Ice-cream for breakfast anyone!? Of course that’s a yes! I mean, who wouldn’t – especially when it’s good for you!

Super green ‘Nice Cream’ Breakfast Bowls are just one of the seriously delicious and nutritious dishes on the brand new menu at Hoi An’s hip and happening yoga hub – Nomad Café. Yesterday I had the pleasure of sampling such delights and I have to say I was blown away by their brand new fully vegan menu.

As a ‘nomadic’ Nutrition Coach, when I decided to settle in Vietnam for two months it was important to me to find a place and community that aligned with healthy happy living I am used to from home, but which also gave me a chance to immerse into the local culture. I found Nomad to offer exactly this! Aside from the warm and friendly Expat and Vietnamese community vibe and top notch yoga and meditation classes, Nomad’s founder Natalie Prete and new head vegan chef Sara Ruperts have brought another dimension of health to Hoi An.

Veganism is not everyone’s cup of chai, and still often viewed as an extreme lifestyle choice. But there is no denying there are huge environmental and health benefits which anyone and everyone can attain through eating a variety of vegan meals as part of a healthy balanced lifestyle. From my own industry experience, I know that the number one thing all health and nutritional experts agree upon is that EVERYONE (especially in the West) needs to ‘eat more plant-based foods’… and this is where veganism totally kicks butt!

Containing zero animal derived ingredients, vegan dishes are, by default, jam-packed with Mother Nature’s finest nutrient rich foods including vegetables, herbs, spices, fruits, legumes and whole grains to name a few. Plant foods contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants, vitamins and minerals needed for long term health and longevity as well as healthy weight management. It is well known that protein is a key component of any healthy diet but what many people are not aware of is how plant proteins such as fermented soy (e.g. Tofu) and green powders such as Spirulina contain up to 50% more bioavailable (usable within the body) protein per gram of consumption than animal protein sources such as meat, eggs and dairy – go figure!

Many people have misconceptions about vegan cuisine being bland and boring – but if one place can convince you otherwise it is Nomad Café! As of Tuesday 4th July Nomad’s brand new vegan menu developed by Sara Ruperts will be in full swing and those who pop along to try it out will not be disappointed. Whether sweet or savoury is your choice of flavour this menu has something for everyone: Cinnamon rolls with homemade peanut glaze, Curry ‘quiche’ with tofu, white beans, mushroom and tomato, and daily Buddha Bowls filled with whole grains and delicious superfoods are to name a few of the fabulous dishes on offer.

Fermented foods also feature frequently on the menu including Kimchi, Sauerkraut and Kombucha – the healing health drink that has been on the yogi scene for years.

Sara’s journey to become a fully fledged vegan began back in her home country of Slovenia when her son developed a severe dairy intolerance. This led Sara and her family to take a serious look at their daily diet and as the reassessment of their lifestyle unfolded, they slowly made the transition to Veganism. Another lifestyle transition for Sara’s family was their move to Saigon just over two years ago. Here, Sara owned and managed a vegan bakery before recently moving to Hoi An. Many of the recipes that now feature on Nomad’s menu have come from a lot of ‘trial and error’ Sara tells me; some she brought with her from the bakery, but others are a result of recent inspiration. It seems the trial and error approach has paid off – I and dozens of other attendees of the tasting party can vouch for the fact that she has perfected her craft.

Both Natalie and Sara share a passionate vision for the future of Nomad Café, with their launch menu being just the start of something special. They agree this new venture would not be possible without their amazing Vietnamese kitchen staff who join them in their mission is to bring homemade, healthy, environmentally conscious and creative vegan cuisine to the community of Hoi An. And with talks of a monthly full moon ‘auspicious’ dinner party featuring five courses of varying ethnic cuisines (my mouth is watering!), I really wish I wasn’t leaving for Cambodia next week!