The English capital is known for its culinary diversity, and its vegan street food is no exception. Here are seven amazing vegan street food joins in London.
London has seen a rise in vegan cuisine over the last few years, with plant-based foods emerging in restaurants, cafes, supermarkets and pop-ups. London has very much led the pack when it comes to vegan food with not only more restaurants choices, but vegan tasting menus at Michelin starred restaurants. Though for me, the real joy has been the abundance of vegan street food that has popped up left and right.
There’s something about street food that is a bit different. It’s relaxed, and there’s no fuss. You can rock up in your jeans after a day of sightseeing and no one bats an eyelid. Meals are filling, creative and varied. There are internationally-influenced options, both sweet and savory, and the hotspots are usually located in the hippest parts of town.
Whether you’ve been vegan for years, or are just dipping your toe in the water, there’s no doubt that there are huge benefits for animals and the environment by choosing to forego meat, dairy and eggs, and London has a myriad of choices at your disposal.
I have enjoyed some pretty epic vegan street food in London. I don’t claim to have tried it all, but I plan to! In the meantime, I’d like to share the best places I have found to get my dose of vegan gluttony.
1. Astro Vegan
Leather Lane Market is home to a new stall called Astro Vegan which has a unique mix of Italian foods. The highlight is the mixed box, with their specialty: Griddled polenta cooked with rosemary, accompanied by beans, spinach and salads. They also offer a fabulously greasy panini with aubergine and tapenade, and a healthy avocado and mixed bean wrap.(20-22 Leather Ln, Leather Lane Market, website)
Also on Leather Lane is, in my humble opinion, the best falafel in all of London. Although Chick does offer meat options too, their crispy, aromatic falafel balls are completely vegan and come in either a salad or pita with hummus, vegetables, pickles and splashes of tahini and chili sauce. To put the quality into perspective, I visited Israel and Palestine this year, home of falafel, and it took me a long time to find anything that matched up to Chick. (Leather Lane Market, 19A Leather Ln; website)
3. Temple of Hackney
London’s vegan street food Mecca has to be Temple of Hackney, a takeaway devoted to vegan fried chicken. The faux meat, made from seitan, is the most beautiful consistency and coated in crispy batter. The seitan chicken comes in the form of burgers, fillets, wings, popcorn bites, and can be accompanied by fries and vegan mac and cheese. And people say vegans are healthy! (10 Morning Ln, website)
4. What The Pitta
Keeping in line with plant-based “meat”, another vegan street food stalwart in London is What The Pitta where you can find vegan doner kebabs. There are branches in the trendy Boxpark complexes, based in Shoreditch and Croydon. The bread wraps are made fresh when you order and stuffed with soya chunks, the salads of your choice, hummus, and soya tzatziki. Though What The Pitta is most famous for its doner, it has other Turkish preparations on offer… the baklava is exquisite. (Multiple locations, website)
5. Piadina Genuina
One of the saddest things about going vegan was knowing that I would never eat my favorite Italian foods again: Creamy pasta and cheesy pizzas. Then one day I followed following an unassuming sign in Homerton that said ‘Italian vegan street food’. I ended up in a small, welcoming café offering plant-based versions of my former foods of choice. Piadina Genuina stocks all the hearty Italian classics from spaghetti carbonara made with seitan, to mushroom ravioli, lasagne, piadana and calzone. (251 Wick Rd, website)
6. Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen
I came across Zoe’s Ghana Kitchen at a vegetarian festival. Her Brixton branch does serve meat and dairy, but her vegan food is some of London’s best. I speak specifically of the ‘Red Red Spiced Bean Stew & Plantain’ which is wild in flavor. The plantain is cooked to perfection, a delightful balance of sweetness and chargrilled smokiness. And at only a fiver a box, you’ll be fully satisfied and maybe even have change for one of their cheeky cocktails, like the super spicy Jollof Mary. (Unit 36, POP Brixton, website)
7. Cookies and Scream
I couldn’t write about street food in London without sharing something sweet. Cookies and Scream provides the perfect dessert or snack, with vegan and gluten-free baked goods and shakes. I’m often dubious of gluten-free items, concerned that they won’t live up to their wheat counterparts, but Cookies and Scream products are as indulgent as you can imagine. Freshly baked doughnuts, muffins, cookies, brownies and cakes, all washed down with a thick peanut butter shake. Sounds good to me! (130 Holloway Rd, website)
These are my top picks for vegan street food in London, but there are countless others plus new locales opening every week. It’s safe to say that if you’re looking for a hearty vegan meal in London that you can grab on-the-go, you wouldn’t be disappointed…just perhaps a few pounds heavier by the end of your visit.