Zawai: Eat fast food the healthy way
By Marie Mannes | Photos: Zawai
Do you have a new year’s resolution about eating more healthily, and therefore not relying as much on fast food? In Oslo, you can become healthier while indulging in delicious fast food, with a touch of Hawaiian cuisine – at the newly crowned ‘Norway’s Healthiest Fast Food’, Zawai.
Zawai was opened in May 2018, by the two entrepreneurs Henrik Borthen and Eirik Lothe. The restaurant serves poke, which is a traditional Hawaiian dish.
The dish is still relatively unknown but has in recent years risen in popularity. “Traditional Hawaiian poke consists of marinated, diced fish on a bed of sushi rice, typically served with condiments such as seaweed, green onions, chilli and other toppings,” explains Borthen. “We wanted to make a super healthy version of the cuisine, by adding various fruits and vegetables to the dish.”
Healthy food that uses sustainable, high-quality ingredients usually takes a big hit on the wallet, but this is not the case with food from Zawai. “It shouldn’t have to be a luxury to eat healthily, so we have chosen a reasonable profile, while using high-quality, sustainable raw materials.”
According to Lothe, Zawai wants to stop the association between fast food and junk food. “With the large amount of information available on the internet, people are becoming more and more concerned with what they consume. We wanted to be a frontrunner in using fresh and sustainable ingredients in our restaurant.”
Borthen explains that there’s a high demand for affordable and healthy fast food in Norway, and the raw materials are therefore in constant circulation and continually replaced, “so the freshness is top-notch at all times,” he says. “It is important to us that we are able to compete on price against traditionally unhealthy takeaway food.”
Borthen says that this leads to a lower profit margin for them, but that they are able to balance that out with the very high demand for the product.
In 2019, Zawai entered Opplysningskontoret for Frukt og Grønt’s (‘Information Office for Fruit and Vegetables’) Norwegian Championships in healthy fast food, where they won. “We have put a lot of effort into this project, and it was inspiring to get some recognition for all the hard work. It also put the cuisine on the map as one of the healthiest options on the fast-food market,” says Lothe.
Zawai is growing constantly and has plans to expand to open more restaurants. As well as having franchises in other cities in Norway, they are planning on becoming more environmentally friendly. “We are planning on cutting out plastic and choosing options better suited for the environment.”
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