Vegan in London… an experience not to be missed!
By Rory M Herron, on 14 March 2019
by Rachita Shah (UCL Summer School 2018)
If like me, you missed Veganuary 2019, you don’t need to wait till 2020… you can still get a taste of the Vegan Experience anytime… especially if you are in London!
Am a vegetarian who also eats eggs and yet happily chose to go vegan for the convenience of it while in London in the summer of 2018. Going vegan was easy mainly for me ‘cos of the clarity of the concept itself and the enormity of vegan options available in this cultural melting pot!
I was keen on experimenting with the vast delectable cuisines on offer in this cosmopolitan city and so I, as an Indian, consciously stayed away from Indian cuisine (which I must admit I absolutely love!). My 25 days (not enough!) of happily gorging on vegan delicacies from different cuisines had hits and misses and alongside these lip-smacking delicacies, I enjoyed delightful conversations with complete strangers who had either turned vegan or were just trying it out. Food got us together, conversations kept us connected, sharing cultural experiences and expressing ourselves just happened amidst all the laughter and curiosity!
Believe this marks an evolution of a new culture – it’s all embracing! My quest for fantastic vegan fare took me across different parts of London while I admired the city’s robust transport infrastructure, coupled with the very user-friendly Transport for Lonfon (TfL) app. The icings on the cake were that the sumptuous food and high-energy interactions which further fuelled my zest to learn and focus on my very exciting UCL Summer School module, ‘Business Psychology’. Furthermore, the unique, ‘out-of-class’ observations and interactions with entrepreneurs, restaurateurs, managers, staff, customers, fence-sitters et al – the “explorers” in this newfound Vegan world (!) – only served to reinforce the learnings from the classroom!
In no particular order, here are the culinary delights I relished most:
- Borough Market (mouth-watering Big ‘V’ burgers)
- Bloomsbury Farmers’ Market (pasta per favore!)
- Goodge Place Market (Paella – truly, a satiating meal)
- Hackney Downs All Vegan Market (finally some Fish & Chips and Vegan Beer! The Ramen bowl was a nice surprise)
- Andu Café and Engocha (both serve comforting Ethiopian platters that are similar yet different)
- Manna Restaurant (British Sunday Roast – yay!)
- The Sky Garden (healthy veggie wrap… very gourmet!)
- Café Van Gogh (heart-warming Burgers and more!)
- Itsu (Japanese became my soul food!)
- Pret-a-Manger (the chickpeas & mango chutney sandwich is yum especially when it’s part of your picnic basket at one of the lovely parks)
The warmth of all these memories and friendships of a lifetime have made this London trip a truly memorable one! I’d say ‘try vegan!’… Not just for the food but for the immensely fun and uniquely enriching experience!