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Borscht Is Trendy Again as Vegan Invasion Takes Moscow

Vegan places are proliferating in Russia's capital

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This article originally appeared in The Moscow Times

The Russian capital is undergoing a vegan diet boom. In the past month, pan-Asian restaurant Shanti has opened a vegan branch called Shanti-Green, a new vegan market with prepared foods has opened in Patriarch's Ponds and the Botanika restaurant near Belorusskaya has launched a raw food menu.

This is in addition to the expansion of Canadian vegan restaurant chain Fresh to three stores last year up from its original Moscow restaurant, which opened in 2012.

"People are tired of smoking and drinking, it's not cool anymore," Yekaterina Petrenko, manager of the vegan, vegetarian and raw food cafe Sok ("Juice") said. The cafe opened in 2011, and Petrenko said that since that time, the cafe has seen its traffic increase by 60 percent.

Today it's not uncommon to see a line of people waiting for a table. "Our biggest hit is a raw tart made of carob," Petrenko said.

Perhaps its not surprising that Sok, which has a prime location in front of the Tretyakov Gallery, attracts a constant stream of both tourists and locals. But the real sign that veganism is taking hold is the opening of vegan cafes even on the outskirts of the Russian capital.

The Happy Vegan Shop, whose original store is located just off the popular pedestrian Arbat street, made the decision to open a branch in Mitino — a traditional, working-class bedroom community outside the Moscow Ring Road — last December.

Read more in The Moscow Times

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