Having grown up in a family of vegetarians, Sumati Menda, Founder & Editor of Veggiebuzz.com has been blogging since 2014 and has created the perfect portal for veggie lovers. HEALTH meets the brains behind the blog.
Q WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR BLOG?
Menda: I have been vegetarian my whole life. I love to travel, and have eaten at a variety of restaurants the world over, from Michelin starred
restaurants to hole-in-the walljoints, and just about everything in between. My top priority has always been to seek out delicious vegetarian
food, without being limited to vegetarian-only restaurants. Also I noticed that there was a gap in the market as there were no vegetarianfriendly
online resources, so I decided that I needed to fill it.
Q DO YOU FEEL THERE IS A LARGE AUDIENCE FOR YOUR BLOG?
Menda: Based on my background and experiences, I launched Veggiebuzz as a blog in October 2014. It seemed like a natural step for me, as it was my way of sharing my vegetarian dining experiences with the world. Over time it evolved – I added vegetarian recipes, veggiefocused chef interviews, roundups and other fun features. As my readership grew, I decided to take the plunge and make it a full-blown user platform listing all veggiefriendly restaurants in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and including their most popular veggie options and vegetarian menus, which is where
we are now.
Q WHAT, IN YOUR EXPERIENCE, ARE THE MOST VERSATILE VEGETABLES THAT CAN BE USED IN BOTH SWEET AND SAVORY DISHES?
Menda: Carrot – in a delicious carrot cake or pudding, or a savory stir fry along with other vegetables. Pumpkin – used a lot in Indian cooking such as savory vegetarian kebabs. Sweet Potato I make a delicious sweet potato and quinoa burger, and of course sweet potatoes are great when slow roasted. Beetroot – I love a tart beetroot salad or a sweet beetroot juice.
Q WHEN YOU INCLUDE RESTAURANTS, RANGING FROM HIGH END TO HOLE IN THE WALL TYPES, WHAT CRITERIA ARE YOU APPLYING?
Menda: To be listed, a restaurant should have enough vegetarian options to create a substantial meal for one person. However, if there is
enough delicious variety for at least hree vegetarians dining together, then I consider that to be a really veggie-friendly restaurant.
Q WHICH BLOGGERS DO YOU ADMIRE?
Menda: I love following vegan recipes’ blogs such as Oh She Glows and Minimalist Baker – they have simple and imaginative recipes. I also regularly read Serious Eats and the Infatuation (both US based blogs) as they feature easy to read, fun reviews, roundups, cooking tips and recipes. All four of these blogs have become super successful with such simple concepts that are executed well.
Q WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE FAVORITE VEGETABLE DISHES AND WHY?
Menda: At restaurants: Lentil salad at La Serre, Italian Beef Tomato with Burrata at Marina Social as this one really stands out. Also Gemista at Mythos Kouzina & Grill, falafel sandwich at Al Mallah, home-cooked dishes/meals (all on the recipes section Veggiebuzz. com), Bisi Bele Bhaat – a fantastic south Indian vegetarian dish which is a completely wholesome meal in itself – on the recipes section of my blog. Tzatziki – Greek yogurt and cucumber based dish, Quinoa Salad – I have a recipe on my blog that is originally from La Serre but we make it at home on a regular basis.