One of the most challenging parts of veganism is finding alternatives that actually taste good and maintain the integrity of beloved animal product dishes — like jackfruit pulled pork, cashew cheese and macarons made from chickpea water (yes, really). This can become more challenging when trying to recreate authentic dishes from different cultures. While vegans may not be able to eat Bubbe’s slow-cooked brisket or Abuela’s cotija-topped chilaquiles, there are plenty of ethnic restaurants near NYU that offer meals that are already vegan, or can easily become plant-based with a few tweaks.
CAS first-year Angelique Bailey describes her favorite late night craving.
“There aren’t a lot of vegan Jamaican restaurants,” she said. “I’ve only been able to find certain dishes that are vegan, but not a specific Jamaican vegan restaurant. Jamaican food has a lot of vegan options. Collard greens, plantains, those are the ones I can think of on top of my head.”
Bailey’s favorite vegan Jamaican dish is the curry roti at Negril. Situated at 70 W. 3rd St., just two minutes from Washington Square Park, Negril has an array of delicious Jamaican dishes.
“The curry is just really, really good,” she said. “I love how it all comes together.”
Negril’s curry roti blends elements of Jamaican cuisine with Indian cuisine, as roti is a kind of South Asian flatbread.
CAS first-year and lifelong vegan Ashley Winegarden has found New York City to be a hub for vegan eats.
“I have found so many great vegan eateries here,” she said.
Winegarden, who is of Taiwanese and Jewish descent, proclaims Ginger Root Vegan as her favorite. The plant-based Asian fusion restaurant is situated on 1164 First Ave. features an array of options, from noodles to rice bowls.
“It’s a bit of a hike since it’s on the Upper East Side, but the basil soy protein is my go-to,” Winegarden said. “The tanginess of the dish is something that really stood out to me. Vegan food can sometimes be super bland, so I definitely look for stronger flavors when I go out for a meal.”
Even cheese-laden Italian food has plenty of vegan-friendly options. Liberal Studies first-year Ella Salomon is of Italian descent and still manages to find dishes that fit her plant-based diet. She prefers Lupa, a small Italian eatery on 170 Thompson St. in Greenwich Village. It boasts a variety of Italian dishes for both vegans and non-vegans.
“In New York, there are so many options. I haven’t explored all of them, but my favorite one right now is Lupa,” she said. “I love the spaghetti with pomodoro sauce. You have to ask for it with no Parmesan. Lupa can be a bit expensive though. I went there with my family over winter break and it was definitely on the pricier side.”
While eating the same Gardein faux-chicken tenders and Postmate-ing by Chloe. might be the simplest option, these students prove that going vegan doesn’t mean forgoing the dishes that remind them of home.
Email Ruhaan Mutsuddi at [email protected]