4:37 PM January 16, 2022
Hundreds of foodies discovered authentic vegan and vegetarian street food at a new food festival.
Around 1,000 people, including some from London and Birmingham, flocked to the Namaste Village restaurant in Queens Road, Norwich for its first Veganuary Mela which took place all day on Sunday January 16.
Dalsukh Jetani, manager of Namaste Village, said: “It was a unique experience for Norwich. It was like a carnival atmosphere.”
From masala dosa, vada pav, pani puri and desserts, the 10 stalls featured vegan street food from different parts of India.
All of the delicious treats were prepared by chefs from the village of Namaste, which has been in operation in the town for a decade.
The family restaurant, which serves vegetarian and vegan dishes, employs 15 people and other staff also organize dance and music performances as well as the sale of spices and handicrafts made by traditional Indian communities.
Mr Jetani added: “Adults, children, families and couples came today. It’s like a fun Sunday should be. We are happy that the event has attracted the attention and the love.”
Despite the popularity, he said people were acting responsibly and adhering to Covid safety restrictions at the attraction.
The businessman added that the event was based on similar seasonal festivities held in India to showcase the country’s best street food.
Mr Jetani said: “We have created a culinary adventure. The smell in the air today has created people’s appetites. We are happy to recreate India’s seasonal mela festivals.
“It’s a huge platform for the city. Norwich has a rich food offering. It also respects the vegan and vegetarian culture. This event puts Norwich in a different light.
“Vegetarian and vegan culture has been a way of life for my family and we want to show that there is no compromise with this food and that you can have fun with it.
“A lot more people are appreciating the vegan and vegetarian lifestyle. We’re glad this part of the world is looking at sustainability as a whole and wanting to take change head-on.”