The Middle East’s first vegan food festival takes place in Dubai this month

The rise of Veganuary – the concept saw more than 500,000 attendees in 2021 – has inspired restaurants in Dubai to offer special menus, promotions and dishes throughout the month entirely meatless. In fact, it resulted in the first-ever Vegan Food Festival in the Middle East.

The Vegan Food Festival is being hosted by Expo 2020 Dubai from January 14-30 to shed light on sustainable food and prove that vegan food goes far beyond tofu and tempeh.

“The showcase will showcase new restaurants, including London’s Asian-inspired Holy Carrot and Brighton’s carbon-free Erpingham House, and will also spotlight local eateries,” the festival said in a statement. “The festival isn’t just about food either and will feature everything from ethical spas and an eco-market with sustainable products, to talks by notable personalities and a lineup of DJs.”

The ten-day pop-up event will take place throughout Expo 2020 Dubai, from the sustainability district to African dining venue Alkebulan, where customers will find everything from Sticky No Chicken Bites to Red Green Red (a version plus peas in the eyes).

New vegan additions have also been added to menus at Long Chim, Kutir, Mangrove Philippines Cuisine and The Local Aussie Grill, among others. Celebrity chef Matthew Kenney will also be serving take-out vegan drinks and meals throughout the event.

Veganuary has also influenced other hotspots in the city: locals and visitors to Dubai can experience the new plant-based and sustainable offerings at Atlantis, The Palm, where the brand is committed to sustainability by working with local farmers and indigenous ingredients to cut reduce their carbon footprint. The resort’s restaurants are brimming with more than forty creative vegan offerings that are sure to satisfy plant eaters and curious omnivores.

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Tanya S. Norvell