Celebrate World Vegan Month at Vancouver Restaurants

Kelp salt roasted king oyster mushrooms with leeks at The Acorn Restaurant; Photo Credit: Sean David

Happy World Vegan Month! Every November, vegans around the world pay tribute to the diet and its benefits–and there are plenty of ways to celebrate in Vancouver.

A study done in 2020 by Chef’s Pencil found that Vancouver is ninth globally and second in North America for interest in veganism. Vancouver restaurants are also particularly receptive to showcasing vegan items, with many like The Naam (2724 West 4th Avenue), crafting plant-based menus. Even restaurants that are not wholly vegan offer many vegan options, making Vancouver an excellent destination for plant-based eating.

The Acorn Restaurant

Pan roasted North Arm Farm black salsify; Photo Credit: Eva von Jagow

The jewel of Vancouver’s vegetarian and vegan dining scene, The Acorn Restaurant (3995 Main Street), has consistently been lauded for its refined approach to seasonal plant-based eating. Big Seven Travel listed them as the #1 vegan-friendly restaurant in the world. A tour of the menu reveals many beautifully conceived and executed items, such as pan roasted North Arm Farm black salsify with burnt grand fir brown butter, Mount Pleasant magnolia vinegar, parsley root purée, ox eye daisy capers, and crispy salsify skins. The dishes at Acorn exude a passion for this local environment, drawing on ingredients that speak to the earth and sea and their shifting abundance throughout the year.

Another lovely dish, which spotlights fall vegetables, is a mushroom creation with kelp salt roasted oyster mushroom, king alder shiitake, and melted leeks with fermented shiitake stem XO sauce, pickled shiitake, Haida Gwaii macro kelp, and local harvest farm lemongrass emulsion.

Nuba

Najib’s Special; Sourced from Nuba

Nuba’s (207 West Hastings Street) Lebanese menu includes a range of vegan dishes that prove that flavour is not sacrificed when it comes to plant-based cooking. Many diners go specifically for Najib’s Special: crispy cauliflower tossed with lemon and sea salt, and served with tahini, pita, and pickled cabbage. Also popular is the falafel plate that comes with hummus, salad, pickled cabbage, olives, and your choice of base (e.g. roasted potatoes); as well as the Mjadra, consisting of organic green lentils cooked with rice, onion, and jalapeno, served with avocado, caramelized onions, pita, and pickled cabbage. Clearly, plant-based eating is incredibly satisfying at Nuba.

Davie Dosa Company

Sourced from Davie Dosa Company

Dosas, a South Indian delicacy, are wonderfully showcased at Davie Dosa Company (1235 Davie Street) where owner Sharv Ramachandran will enthusiastically guide you through the bold flavours of South India. The dosa itself, a delicate savoury lentil and rice crêpe, is vegan (as well as gluten- and nut-free) and can be filled with a range of vegan ingredients, like curried cauliflower, eggplant, and spiced potato. The texture of this restaurant’s dosa, delicately crisp, perfectly complements the heartier, spiced fillings. The restaurant also offers some highly flavourful vegan curries, like one with chickpeas, or another with yellow lentils.

Do Chay

Vegan spring rolls; Sourced from Do Chay

Vancouver has fallen hard for Do Chay (1269 Hamilton Street), a vegetarian Vietnamese restaurant that recently launched a second location in sleek Yaletown. Flavours are lively and inventive, drawing upon the best of Vietnamese cuisine and plant-based flavours. Most of the items are vegan, including crispy spring rolls that are accompanied by mustard greens and herbs for wrapping as well as Do Chay’s very popular ish sauce, an umami-rich vegan replacement for fish sauce. The vegan verm is also popular, featuring lemongrass chili, a spring roll, oyster mushrooms, king oyster mushrooms, wood ear mushrooms, carrot, fresh herbs, greens, and peanuts – all on vermicelli. Do Chay has also created a vegan pho with avocado, yuba, yo choy, broccoli, oyster mushrooms, and rice noodles in their vegan pho broth. It’s a go-to autumn warm-up meal. Basically, you can’t go wrong with anything you order at Do Chay.

The Belgard Kitchen

Dragon Bowl; Sourced from Belgard Kitchen

Located in the beautiful Settlement Building with its soaring ceilings, The Belgard Kitchen (55 Dunlevy Avenue) specializes in craft beer and small plates that evidence a commitment to the local and the seasonal. Lunch features vegan items like a smashed avocado super toast consisting of grilled organic sourdough, smashed avocado, toasted seeds, hemp hearts, pickled red onion, shaved radish, micro greens, and confit oil. Other vegan selections are a Dragon Bowl with sweet sesame tofu, avocado, pickled red onion, shaved carrot and beet, roasted broccoli, marinated peppers, spinach, seasoned brown rice, and garlic tahini dressing; as well as an Emerald Bowl with baby spinach, romaine hearts, snap peas, roasted rutabaga, pickled red onion, green chickpeas, quinoa, hemp and seed blend, jalapeño tahini, and green goddess dressing.

The dinner menu features the Emerald Bowl, in addition to a vegan roasted cauliflower with romesco sauce, crispy capers, toasted almonds, and fresh lemon; as well as a ruby beet salad with sous vide candy cane beets, pickled ruby beets, sunflower seed pesto, seasonal greens, herbed cashew cheese, candied walnuts, and white balsamic vinaigrette.

Tacofino and Beetbox Collab

Sourced from Tacofino and Beetbox

Excitingly, Vancouver’s popular Mexican chain, Tacofino (15 West Cordova Street), has joined forces with plant-based restaurant Beetbox (1074 Davie Street) to create the ultimate, limited edition vegan burrito in honour of World Vegan Day. Playfully named “Not Today, Seitan,” the burrito features fried breaded seitan, pumpkin-seed macha, cashew-lime crema, white-cucumber kimchi, lettuce, and lime chilaquiles – all in a Tacofino flour tortilla. It’s available at the Gastown Tacofino and at Beetbox from November 1 to November 7, 2020.

The Union

Spicy veggie kimchi fries; Sourced from The Union

Although The Union (219 Union Street) isn’t a vegetarian restaurant, this convivial pan-Asian spot has numerous vegan items (handily labeled as vegan on their menu). Options consist of steamed bao with fried tofu, pickled red cabbage, cucumber, cilantro, peanuts, siracha hoisin sauce; addictive cauli-wings; a sweet and sour fried tofu vegan banh mi; spicy Szechuan cucumbers; spicy veggie kimchi fries with tofu bacon, vegan siracha mayo, scallions, bean sprouts, nootch, and sesame seeds; a vegan green curry bowl with tofu, sweet peppers, mushrooms, zucchini, baby corn, and coconut milk, served with jasmine rice; and a vermicelli bun bowl with fried tofu, rice noodles, pickled carrot and daikon, cucumber, lettuce, fresh herbs, bean sprouts, and peanuts. It all sounds amazing!

So, dig into a bowl of plant-based goodness in honour of World Vegan Month!

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