Tibetan Monk Opens Organic Vegan Restaurant in Sacramento, California

This Tibetan monk has opened a new vegan restaurant in Sacramento, California, largely influenced by a macrobiotic diet that aims to reduce animal products and eat seasonal, locally grown foods.

Source: Sacramento Bee/Youtube

Luo Rong “Sam” Sang Zhu, a Tibetan monk, opened the restaurant with his brother-in-law/best friend on May 1, 2022. Himalaya Organic Vegan Restaurant aims to bring “peaceful food” to the Sacramento and Natomas area.

The macrobiotic diet comes from Zen Buddhism and its origins can be found in Japan. The diet tries to balance the yin and yang elements of food and is based primarily on grains, vegetables and other plants.

Sam was born and raised in Tibet and fled the country in 1995, ending up in India to study Buddhism. During his time as a monk, he cooked for 200 monks at a time, with over 5,000 in total at the temple. He fell in love with the cuisine and food culture within Buddhism.

Later Sam moved to Europe and cooked for a 5 star hotel. He found himself drawn to vegan food, and in 2013 he moved to the Bay Area of ​​California to work at his uncle’s vegan restaurant. He worked there for five years before moving to Sacramento to be closer to his family and finally opened his own restaurant this year.

At Himalaya Organic Vegan, every plate is vegan, gluten-free, sugar-free and organic. “Food that does not harm animals, is healthy and tastes great!” says the website. They welcome all cultures, religions and peoples to try their delicious dishes.

Sam’s menu changes twice a day and is based on fresh, local vegan ingredients. Customers can order any a la carte item for $6, but people are encouraged to order the entire menu on one plate, which ranges from $12.75 to $15.75.

Although Sam says business has been slow so far, his philosophy of openness goes far beyond financial gain.

“I’m trying to make money, of course I’m (in) business. But I think to myself, ‘how is it possible to make really delicious food where people like it?’ This is my number 1 (priority),” Sang Zhu told The Sacramento Bee.

A typical lunch plate might include miso split pea soup, black-eyed peas, a tossed salad with carrot-lemon-agave vinaigrette, and shiitake leek brown sauce over green cabbage and kale. Try adding their homemade chili oil for an extra kick.

Sam and his brother-in-law start preparing the food at 7 a.m. and post the lunch menu on their website around 9 a.m. They start working on another batch of vegetables around 1pm and post the dinner menu around 4pm. Three of the four pies are also still on the menu, including Chocolate, Mango, Strawberry, Key Lime Pie and Coconut. Check Himalaya Organic Vegan Restaurant and follow them on their Instagram @himalayan_vegan_organic.

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