David and Charlotte Bailey have taken the street markets by storm with their vibrant, healthy vegetarian and vegan cuisine. In their first blog for Veganuary, they tell us what it’s really like being vegan on the London street food scene…
There are times, when looking for vegan street food, that you can feel a bit swamped by never ending permutations of the meat in bread variety. One of the key perks of working in the scene is making swaps with all your neighbours, and there have been times when we’ve felt really sad that there was no food for us to do a trade with! I mean obviously we really love our Buddha Bowls (five years on and we still enjoy one ourselves every time we open the hatch), but every now and then we love to try something different and be on the other side of the counter, and these days it’s getting more and more possible.
Heading to a pure vegetarian Indian stall is always a good idea and usually our first port of call. We can’t get enough of the dosas and bhel puri from Dosa Deli, or the jhal muri from the unforgettable Everybody Love Love Jhal Muri Express trolley, or the Pani Puri and Samosa Chat from Horn Ok Please. A riot of colours and flavours, this is vegan street food at it’s very best.
You generally can’t go too wrong with Middle Eastern Fare either. Oli from Oli Baba’s Hummus Elevator is seriously passionate about, you guessed it, hummus. His homemade version is incredibly delicious; inspired by six months living in the Middle east, eating Abu Hassan’s for four of them. We love our Whitecross Street neighbours Hoxton Beach too, and have devoured their falafal wraps with extra grilled aubergine on numerous occasions.
What we love about these places is that they are exclusively vegetarian, so you know there’s no contamination, but there are also increasingly good options being offered alongside carnivorous ones. Veggie burritos (our other dear Whitecross neighbours Luardos do a pretty mean one), dumplings (Rainbo and Dorshi always have good veggie choices), and even pizza (Voodoo Ray’s ‘Queen Vegan’ is topped with artichokes, green olives, onions, sun blushed tomatoes and drizzled with their special green sauce and kept us going during one particularly long and cold winter event) are just some of our favourites.
Or ditch the food, and get on trend with juicing. Last summer, we were amazed at how many brilliant juice and smoothie stalls there were everywhere we went. And we were so grateful for access to such a good nutrition hit after countless weeks in fields! The Botanic Lab raw pressed juices were one of our most gratefully received swaps as it began to pour with rain at Wilderness Festival last year, and now we always look for them in the shops.
And the great thing is that this is just a tiny snapshot. Seriously, when we first started out, one of the main reasons we got involved in street food was because we were sick of going to events and there being nothing plant-based to eat, but now it’s a whole new ball game… We often have to remind ourselves these days that we’re there to work not gorge ourselves!