Jal Gua (meaning ‘walk in peace’ or ‘walk with power’ in the Naath language) is not only the signature, instant powdered superfood created by former child soldier and international hip hop artist Emmanuel Jal, but it’s also the name of his very small cafe at 175 Queen Street East in downtown Toronto. You have to read the story behind Emmanuel and the place!
When you walk into Jal Gua Cafe, you will feel as if you stepped into someone’s own kitchen and sitting area. There are a few little tables, seats with cushions, board games to play, and music playing. You will be greeted with a warm smile and someone eager to explain that everything is vegan, healthy, nourishing and delicious and they will be even more eager to serve you the food.
They have a bookshelf filled with a few products to take home including Jal Gua, which contains a blend of two staple African ingredients: sorghum and moringa. Because I am not a nutritionist and cannot remember all of the reasons it’s good for you, I have taken this off their website as an explanation, “Moringa comes from the moringa tree, also known as drumstick tree, horseradish tree, or tree of life because it’s packed with vitamins, minerals and over 46 anti-inflammatories. Moringa trees grow quickly, reaching a height of between 15 and 30 feet within just a few years. The leaves, fruit flowers and immature pods of the tree are eaten as nutritious foods. Sorghum is a grain that has been eaten for over 8,000 years. it’s a staple in South Sudan and many African countries. From Orac Top 100 food, sorghum has over 240,000 antioxidants per every 100 grams eaten and it’s a grain with vitamins and minerals with a lot of health benefits. Jal Gua is high in iron and is an excellent source of Vitamin C. Jal Gua contains 7 essential nutrients: iron, copper, phosphorus, Vitamin A, Vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, and calcium. Jal Gua is made of organic ingredients. It is a gluten-free product, processed naturally with no chemicals and no preservatives.” Yes, we bought a bag to take home. It dissolves easily in liquid so I don’t mind the texture at all and enjoyed it in a lemon and ginger drink.
Jal Gua Cafe serves all organic everything, purchases fair-trade & eco-friendly products and prides themselves on accommodating those that are vegan, vegetarian, or those that eat meat and also those with other dietary restrictions or allergies including halal and gluten-free.
Although some of the limited options on their menu sound typical, I have never seen fermented sorghum porridge or “kuan” anywhere in Toronto – or even at the health food stores in California.
I really loved the Probiotic Kuan Veggie with chicken, which was a stew of sorts and a really generous portion too. It included
fermented sorghum, kale, grape tomato, pinto bean, mung bean, fermented red cabbage, chicken and Jal Gua flaxseed oil dressing. It might sound a bit foreign, but if you like Daal or a hearty veggie soup, you will love this.
My father had the Miracle Salad which included sorghum, pinto bean, mung bean, kale, broccoli, grape tomato, Jal Gua flaxseed oil dressing, also in a huge bowl. It had a lot of the same ingredients as my stew, but was totally different, as you’ll see below. It was simple, but delicious. My little brother inhaled his Early Bird Wrap which included an egg, kale, broccoli, grape tomato, Jal Gua flaxseed oil dressing all wrapped up in a tortilla. My mother tried something she hadn’t before, like she always chooses to if that’s an option and had Probiotic Sorghum Porridge made with fermented sorghum, ginger, apples, blueberry, strawberry, Jal Gua (sorghum & moringa), cinnamon and a drizzle of raw honey (you can also have organic maple syrup or organic agave). My little brother also ate a solid portion of my mom’s porridge and he isn’t usually a fan of oatmeal. I make oatmeal almost every morning, and I’m going to try to make this, as I really liked it and it seems healthier than oats are. We all had a Lemon Ginger Juice with Jal Gua from a glass mason jar that was light and refreshing. We finished off our meal with Fireballs, which is an odd name, as it implies that they might be spicy, but they are slightly sweet chocolate powerballs made with almond butter, fairtrade cocoa, raw honey, and Jal Gua. My little brother also enjoyed a smoothie of his own creation with blueberries, kale, almond milk, and strawberries – he was so happy!
If you are into health food, go try this place right away, as it will make you happy and support so much good globally. If you aren’t into health food, you should still go try it!