Vegan's Chronicles + [vegan product]

ADO in Manila: Veg-Friendly Greenbelt Mall

I think Chris lives in the best neighborhood of Manila because not only is he so close to the weekly Legazpi Market, but he's also quite literally a block away from Greenbelt, which is a gigantic mall with 5 different parts, boasting all the famous designer shops, several bookstores, coffee shops, movie theaters, and countless restaurants. It had been a while since I was in a real mall (Coex ain't a mall), and I was overwhelmed.

On one side of the mall, there's a lush green garden~

A view of the inside~ Fancy shmancy lights!

I think what surprised me the most was just how many restaurants there were. While we were in Manila, we ate several of our meals at Greenbelt, since it was so close by. I'm sure that outside of Makati, finding good vegan food would've been a challenge, but there wasn't a shortage of veg options in this area. Since Chris is also vegan, he had a list of restaurants he wanted to take us to, so I really didn't have to worry about what to eat.

For our first lunch, we hit up a food-court, "neo-vegan" cafe spot called 'Chimara,' which serves pita wraps with vegan meat, nachos, salads, and tofu and fruit chips. I'm not exactly sure what they mean by "neo-vegan" because it wasn't a totally vegan restaurant. Some dishes had dairy and eggs, and I think some might've also included some seafood. Either way, the majority of the menu was vegetarian, and the food was healthy, fresh, and fast.

I love that they quote Ghandi on their cups! "We must be the change we wish to see in the world."

I ordered their 'Orange Chickin Salad' that came with tofu chips and their signature mango vinaigrette dressing on the side. It was really nice and light. Not exactly bursting with strong flavors, but still a very lovely salad.

Chris' pita wrap stuffed with healthy goodness.

Tofu 'French' onion soup with parmesan cheese sprinkled on top. I'm sure this could easily be veganized.

Yunseo's tofu & bean wrap with pesto. She wasn't a big fan of this, but I actually really liked it. I thought it had a lot of great flavor~ All in all, I really enjoyed Chimara. I wish someone could open one of these in Korea.

For one of our dinners at Greenbelt Mall, we ate at a Chili's restaurant. They didn't have the most extensive veg menu, but we went with their veggie fajitas, and pomodoro pasta dish. The veggies in the fajita were great, and the black beans on the side were also yummy.

This was alright, but nothing to write home about. The pasta was even a little cold... . Chili's needs to work on that. :)

While we were in Makati, Chris also took us to a Spanish tapas restaurant solely to taste their vegan paella (I noticed quite a lot of Spanish-style restaurants there, since the Philippines was colonized by Spain). I've never had paella before, but I've always wanted to try it, so I was thrilled to know that I would get to eat a vegan version. As is common when ordering paella, we had to wait a while for our food to come out, but it was more than worth the wait in the end.

Our vegan paella in all is glory. There were so many different types of veggies in it, like artichokes, carrots, bell peppers, peas, olives, green beans, potatoes, mushrooms, limes, and those long pale things that I don't know the name of. It was indeed a harmonious symphony of flavor. After one bite, I understood why Chris goes back for this as often as he does.

Chris apparently knows my weakness for vegan food shopping and he took me to my vegan heaven- a health food store called 'Healthy Options,' located in Greenbelt Mall. I was like a kid in a candy store, repeatedly going up and down the isles, ooh-ing and ahh-ing over everything, trying to restrain myself from buying out the whole store...

They had the biggest selection of Bob's Red Mill products I have seen anywhere, even in the States! They had EVERYTHING. All the different flours, grains, baking powders, seeds, oats, brans... .

... and an entire wall of non-dairy milks.

They had it all. Soy milk, rice milk, and also almond milk (not pictured).

Veggie Pirate's Booty!

Chocolate, chocolate, chocolate~

After seeing everything at the 'Healthy Options' store, I came away insanely jealous of Chris and his neighborhood. I was literally tempted to pack up my life here in Seoul and relocate in Makati, Manila. If I lived a block away from such a veg-friendly spot, vegan life would be so easy! I realized how far Korea has to go in terms of supplying vegan pantry staples. I'm so glad that Chris took me there, cuz I was able to stock up on things that I cannot find in Korea, like wheat germ, oat bran, and wheat bran, to name a few. Yes, my backpack was considerably heavier on the flight back!