Imagine being a foodie but vegan. Now imagine being a foodie, who is vegan, while traveling. It gets a little tough figuring out where you can and can’t eat. Recently I went to London with my best friend for her birthday, and our goal was to eat everything we could while we were there. My friend is a pescatarian so her struggle to find places that cater to her lifestyle are somewhat similar to mine. Luckily for us, London is a melting pot of cultures (literally and figuratively) and what you can’t find on one corner, you are sure to find on the next. Am I the only one that kind of feels a little jelly watching all the UK YouTubers when it comes to vegan food? They always seem to have so many options to choose from and everything is within walking distance or a quick cab ride. When we went into some restaurants, they even had entire menus dedicated to their vegan cuisine. I was SHOOK. Back in Boston, you almost have to commission your own search party to find the good vegan places, and when you do find one, they are usually further out. After we explored the city, sampling some of the flavorful delicacies, I found a few favorite spots that I have to return to on my next trip to London.
The first is BOXPARK Shoreditch. This place was everything that I wanted and more. It was the first restaurant we visited after landing and I couldn’t have been happier because I was starving! They have a ton of options and we definitely bought more than we could eat. As the name suggests, BOXPARK Shoreditch is made up of around 70 repurposed sea boxes (shipping containers), that put together to create a sprawling shopping complex with downstairs filled with stores and boutiques and upstairs filled with restaurants and bars. After we explored what Boxpark had to offer, I found my three favorite places to eat: Eat Chay, Poptata, and What The Pita!
Eat Chay specializes in authentic Asian vegan cuisines. Chay is Vietnamese for vegan and their food is to die for! Fresh ingredients, quality quick service, and food that you can't even tell is vegan, what more could a girl ask for? Their meat textures are mind-blowing. I bought the chick’n and kimchi baos and both of them were really good. I never had bao buns before, so it was quite the experience. Like any finger food, it got a little messy but messy only makes it taste even better. The dumpling buns get cold after a while and this can change the experience. For this reason, I’d recommend eating it right away. Rating: 4.5/5
Poptata takes one of London’s favorite dishes chips, and add’s their spin on things. They specialize in street- fries, and I LOVE fries. Come to think of it, I don’t think that I’ve ever met a person who didn’t. I always knew there was a lot you could do with potatoes, but this was different. To be honest, there weren’t many vegan options, but it did not matter. I ended up getting their classic fries with sweet chili. I know this might sound basic, but they were the best fries I’ve ever had. It felt like a gourmet version of fast food fries with sweet and sour sauce. I ate as many as I could despite being full from the two other places I visited. I looked over their menu, and a vegan option was recently added! Rating: 5/5
What The Pita blew me away! I was convinced that I got served some type of meat and couldn't believe that what I was eating was entirely vegan. I have yet to experience anything like it. The vegan döner was my choice for the day, the “meat” in it had such an amazing texture, my mouth is seriously watering while thinking about it. What The Pita! will, no doubt, be the first place I visit next time I’m in London. Rating: 5/5
The next two places weren’t like BOXPARK. They stood alone. Both places provided a different experience. When it comes to food, the atmosphere really matters. You can eat a burger in the parking lot of a fast-food joint and have that same burger in a fancy restaurant, and you’ll have a completely different experience. The atmosphere is so important to me. It doesn’t need to be perfect, but it does have to be memorable. I want to feel nostalgic when thinking back on what and where I ate.
This Malaysian restaurant, located in Fitzrovia, was extremely good. The night we went in, it was a little chilly and we were looking for something to warm us up. This was the place to be. I got their vegan melaka curry laksa, and was floored. I did not know what to expect, as I’ve never had laksa before, but this was so good. The more I had, the better it got. There were many interesting things going on in the bowl, but one thing that really caught my attention was the tofu puffs. It’s really simple, but possibly the best idea ever? I never knew what tofu puffs were before that experience. I think about tofu puffs daily. Rating: 5/5
This place felt casual but in a good way. It had its own little funk to it. My friend and I went here for breakfast (duh, lol). What I ordered was on a special menu. I ordered pancakes with a sweet and spicy mango topping. It was good but felt a lot like dessert. I love dessert, but not always for breakfast. I was still impressed though, and I think I ate the whole thing. Rating 4/5
All of these locations are on my “must revisit” list. If you ever get the chance to go out to London, please check these places out. Let us know what you think too!