By Avneet Takhar
It’s no secret that veganism has been on the rise in the last few years, and most notably within the health-conscious West Coast.
When plant-based comes to mind, media coverage tends to be dominated by food outlets and “food-fluencers” who happen to be white. But the communities of colour who have primarily always provided veggie options (Indian and Vietnamese in particular) are leading the way in showing how it’s done.
Here’s the lowdown on 5 PoC (people of colour) vegan spots that are causing a stir.
Cham Cham Vegan Vietnamese
Chefpreneur Kim Vo decided to leave her well-established catering and food truck business in Toronto for Vancouver- amidst the pandemic! Some would say a bold choice when the world was at the brink of disaster? But she didn’t even blink before setting up in Kits with Cham Cham (meaning ‘slow-down’ in Vietnamese).
The crunchy Saigon chick’n wings with sticky rice are a regular sell-out, and the trio of fresh rolls with homemade peanut sauce are quite literally a taste of heaven!
Takeout available on Uber Eats, Skip The Dishes, DoorDash or call directly at: (604)-314-4002.
1605 W 5th Ave, Vancouver
Transit: 99 bus, then a 5-minute walk from W Broadway @ Granville St
Purpose Smoothie Co
Founder Braedan Ralla was inspired by his mother, Devi Ralla to create a purpose and health-driven lifestyle. With all-natural ingredients in the smoothies, coffees and soups, the proof is in the produce.
Some desi favourites include grandma’s curried chickpea soup (the recipe’s straight outta Jalandhar, India) and Get Right Package containing 4 types of smoothie blends, featuring a mango turmeric for anti-inflammatory goodness.
115-3900 Bayview St. Richmond at Broadway St
Transit: 401 bus, then a 5-minute walk from Steveston Exchange
Nam Vegan Express
Mother and son duo, Yen and Daryl are long-time residents of the Burnaby food scene, opening in 2003 and adjusting from table to casual counter service to keep up with the recent changes of the pandemic.
Flavoursome offerings such as the vegetable chow mein in a vegan oyster sauce and the fried eggless rolls, with sweet chili sauce will seriously make you think “meat who?”.
8681 10th Ave, Burnaby
Transit: 101 bus, then a 6-minute walk from Armstrong Ave @ Langley St
GNJ Vegetarian Bistro
An Indian fusion restaurant with a vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free menu, this one’s a crowd pleaser. Owner Pria goes all out with an abundance of offerings!
The aloo tikka (potato patties) burger with sweet and sour chutney is not to be missed, or the veggie lasagne topped with daiya cheese and a side of garlic vegan bread. Indian coffee or masala chai for afters is highly recommended.
#100 – 7310 120th Street, Surrey
Transit: 340 bus, then a 3-minute walk from Scott Road @ 72nd Ave
Vegan Pizza House
Owner Jimmy Hoang has been a vegan long before the term was coined, and with over two decades of experience working in Italian and Greek restaurants, he decided to open his own turf which serves a combination of pizzas, pastas and salads.
The spicy vegan pizza coupled with a typical spanakopita (spinach savoury pie) and Greek salad is what we call a feast!
Dine-in and takeout available on Uber Eats, Skip The Dishes, DoorDash.
11267 125a St #106, Surrey / 2119 Kingsway, Vancouver
Transit: 11-minute walk from Scott Road Station / a 2-minute walk from Kingsway @ Victoria Dr
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