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Wondering What Vegan Soul Food Is All About? This Miami Beach Festival Showcases It

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Jose A Iglesias
/
Miami Herald
Starex Smith, right, runs The Hungry Black Man blog. It focuses mostly on black and minority restaurants.

A few miles north of the South Beach Wine and Food Festival was another event for foodies this weekend. The Soul Vegan Food Festival showcased healthy black cuisine in an area of the state where only 4 percent of the population is black.

 

The clash of culture is something organizer and blogger Starex Smith loves about the event. Smith, who also goes by the Hungry Black Man on social media, organized the food festival to showcase healthy black cuisine.

“I think this forces folks to come to terms with that when they realize they have this incredible vegan plate from the hands of someone who doesn't look like them and literally is not even 5 miles away and so that anonymity sort of diminished.” he said.

Smith says there are a lot of misconceptions about what the cuisine combination of vegan and soul food looks like.
 
"The grease and all of these things that are very European in heritage are characterized by Soul Food, you realize, my god, the soul food plate looks more like a vegan plate when you break it down,” he said.

But the annual event is about more than food. For Smith it’s also about showing off a side of black culture people often overlook.

Smith says exposing people to food they wouldn’t normally try is a way for them to connect.

“If now you're celebrating black culture in a space you now can connect that’s very important to me, if you don't have those conversations then the sort of ignorance wouldn’t be diminished.”

The event was part of the City of Miami Beach’s Black History month celebrations.