This Tibetan monk opened a new vegan restaurant in Sacramento, California, largely influenced by a macrobiotic diet that aims to reduce animal products and eat locally grown in-season, 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 are 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, and ended up in India studying Buddhism. During his time as a Monk, he cooked for 200 monks at a time, with over 5000 in total at the temple. He fell in love with cooking and the culture of food 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 in California to work at his uncle’s vegan restaurant. He worked there for five years before moving to Sacramento to be closer to family and finally opened up his very own restaurant this year.
At Himalaya Organic Vegan, every plate is gluten-free, sugar-free, and organic vegan. “Food that does not harm animals, is healthy, and taste great!” says the website. They welcome all cultures, religions, and all people to try their delicious plates.
Sam’s menu changes twice a day and is based on fresh and local vegan ingredients. Customers can order any item à la carte for $6, but people are encouraged to order the whole menu on a plate, which ranges from $12.75 to $15.75.
Although Sam says business has been slow so far, his philosophy for opening extends far beyond financial gain.
“I try to make money, of course, I’m (in) business. But I’m thinking, ‘how is it possible to make really delicious food where people like it?’ That is my No. 1 (priority),” Sang Zhu told The Sacramento Bee.
A typical lunch plate could include miso-split pea soup, black-eyed peas, mixed salad with carrot-lemon-agave dressing, and a brown shiitake-leek sauce over collard greens and kale. Try adding their homemade chili oil for an extra kick.
Sam and his brother-in-law start prepping food at 7 am and post the lunch menu on their website around 9 am. They begin working on another batch of veggies around 1 pm and post the dinner menu around 4 pm. Three of four pies are always on the menu as well, including chocolate, mango, strawberry, key lime pie, and coconut. Check out Himalaya Vegan Organic Restaurant and follow along on their Instagram @himalayan_vegan_organic.
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