Vineyard in Franschoek (Grande Provence Estate)
Franschhoek is 85 kilometres from Cape Town but well worth the journey. It has 18 different wine and brandy routes for exploring, as well as the possibility of touring specific wineries for tasting. It even has a tiny train you can ride in order to explore many of the different vineyards and estates, which is both fun and convenient.
Grande Provence Estate is a very popular option and rightly so. It’s everything you want in an estate, with plush surroundings, stunning settings of the vineyards that produce the wine you’re drinking, and, of course, a great variety and quality of wines. You can even stroll through their exhibition space, which often has local artwork on show, and can book for dinners and lunches too.
A ‘must’ when in the region is to enjoy a gourmet picnic. The setting is incredible, and it’s fantastic to enjoy good wine, food and company in and amongst fantastic scenery.
Waterford Estate in in Stellenbosch (a closer alternative to Franschhoek at only 50km from Cape Town) do a great wine and chocolate pairing session too.
Meal time at Karen’s (Karen Louise / VizEat)
There’s no greater experience for those visiting Cape Town than to share a meal with a local. It’s a great chance to eat authentic local food, share stories and gain a deeper understanding of cultural nuances, the history of the area and the best things to do, places to go and, of course, things to eat. South Africans are a naturally hospitable bunch, so you may get an invite from someone you meet in a pub or on the bus to the Waterfront.
There are also websites that help you ‘book’ a meal with locals. I’m a member of VizEat, for example, and love welcoming travellers and locals alike to eat dinner with me and my partner at our home in Green Point Village, a heritage area in Cape Town. My sushi is very popular, if I do say so myself, and my gazpacho, grazing salads and chocolate mousse go down well too.
Cooking with tempeh (Sexy Food)
Sexy Food is another great Vegan option in the city. Check out their popular Instagram account for a real feel for their hip and young vibe, exuded in ingredients, presentation and atmosphere. It’s also a great way to whet your appetite, whether you’re going to one of their market pop-ups or their 190 Bree Street cafe.
For drinks, they have a great juice made from slow fermented kimchis and a brilliant turmeric chia kefir smoothie. When it comes to food, try their probiotic pickled eggs and their fantastic salad bowls. They really do deliver out-of-the-box healthy and different food for vegans.
You can also buy their ‘Sexy Sauce’ and ‘Sexy Kimchi’, all perfectly packaged in their stylish jars.
Karen Louise is a member of VizEat, a social eating platform that operates in 130 countries and offers authentic immersive food experiences including dinners, cooking classes and food tours. For more information, visit VizEat.com.
Main image: Creamy chickpea soup and chia crackers (Dreamstime)