Tag Archives: Vegetarian

food + drinks by Sam Potenciano

Here’s What’s Inside Manila’s First Healthy Snack Subscription Box

Raw Bites delivers handpicked mystery snacks from across the globe straight to your doorstep.

Snack time can be real dangerous territory, especially when juggling office hours tends to lead to bottoming out and mindlessly reaching for whatever crunchy, salty thing will tide you over ‘til the end of the day. For Raw Bites co-founders Gail Go and Jane Dee, finding a convenient, accessible way to provide clean workday fuel to the Metro became their top priority.

“We really wanted to be an importer of healthy snacks in the Philippines, but we didn’t want to just put up some grocery store,” co-founder Gail Go says. “We landed on the idea of the subscription model because it felt like a new, hip, and relevant way to reach our target market.” Raw Bites was conceived in the same vein as other popular subscription services before it, like L.A.’s Loot Crate (the heavily podcast-promoted start-up that delivers pop culture collectibles to your doorstep) and London’s Birchbox (which curates monthly themed boxes of sample sized beauty products).Screen Shot 2017-05-05 at 4.25.07 PMBy the 28th of each month, Raw Bites subscribers get to place orders for either a regular (up to 10 snacks) or premium box (up to 15) that then gets shipped to their doorstep by the first week of the following month. Inside is a surprise assortment of curated snacks from different health food brands from all over the world. “First of all, we try everything, so the only things that make it into the box are products that we personally love and believe in,” Go shares. “We make sure we hit certain categories every month as well—like bars, cereals, crackers, and drinks.”

“We also want to do something that’s more holistic, so inside you won’t just find snacks, but also recipes and vouchers for fitness trials and even apparel discounts,” Dee adds. “We wanted to create the complete package to complement your healthy snacking habits.”

A few of the treats that await subscribers once they receive this month’s globally-sourced box: Pic’s Peanut Butter Slug (New Zealand), Rude Health’s Beetroot bar (UK), Take Root’s Dark Chocolate Brownie Bliss Balls (Philippines), and Raw Cocoa’s Coffee Chocolate with Mulberry bar (Poland). Go and Dee are happy to report that they try to squeeze in one locally-made snack into each order.

The first thing I reach for when I open up my box? A packet of Jealous Sweets Grizzly Bears—vegan, gluten-free gummies made with cane sugar and raspberry, pineapple, and blackcurrant juice—a far cry from the bag of jalapeno chips from Mini-Stop that I’d normally settle on, but tbh, just as satisfying.

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.
wellness by Sam Potenciano

What It’s Really Like to Be Vegetarian in Manila

Because being an actual vegetarian (or lacto-ovo-vegetarian—close enough) doesn’t mean all kale salads all the time.

It might be hard to imagine subsisting solely on a plant-based diet in a country that so fervently loves its lechon, but the truth is that it’s surprisingly doable. Here, a few folks who’ve made the cruelty-free switch weigh in on what it’s really like to live and dine in Manila meat-free.

wiji-lacsamanaWIJI LACSAMANA (Perfumer, tattoo artist, and  pet pig owner)

How vegetarian are you?
I’ve been lacto-ovo-vegetarian since 2009, which means I still eat dairy products and eggs on occasion—especially in leche flan form!

Why did you decide to make the switch?
Animal rights. As much as possible, I didn’t want to be part of that food chain anymore.

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10 being impossible), how hard is it to be a vegetarian in Manila?
I think I started at the right time, because vegetarian restaurants started opening up around the time I became one, so maybe I’ll give it a 3. So many restaurants have at least 1 to 3 vegetarian options, too. There’s also a pretty good selection of vegetables available from local organic farms at weekend markets, online stores, and groceries.

Where is your go-to spot to grab a bite out? 
The first one that comes to mind is Bodhi, which used to be available in most malls’ food courts but is really hard to find now. I used to eat there a lot even before I was a vegetarian. If you manage to find one try their veggie barbecue sticks! I also like Good Burger for their Persian burger (the veggie patty option, of course) and cayenne wedges. And Cyma’s roka salata is sooo good.

If you could convince someone to take a chance on a vegetarian meal, where would you take them?
My house because my husband (who isn’t even vegetarian) cooks the best veggie meals for me! I also make a lot of tofu sisig and veggie tacos at home.

What would people be surprised is actually vegetarian?
Those little “Bacon bits” in  jars are vegetarian! They don’t contain bacon or meat products at all.

vanessa-mae-walters2VANESSA MAE WALTERS (Student and model)

How vegetarian are you?
I started out as a vegetarian at the age of fifteen then gradually transitioned into a vegan by the age of sixteen—so that would be almost a year now. Being a vegan means I don’t consume any animal products including meat, dairy, fish, or eggs. I also don’t purchase any clothes or products that support animal cruelty.

Why did you decide to make the switch?
I’ve always been passionate about what I put into my body, as well as animal rights and the environment in general. I came across a video one day while I was surfing the net of a vegan named Freelee the Banana girl. She opened my eyes to the harmful encounters animals face everyday just for a piece of meat that is served on our plates. That’s when I knew that I really wanted to make a change.

On a scale of 1 to 10, how hard is it being a vegan in Manila?
To be honest I would rate it 5 out of 10 just because there isn’t much variety to choose from in terms of fresh produce sometimes. I personally encountered difficulties at first just because everything is served with MSG and animal byproducts; even the dishes without any meat.

Where is your go-to spot to grab a bite out? 
I’m a sucker for Mediterranean, and my favorite veggie-friendly spot is Cyma! They make the best falafel shwarma which I get every time I visit. I always personally ask for tomato sauce on the side since their yogurt sauce isn’t vegan.

What would people be surprised is actually vegan?
Oreos, pop tarts, Kellog’s cereal, Hershey’s chocolate syrup… there are so many things that people already eat that are completely vegan!

What’s the one thing you wish people knew about veganism?
I feel as though people tend to mistake veganism for a diet instead of a lifestyle. People think that all we do is eat fruits and vegetables, but veganism is actually about eating abundantly. About nourishing our bodies but in a wholesome way.

Illustrations by Diigii Daguna

Sam Potenciano
Sam Potenciano
Sam is the digital editor of L’Officiel Manila. Formerly the founding editor of The Neighborhood and the editor-in-chief of Candy magazine, she is also a columnist for The Philippine Star's Young Star section. Follow her on Instagram at @sampotenciano.