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Vegan Food at BAM’s DanceAfrica 2008

Joloff stand (circa DanceAfrica 2006)

Joloff stand (circa DanceAfrica 2006)

Generally, street fairs are a drag for hungry vegetarians longing for more than roasted corn on the cob, however the bazaar of DanceAfrica, the annual Memorial Day weekend festival of African and African Diaspora culture presented by BAM, is the exception. During yesterday’s expedition to the event, I spied several vendors slinging tasty vegan options.

Nyota’s Ting, an all-veg cater based out of Jamaica, Queens, had a large stand inside of the lot across from BAM. There they offered an awe inspiring spread of vegan and raw cuisine including Jolof live rice, Cajun nutmeat, mock meats like curry goat, assorted herbal drinks, and many other African inspired foods. Healthy eaters formed a long, winding line to buy platters of the superfresh looking dishes.

On the opposite side of the fence (outside of the lot and behind Nyota’s), was a stand bearing a bright yellow banner that read “Vegetarian Food” and listed the traditional Caribbean foods that I love like curried and jerked mocks meats. This vendor drew in a fair share of the crowd.

Clinton Hill’s vegan-friendly Senegalese restaurant, Joloff Restaurant was also at the bazaar offering curry tofu, okra with tomatoes, and their refreshing namesake sorrel and ginger cocktail.

Soule Restaurant, which is also based in Clinton Hill, had neighboring stand. Though I didn’t get to see what they were offering at the bazaar, their regular menu features a “Vegetarian Delight” section that includes veggie steak and veggie salmon, so I imagine they might be worth checking out.

A personal highlight of DanceAfrica 2007 bazaar was the all-vegan, local, and organic food served to me on a biodegradable platter from cater Ouiya Vegetarian Cuisine. I love Chef Yoli’s hearty and healthy food! I was disappointed that they weren’t swift enough to grab one of the coveted vendor spots this year.

The bazaar continues today (Monday, May 26), 12 noon–7pm in GGMC parking lots and area surrounding BAM at Lafayette Avenue and Ashland Place. 2,3,4,5,Q,B to Atlantic Avenue; D,M,N,R to Pacific Street; G to Fulton Street; C to Lafayette Avenue. Free admission.

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    For $6, I bought a small container of collards and a “fish” cake at the all-vegan stand with the yellow banner mentioned above. I was expecting the fish cake to be made of a reconstituted soy product similar to what Imhotep (on Nostrand) serves, but it tasted potato-based, and was so good that I went back for another. I asked the proprietors if they operated a restaurant in the city but, unfortunately, they’re based in Atlanta.