Jain vegetarian restaurants in South Africa cater to the needs of Jainism, an Indian religion that follows a path of non-violence to all living creatures. As a result, Jain travellers have strict rules for their personal diets, and menus must adhere to these restrictions.

Did you know?

Meals must be freshly prepared for Jain travellers as they do not eat any leftovers.

Jain dining in South Africa is certainly not mainstream, but there are a few choice restaurants that cater to the needs of the Jain traveller.

Jain cuisine follows very particular dietary rules – no meat whatsoever is allowed (including chicken and fish), and Jains do not eat eggs or cheese. The diet also excludes any root vegetables (potato, onion and garlic), and mushrooms and honey are generally excluded from the menu. This means that chefs need to get creative with ingredients to create delicious Jain-friendly meals.

Jain cuisine does allow spices like cumin, nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves and poppy seeds, and chillies are also allowed. Vegetables, fruit, nuts, seeds and lentils are all permissible and Jains also eat butter, which means there is space for innovation.

Restaurants like Masala Dosa in Cape Town and Shayona in Johannesburg are well-known establishments offering superb vegetarian cuisine, including Jain dishes. There are also numerous Jain-friendly restaurants in Durban.

The Jain diet has some restrictions, but dishes like poppadum curry and lentil stew, as well as chickpea creations, are always on the menu.

In 2012, South African Tourism launched a cookbook called Guide to Vegetarian, Vegan and Jain Dining in South Africa as a guideline for restaurants, hotels, lodges and B&Bs to become more aware of the Jain traveller and how to cater for their needs in delicious, mouth-watering ways.

Travel tips & Planning info

Who to contact

Shayona restaurant
Tel: +27 (0)11 837 2407

Masala Dosa
Tel: +27 (0)21 424 6772
Email: amit@masaladosa.co.za

How to get here

Shayona vegetarian restaurant is located in Church Street, Mayfair, and is easily accessed off the main roads of Main Reef Road and Crownwood Road.

Best time to visit

Shayona is open from 9am to 8pm from Tuesday to Thursday; from 9.30am to 9pm on Fridays and Saturdays; and from 9.30am to 4pm on Sundays. Masala Dosa is open from Monday to Saturday for lunch (from 12pm to 4.30pm) and dinner (6pm to 10.30pm).

Tours to do

Take a walking tour of Fordsburg in Johannesburg, or a guided tour of the Bo-Kaap and learn about Cape Town's unique cultures.

Where to stay

For something a little different, stay at Satyagraha House, once the Johannesburg home of Mahatma Gandhi