Vegan food seems to divide opinion, particularly based on some of the social media comments I’ve read recently. But there’s no denying it’s showing up on my social media feeds, food events and menus more. than. ever. So what’s all the fuss about?
I’m going to start with my travels. Whilst backpacking India and Asia I became aware of vegan options on an almost daily basis (like my Five Best Vegan Dishes In India), so I guess it turns out many backpackers are tree-hugging hippy vegan types? No surprises there.
But I don’t consider myself a tree-hugging, hippy vegan type. And yet I’m keen to explore vegan options because vegan food really is making it into the mainstream in so many ways… But why?
First of all, the best chefs are making vegan food accessible, exciting and downright delicious. Meat-free alternatives are improving, and people are eager to try them out. Even if vegan food is completely new to them. That’s the vibe I got earlier this week at GRUB’s vegan food fair; just a group of people coming together to try new food and drink and hang out.
The most exciting food there (in my opinion) is from Nasi Lemak, Malaysian street food extraordinaires. Their satay skewers, vegan fried chicken (both seitan), spring rolls and sweet potato fries (naturally vegan recipes) all blew me away. Absolutely banging Asian-inspired food that’s vibrant and tasty and affordable.
Secondly, vegan food is better for the planet. I’m not going to argue this one to the death, but it is. If you want more information, make sure you check out the ‘Cowspiracy’ documentary which is available on Netflix!
Finally, vegan food is often healthier. I’m not going to ‘go vegan’ anytime soon, BUT I’m happy that places like GRUB are making it more accessible, bringing it into the mainstream so that people like me (with chronic FOMO) can try it out and see how we feel about the whole thing.
As an example of trying new vegan alternatives, take this ‘vegan black pudding’… Now I did at first wonder why on earth they would call it such a thing, as surely vegans are repulsed at the thought of a food made from pigs blood? But then I realised it was the name itself that drew me towards trying it.
And I did enjoy it? Yes. It felt very healthy, earthy and ‘clean’ – which is more than I can say on the health front for regular black pudding. Made from beets, pulses and grains and served atop a lush green salad with loads of different dressings and chutneys to try. I thought this was delicious, nutritious and well-marketed, particularly at non-vegans.
I do have one gripe however and that is, as it now stands, vegan pizza is not for me. The guys at “I Knead Pizza” were at the event making a range of vegan pizzas – using vegan cheese. And they did seem quite popular, especially as they’d sold out of a couple of options. I tried their roasted veg pizza with added vegan cheese and sun-dried tomatoes…
I wish I could say something good about this pizza, but I can’t. I guess the tomato sauce base was nice. But overall, it was undercooked, the base was too thick and all the toppings were falling off. I don’t think vegan cheese is for me either – powdery and seemingly resistant to melting. I just didn’t enjoy it at all.
BUT, IF ANYONE knows of good vegan pizza out there, please leave a link in the comments, I am well up for being proven WRONG if good vegan pizza does exist!
So, when it comes to vegan food I guess people are just becoming more ‘conscious’ eaters. Finding our own balance between food choices, for health, the planet and of course, satisfying our ‘Fear Of Missing Out’. I’M TOTALLY COOL WITH THAT and look forward to my next vegan food adventure!