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

  • Phnom Penh unveils rules for post-lockdown transition

    The Phnom Penh Municipal Administration issued a set of detailed guidelines for the seven days to May 12 after the capital emerges from lockdown at the onset of May 6. In the 14-page document signed by municipal governor Khuong Sreng released on the evening of May 5, the

  • SBI LY HOUR Bank Launches Cross Border Money Transfer Service between Cambodia and Vietnam on RippleNet, utilizing DLT

    SBI LY HOUR Bank Plc and Hanoi-based Tien Phong Commercial Joint Stock Bank (TPBank) on Friday launched the first Cambodia-Vietnam money transfer service in real currency via RippleNet, provided by SBI Ripple Asia Co Ltd to provide safe, fast and convenient services. SBI LY HOUR

  • Gov’t issues guidelines as lockdown nears end

    The government has issued a five-page set of instructions to be enforced when the three-week lockdown of Phnom Penh and adjacent Takmao town in Kandal province ends on May 6. According to an announcement signed by Prime Minister Hun Sen on May 4, the instructions cover a

  • Cambodia ready to exit LDC status

    Cambodia is well-prepared to minimise economic risks when it graduates from its Least Developed Countries status, according to a senior official at the Ministry of Commerce on May 7. Four LDCs – Cambodia, Laos, Bangladesh and Nepal – met at a virtual workshop last week to explore potential

  • Tottenham Hotspur to wear ISF Cambodia logo on jerseys in match against Sheffield United

    Last year, the Indochina Starfish Foundation (ISF) – an NGO providing education to underprivileged children in Cambodia – made global headlines with its “socially distanced” football initiative. This year, a world-class football club – Tottenham Hotspur FC – will wear special edition jerseys to show their support for ISF

  • Nine US franchises eye Cambodia debut

    Nine famous US franchising companies are looking for business opportunities and expansion into Cambodia to build a footstep for a strong foundation in Southeast Asia. The US embassy in Phnom Penh, in partnership with the US Foreign Commercial Service and with support from the American