I Can’t Believe It’s Vegan!
Being vegan when you’re eating out is easy. Take a quick stroll down almost any high street in the UK, and you will find a plethora of bars, restaurant chains and fast-food joints that already have vegan options on their menu or items that can be quickly adapted by asking the server to hold the mayo or cheese.
Whenever we buy food, we’re casting a powerful vote with our money. I encourage all vegans to eat out at places that have predominantly been hangouts for meat eaters – places like Burger King or Nando’s – because by buying the vegan options in these restaurants, we are able to send a strong message to companies that there is a market for vegan food. It’s supply and demand – they will supply it if we demand it. And if there is more vegan food around, then more and more people will try it and start to buy it – and that means fewer and fewer animals will be killed and ground up into burgers and nuggets.
Here’s my top 10 meals for a tenner in places you wouldn’t necessarily expect to cater to a vegan:
10. Wetherspoon’s Curry Club is the affordable and “found everywhere” place to eat vegan on a Thursday. The sweet potato curry is vegan if you order it with poppadoms instead of Naan bread. And for something slightly spicier, they offer a vegan Tarka Dahl. And remember that you can always check online to see if your drinks choices are vegan too.
9. The Little Chef may not have the most glamorous of reputations, but the motorway stop off is quite often the only place for miles around. They don’t have a specific vegan menu, but you can easily find loads to eat. Hash browns, toast, cooked tomatoes and beans make for a tasty vegan fry up.
8. Even Burger King offers a veggie patty. It’s another hold-the-cheese-and-mayonnaise situation. The patty comes with a Vegetarian Society stamp of approval and contains no artery-clogging eggs or dairy products.
7. ShakeAway has been popping up all over the country. We have them in London and back in my home town of Portsmouth. I also popped into one in Durham the other week. They have a whole menu of shakes that they make vegan. Being unadventurous, I love the strawberry, but I’ve been known to mix it up with Bourbons, coconut and Jelly Tots.
6. Even though the vegan pizza was narrowly beaten in the “Create Your Own” competition last year, Pizza Express still offers amazing options for vegans. “Subtract the cheese but add as many veggies as you possibly can” would be my advice, as all their dough is vegan. This is the same for several other pizza companies, including Pizza Hut and Ask Pizza, as well.
5. Sushi is so much more than raw fish. Feng Sushi has a variety of bits and pieces floating around on their conveyor belts to tempt a vegan. My favourites are the Maki (cucumber or avocado) or the Miso soup and the firecracker rice. It’s also a great place to try well marinated tofu.
4. Starbucks not only offers tasty drinks (my favourite is the Grande Classic Caramel Soya Hot Chocolate, with vanilla) but also offers a vegan falafel Panini. Other great coffee chains that offer vegan options include Caffè Nero and Costa Coffee. The last two won’t even charge you for having soya milk.
3. The West Cornwall Pasty Company is an on-the-go grab for all commuting “veg heads”. They offer two pasties, a veggie and a wholemeal, and all the pasties are glazed with a recipe suitable for vegans.
2. Wagamama makes vegan really easy. Their website has a list of foods you can adapt to be vegan, but some of the options (like the noodles and Gyoza) already are.
1. The Nando’s veggie burger (and even the veggie pita) is a way of really impressing friends when you eat out. They never expect to find vegan food in a chicken restaurant, but I do. Not only is the burger vegan (hold the mayo), you can also use any baste, as these are all free of animal products, and the chips are deep-fried away from any other food.
Veganism is easy everywhere, so if you haven’t taken that step yet and ditched meat and dairy products from your diet there is clearly no better time to do it than right now.