Back to Simplicity and Nature: Bookworm Cafe, Lamma Island

Located on Lamma, an outlying island, the renowned Bookworm Cafe, with an interior of plenty loaded bookshelfs, has a pleasant laid-back atmosphere. Yet customers may not know that Kennex, its owner, started the restaurant mainly out of the blue.

Kennex said, “It was around 1997 when I visited Lamma Island. I was fascinated by its small, elegant shops and nice, tranquil beaches. Shortly after moving to the island, I found that the owner of a nearby cafe had just retired, then I took it over.”

As Kennex came from a very different background, he knew little about cooking. He started out by selling drinks and simple snacks only. Kennex learnt on the job. Gradually he learnt more and more about food. He also became more aware of the fact that excessive meat consumption is associated with higher risk of diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and cancers. Kennex gradually became a vegan; he even turned the cafe into a vegetarian restaurant later and promoted healthy eating.

The noodles, salads, pizzas and other dishes currently available at Bookworm Cafe are all made with organic vegetables and taste as good as most dishes available elsewhere. As for the people, which are quite a few, who think vegetarian dishes are too bland and no good for satiety, “I invited them to the cafe. The visit completely changed their perspectives on vegetarian dishes and even turn them into regular customers.”

Kennex’s principle of cooking is: striking the balance. To achieve this, he pairs ingredients of contrasting textures. Crunchy greens, for example, are paired with soba noodles or couscous, along with a delicious dressing made with honey and balsamic vinaigrette, to become a unique salad dish.

Extract from CookSmart, Issue 20