A Satvik Restaurant in Kuwait

Dr. Navniit Gandhi
Sunday, February 19, 2017

“A recipe has no Soul; You as the Cook must bring soul to the recipe” -Thomas Keller

Yes, you have read the title right!!! And, yes… the restaurant has been there and is thriving since eleven years!

The Ginger Restaurant at the ground floor in Al-Muthanna Complex offers Satvik Khaana, and it is established and managed by a Kuwaiti woman entrepreneur, who is also a professional and a Yoga practitioner.

Restaurants are in plenty, here in Kuwait. Food… Food everywhere… There is an abundance of choice, in terms of food. There is variety, because diversity is respected in Kuwait. It is not just the expatriates who have adapted to the local culture and cuisine and love the experiences, but also, the natives who are adapting to the diverse culture and cuisine and other influences that the expatriates have brought along. Nothing could testify this further than the presence of such a large number of restaurants that offer a peak into the cuisine of a large number of countries.

And yet, when Shaikha Al Arfaj decided to set up Ginger- which offers East Asian food, she was clear that she did not just want a restaurant that offered tastier food, but also healthier food. The restaurant runs on certain principles, and there is a spiritual streak to the way the food is prepared. While not using onion and garlic in its preparations, this Vegan restaurant also does not use eggs, or animal products, or gluten or wheat products. There are no artificial sauces, or dairy products or refined salt and sugar (sea salt and jaggery is used instead) used either. The entire taste is the taste and aroma of fresh vegetables, for she does not use spices as well.

A Civil Engineer by profession, Shaikha is a senior executive at a leading Engineering firm in Kuwait. Deeply influenced by the concept of cooking with love, the motto of her life is visibly etched on a wall inside the restaurant: “We are here to not only feed your body but also your soul”. An accidental brush with the spiritual ways of living and cooking inspired Shaikha to take up Yoga and Meditation a few years ago. She adopted the tenets of the Brahmakumaris sect, which included eating Satvik food. Shaikha, and her sister Mona—both just love cooking--a love they say they inherited from their mother (who was born in India) and they share the spiritual beliefs too.

Ginger is not just about using a select and not using some other ingredients. Rather, it is about cooking and eating with certain principles and processes. Shaikha and her Team not only choose the freshest vegetables but also offer and treat food as prasadam. It is also not about following any particular religion or religious practices, but rather it is about cooking and partaking food with positive and loving vibes. All in the Ginger team treat food lovingly and practise meditation. They serve the food to the customers, with equal warmth, as one would serve family members. Shaikha aims at offering other global cuisines—such as Italian and American—the Satvik way. Both the sisters love to cook themselves and experiment with food creatively. Perhaps, it must be the only place to offer a Vegan Shawerma!!!

“It is not that we are catering to the people who want Satvik food, but we, as a matter of principle, offer and believe in food that is Satvik”, says Shaikha. While some customers may not know or may know but not understand that the food is Satvik, and yet relish the same—there is also that loyal clientele that seeks the food by choice and loves it. “It might surprise you but many young Kuwaitis who have broader exposures, are eating vegetarian food by choice and they love it here. My own daughter who was not a vegetarian, went to study in Melbourne and has returned purely Vegetarian and Vegan. The Kuwaitis say that they feel light after eating the food, and they keep coming again”, says Shaikha, with a gentle smile.

Pained at the sight of people stuffing themselves up with unhealthy junk food, Shaikha points out how people spend a substantial month on the mindless grocery shopping, and then spend hundreds further on medicines and treatment, while she herself now spends minimally on food and lives healthier too. And, the prices aren’t steep at all, especially considering that the ingredients are absolutely fresh and free-from-chemicals and that lot of efforts are put in towards making everything in-house and with great care. It is a reasonably-priced restaurant, considering the delicious and healthy food that it offers, with love. After all, there are no tinned foods or frozen foods or ready-made sauces used.

She firmly believes that Food changes the way we look at ourselves, at others and at life, in general. She is committed to non-violent food, which she believes will bring down the scales of agitation in humankind. “We are just relentlessly running on the path of acquiring more and more… we must pause and think as to what are we giving to the society. Each one of us must remember the Karmic principle… We must give what we want to come back to us… Hence, this restaurant is still running. We want people to know the benefits of eating right…”

Dr. Navniit Gandhi is an academic, an author, counsellor/trainer and a freelance writer/columnist. She writes extensively for several newspapers, magazines, web-portals and academic publications and has authored six Books till date. Raindrops — a collection of usual and unusual short love stories— published and released in Feb 2018 is her latest literary endeavor.
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Express your comment on this article

Ganesh Arya
Posted on Sunday, April 2, 2017

I am excited to visit to taste the Satvik food in kuwait. soon i'll come.

Posted on Thursday, March 30, 2017

I am excited to visit the restuarant. Great to see a swatik restuarant.best wishes

Posted on Monday, March 20, 2017

Every Restaurant try to prove them better than best
but all depend on way of hospitality by which customer intent to visit again.
There are many restaurant in Kuwait but few you can remember as a best.

Posted on Friday, March 10, 2017

Thank you Shaikha and her Team. We been there couple of time and always enjoy food and environment.
Thank you to have such wonderful place.

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Great Step!
aware about Karmic reactions and live accordingly is great to hear!
Thank you Madam for this brave step!
Hope people will support you and Ginger!

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Have been going there for over 10 years now. Divine cuisine.

Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

@Dinesh Kumar Pal ,

I have been to this place. It is not very expensive. Items are priced at 2 kd / 3 kd range. even some items are 1 KD.

Dinesh Kumar Pal
Posted on Wednesday, March 8, 2017

I am excited to go this restaurent bcz of one of my friends's family os pure vegeterian and they dont believe to go any restaurent. But after reading this article I can believe and take to them this restaurent. But it will be good if you can provide approximate price per head. As by name Muthanna complex is luxurious place.

Posted on Tuesday, March 7, 2017

I have been to Muthanna Complex many a times but really miss-out the soulful Ginger Restaurant.
I'm really impress the way of explanation of your food theme. Mind blowing.
The title with word "Soul / Recipe"
No word to express but just Thank u
Seeing ur photo we have met in our office
Wishing you all the best Shaikha Al Afraj for future
God bless

Posted on Friday, March 3, 2017

The world is again looking towards India..which is still a "GOLDEN BIRD" ..mashallah still full of natural resources and very hard working people. If we can just maintain the inner unity,peace and sanctity of our country there is none other like India.

Ram Bhat
Posted on Wednesday, March 1, 2017

I am happy to read this. My family would love to eat here soon...
Thanks for the nice article.
-Ram Bhat

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017

Here in kuwait for the past 15 years... but never heard about such lively and soulful restaurant...... will surely try..

Posted on Monday, February 27, 2017

Great Service
Thank you Madam Shaikha Al Arfaj

Posted on Thursday, February 23, 2017

Great sister shekha

Posted on Tuesday, February 21, 2017

This is indeed a welcome change, Unique we must say. Thank you Madam Shaikha Al Arfaj

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