Mumbai Chaat feature in Metro magazine

Mumbai Chaat SandMetro’s annual list of the Top 100 cafes where you can buy a meal for under $20 is out now in the September issue and its super pleasing to see there are 6 vegetarian cafes among them.

Metro has given my favourite Auckland cafe Mumbai Chaat a special feature – an interview with the owners, Ajit Ambani (manager) and his wife Pratibha who is the chef, and son Gaurang who helps out when he can.

Mumbai Chaat is authentic Indian – well, Mumbai – street food, and hasn’t been adapted to western taste as with so many Indian cafes. It’s strictly lacto vegetarian and vegan. I vividly recall a discussion with a young customer from Mumbai who was working as a chef at a restaurant well north of Auckland; he said that when he wanted real Mumbai food he drove all the way to Mumbai Chaat and stocked up.

The menu is a combination of Indian heritage cooking and some western fusion chaat – don’t expect the pizza to be what you’re familiar with! A good dish to start with is their masala dosa, the thin crispy pancake stuffed with spicy potato, it has to be the best version in Auckland that I know.


Or if you want to try a thali, this is one place where there is a choice of vegetable and dal dishes so don’t hesitate to ask Ajit or Gaurang for advice. Once you find your favourites you’ll want to keep coming back.


Mumbai Chaat is at 1A Kitchener Rd just off Sandringham Rd in the Sandringham Village.

MumbaiChaat BHBay

Plus the tiny original cafe at 71 Taylor St, Blockhouse Bay is open part-time; its where Pratibha and her friends do the cooking for both stores.


Wise Cicada moves to Broadway

WiseCicadacafeThe Wise Cicada vegetarian organic cafe is settling into new premises at 88 Broadway in Newmarket.

We visited soon after the move. Access is tricky – down a driveway off the very busy Broadway road. We travelled from Parnell and from that direction here’s no street signage visible to indicate its location, which is on the left; it’s easier coming from the opposite direction from the Broadway/Khyber Pass junction as there’s a large colourful mural on the wall at the top of the driveway but you need to turn across traffic to enter.

The Wise Cicada advertises parking availability and there are 10 free parking spaces immediately outside the store; you’ll find it on the left at the foot of the sloping driveway. It was full on the day we visited so we carried on to the right and into the Wilson’s parking building.
WiseCicada instoreThe floorspace in the new store is much larger and has an underground bunker feel – not surprising as the only windows face out onto the parking area (beyond which are are railway lines).


Wise Cicada saladsThe menu is similar to the previous store – one hot dish and soup of the day, a hearty blackboard menu, and a goodly range of raw salads and splendid desserts. We were there for lunch and were surprised to find the very young counter staff unable to answer some basic questions about the content of some of the dishes. No doubt this will settle with familiarity.

The driveway access is awkward. If you have a choice, you may wish to take the train to Newmarket Station which is just a short walk along the main street.

The menu and other details are here The Wise Cicada


10 Warning Signs of Health

These handy warning signs of health come from Real Health.  I love them – they mess with your head in the most wonderful way!

  1.  Increased awareness & appreciation of yourself
  2. Tendency to set aside time to relax & meditate
  3. Persistent ability to adapt to changing conditions
  4. Persistent ability to maintain close relationships
  5. Chronic appetite for physical activity & healing food
  6. Acute and chronic attacks of laughter
  7. A compulsion to take pleasure & fun
  8. Repeated bouts of hope & optimism
  9. A chronic condition of caring for your body
  10. Recurrent rejection of worry & despair

Two Auckland vegetarian cafes closed

Sadly, we need to advise that two Auckland vegetarian cafes have closed and ta hird one is no longer vegetarian.

Closed are the very popular vegan Cosset Cafe in Mt Albert Road – for family reasons – and the well known and much loved Blue Bird Cafe in Dominion Road. Hopefully the Blue Bird will find new premises soon – if you’d like to know when they do, send an email to the chef Toshala and she’ll add you to the mailing list for updates.

And in a further loss for West Auckland, Ethos Cafe at East West Organics Superstore in Portage Road, New Lynn, is no longer vegetarian.

Now for the good news …

MumbaiChaat BHBay

… the excellent little Indian cafe Mumbai Chaat in Taylor Street, Blockhouse Bay, continues to supply meals and snacks Wednesday-Sunday. Menu and opening hours are here

Hot tip: Their masala dosas are superbly light, crisp and savoury.


Green Living and NZ Organic Show


Green Living Show & NZ Organic Expo 2015 Brochure


Saturday 2nd & Sunday 3rd July 2016, 10:00 to 5.00pm
ASB Showgrounds, 217 Greenlane West, Greenlane, Auckland, New Zealand


NZ Organic and Natural at The Green Living Show showcases the best in organic, natural, sustainable and fair trade products.  Come along and see what we have on Show and experience our artisan section with fine food and great wine in the Organic Natural Boulevard.


Going organic is good for all of us. It is healthy, no nasty additives, no pesticides, no GM, has high standards as organic food comes from trusted sources.  All organic farms and food companies are inspected at least once a year and are certified. Organic farming is better for wildlife and produces less carbon dioxide – the main global warming gas.

To be certified organic, producers must document a full management plan and record all inputs used in their production.  Producers are audited annually to verify that they comply with high organic standards. This gives them the right to use the certified trade mark which you can trust all round the world. Most importantly organic….. It is top for taste!

More at

Christchurch: vegetarian cooking classes

Want to be vegetarian and not sure how to begin?  Vegan or vegetarian – check this out 

Our next cooking class series will
commence in Christchurch in August.
• Economical Meat-free Protein Dishes
• Dairy-free Cheeses & Butters
• Milk Replacements and Substitutes
• Egg-free Cooking and Alternatives
• Sugar-free Jams, Biscuits and Cakes & Desserts
• Breakfasts
• Vegetables attractively prepared  for Health and FlavourSeries of 6 classes held on the evenings of:
Tuesday, 16 August                    Tuesday, 6 September
Tuesday, 23 August                    Tuesday, 13 September
Tuesday, 30 August                    Tuesday, 20 September

Ilam Seventh-day Adventist Community Hall
24 Ilam Road, Riccarton, Christchurch
Register online or call 03 313 7701 or 03 318 1913.

Eco-living – we were the first!

Vegetarians were among the first eco-warriors – committed to living a lifestyle of compassion and sustainability for our world. Over 65 years ago, in 1951, Vegetarian Living NZ magazine published the New Earth Chapter, and its a marvellously modern statement!

‘We submit that without fair play to earth we cannot live physically; without fair play to neighbour, we cannot live socially; without fair play to better self, we cannot live individually.

Pumpkin‘We believe in the development of a fuller understanding of the true relationship between all forms of life in an endeavour to maintain a natural balance between minerals, vegetation and mankind, man being primarily dependent on the vegetation of the earth for both food and clothing.

‘In order to get food, clothes and shelter to enable us to live our bodily life on this earth we must take care of the earth and, especially, not meddle wantonly with the natural circulation of water, which meddling has been the cause of great loss of soil all over the glove, and we must rightly return to earth the waste of whatever we take from the earth.

Fenced-mountain- stream

‘We submit that water must be a basic consideration in all our national and earth-wide forest programmes; streams and rivers must be restored to their natural motion, and floods and droughts must be eliminated.

‘Forests and woodlands are intimately linked with biological, social and spiritual well-being. The minimum tree cover for safety in Australia, the United States and Canada is 25 per cent of every catchment area with the right constitution of mixed species, including broad-leaf trees – monoculture in any form being injurious to the land.

‘We believe in the traditional ideal that our fields should be “fields of the woods”, by which is meant landscape farming of every valley and plain, with woodlands in high places, shelter belts, orchards of mixed species and hedgerows everywhere.’

“The Men of the Trees”, The Gate, Abbotsbury, Dorset.

The Vegetarian Society works tirelessly to promote vegetarian living and prevention of farmed animal cruelty. It can be reached here – annual fees are only $40 and include the magazine.






Vegan Food Fair 2016 – Auckland

For the very first time, The Vegan Food Fair hits ASB Showgrounds on Sunday 10th April 10am – 5pm, showcasing delightful vegan food from around the country.

The vegan movement is growing in popularity, with many people embracing vegan food as part of their diet for ethical and health reasons. All are welcome at the Vegan Food Fair, from long-time vegans, vegetarians, and those who are curious about the lifestyle.

Come and enjoy a huge range of stalls serving delicious plant-based food and beverages, as well as music and entertainment for the whole family. Treat your taste buds, educate yourself, and discover New Zealand’s best vegan food.

The delectable range of treats and stalls is here

Vegan Food Fair

10% of kiwis are vegetarian or nearly so

Lacto-vegWe’re in increasingly good company! – increasing being the operative word –

More than one in 10 Kiwis now say they are always or mostly vegetarian, up two percentage points from 2011.

The figure comes from a poll carried out by Roy Morgan Research, which also found a much higher rate of vegetarianism in the North Island than the South Island.

The poll, carried out among people aged 14 or older, found 10.3 per cent of New Zealanders overall described themselves as mostly or always vegetarian. That was up from 8.1 per cent in 2011.

In the North Island the figure was 11.1 per cent, up from 8.4 per cent, while in the South Island it was 7.8 per cent, up from 6.9 per cent.

More details here