Vegan Foodie Destination: New Westminster
Earlier this week, I grabbed my vegan friend Darien, and we headed to New Westminster for a Vegan food crawl.
Who knew that New West was such a vegan foodie Mecca? Turns out, if you’re vegan, there are plenty of awesome and tasty options for you.
Here’s what our happy taste buds discovered.
Karmavore has long been a go-to destination for vegan food supplies. They had pretty much everything Daiya, and joy of joys, vegan marshmallows! They also have a very cute cafe. Recently, they shut down their basement grocery, but they are still open and operating as a cafe, now with even more options. Their Juice bar, currently residing in The River Market, will be moving to this location in the next little while. Tons of yummy vegan options here: hot and cold, as well as vegan baking. We had delicious pumpkin cupcakes, and, of course, peanut butter cups.
UPDATE: The building that Karmavore was in had a fire, and it is now permanently closed.
It’s a bit hard to find. But the journey is worth it. The Spud Shack is located inside the New West Skytrain Station. Journey up to the third floor for the most beautiful, perfectly crispy, seasoned french fries, smothered in Daiya cheese and vegan gravy.
A charming little Thai cafe located right at the end of the River Market, facing the water, we had the best vegan pad thai I think I’ve ever tasted. Tofu, spicy, but not too hot, perfectly al dente noodles, contrasting with the lovely crunch and coolness of bean sprouts. It’s garnished with chopped peanuts, sliced green onions and a wedge of lime. This was a tasty, tasty dish, that I’m pretty sure even meat-eaters would love.
If you haven’t yet discovered Donald’s, you’re in for a treat. My sister-in-law, a vegetarian, makes weekly treks to the one nearest her and comes home with bags of produce. Not only do they have lovely, fresh fruits and vegetables, but they have the best selection I have found of vegetarian and vegan cheeses, meats, and supplements. You can get Tofurky, Yves, Field Roast, Daiya (including the new cream cheese, which my son had one taste of and demanded I purchase immediately), as well as lots of pre-made options, like Amy’s.
You’ll want to wind up your foodie adventure at this adorable little crêperie, where they actually have an entire menu for vegans that features 16 sweet and savoury crêpes (plus additional seasonal specials). The owner still has a very thick french accent, despite being in Canada for quite a few years, but that just adds to the entire authentic experience. Erin Jeffrey, the event manager at the River Market, recommends peanut butter, bananas and coconut.
You’ll want a hot beverage with your crêpe, of course, and this is the place to get it. They have an extensive list of black, rooibos, green, white and herbal teas. I recommend their River Market Mist Soy Latte. It absolutely rocked. You can choose what kind of tea you want, but I went with the traditional Earl Grey, and it may have been the best I’ve ever had. Oh–bonus–if you “like” their Facebook page, they give away a free cup of tea every day, based on what your name is.
Honourable Mentions (these are places I didn’t get to, but came highly recommended):
The Black Bean and Corn Chili from Re-Up BBQ, Kung Po Noodle from Wild Rice, and Sorbet from Tre Galli Gelato Cafe (all in The River Market). Cloud 9 Bakery (1025 Royal Ave), has gluten-free treats on offer, but they aren’t open on Mondays, so I didn’t get to sample.
I think a second trip is in order. Who wants to come?