Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - 1961 crew stumble into veganism



1961 crew stumble into veganism

Grilled oyster mushroom and tofu with lentil, asparagus and long bean salad. Photo supplied
Grilled oyster mushroom and tofu with lentil, asparagus and long bean salad. Photo supplied

1961 crew stumble into veganism

The 1961 crew have been at it again, and this time they’ve come up with a vegan venture, which they kind of hit upon by accident. But once they’d started down the path, they discovered a world of flavour they never expected and, at Vain Vicious Vegan, they’re hoping the rest of the world will join them in the adventure.

The idea came about by accident, when preparing for the opening of the current exhibition of street art from Nepal for which the curator and artist both requested a vegan menu. The request initially provoked more than a little uncertainty. 

“Chef Seiha Chomnab – who is an avowed carnivore – scratched his head,” said Loven Ramos, co-founder of the 1961 Gallery and Coworking Space. “But when he did the research, he was thrilled by the amount of amazing recipes out there, and we also helped him experiment with turning non-vegan recipes into vegan ones.”

The experiments worked and the food was snatched up during the opening of the exhibition, with guests expressing amazement that the food was actually vegan. 

“The lightbulb moment came to us when we realised that vegan food is not just the same old boring salad or mushroom risotto. We would love to push for it as an accessible way of eating. We don’t aim to convert anyone, but more to open the doors into this exciting universe,” said Ramos, who is himself pesco-vegetarian.

Vegan panini with potato wedges from the 1961 crew. Photo supplied
Vegan panini with potato wedges from the 1961 crew. Photo supplied

The restaurant is part of the gallery – with its striking 1960s architectural flair – so the decor is determined by whichever exhibition happens to be showing at the time. 

Some of the specials they’ve developed so far include grilled oyster mushroom and tofu with lentil, asparagus and long bean salad ($6), and zucchini panini with potato wedges ($4).

Coming up with creative new ideas has not been as challenging as the team first feared. They’ve had to buy separate utensils so that they are not contaminated by the food being prepared for East of Narnia, also in the same building.

“We thought it would be difficult to come up with creative ideas, but it’s actually a great process,” said Ramos. There are limitations, but we also unearthed a whole range of possibilities and alternatives.”

The restaurant opens this evening, in tandem with the opening of the exhibition Fragments, Art from the Forgotten Realms, featuring work by Jana Hoon, Arjan Moro and the Wat Preah Enkosa Khmeng Art Collective. Omar Diaz (aka Amro) will DJ. The exhibition opens at 7pm.

Vain Vicious Vegan is located on the Upper West River Side, Siem Reap, and will be open Wednesday to Monday from 11am to 2pm and 6pm to 10pm.

MOST VIEWED

  • Hun Sen: Stop Russia sanctions

    Prime Minister Hun Sen said sanctions against Russia as a result of its military offensive in Ukraine should be stopped as they have produced no tangible results, and predicted that a global food crisis would ensue in 2023 as a consequence. Speaking to an audience at

  • Chinese tourists 2.0 – Coming anytime soon?

    Regional tourism is grappling with the absence of the prolific travellers and big spenders – the Chinese tourists. Cambodia, which has welcomed over two million Chinese tourists before Covid-19, is reeling from the economic loss despite being the first to fully open last November ‘To put

  • PM reflects on shoe throwing: Free speech or act of violence?

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 17 questioned whether a man who threw a shoe at him while he was in the US was exercising freedom of expression or if it was an act of hostility. Hun Sen was referring to an incident last week when

  • Siem Reap’s Angkor Botanical Garden opens

    The Angkor Botanical Garden was officially opened on May 19 with free entry for both local and international visitors for the first six weeks. The garden was established on a nearly 15ha plot of land in Siem Reap. “After the first six weeks, Angkor Botanical Garden

  • Pub Street on the cards for Battambang

    The Battambang Provincial Authority has announced that it is considering establishing a Pub Street in the area around the heritage buildings in Battambang town in a bid to attract more tourists. Battambang provincial governor Sok Lou told The Post that the establishment of a Pub

  • Hun Sen: Don’t react to hostility

    Prime Minister Hun Sen urged tolerance and thanked members of the Cambodian diaspora for not reacting to the hostility on display towards him by others while he was in the US to attend the May 12-13 ASEAN-US Special Summit in Washington, DC. In an audio