Birmingham on a (Vegan) Budget
Our final vegan travel guest blog post comes from Birmingham, UK. London may be getting all the attention right now, but other cities in the UK serve up vegan fare quite nicely!
Restaurants are becoming a lot more accommodating for vegetarians and vegans. There are several chain restaurants in the United Kingdom which have some great vegan options on their menu so you can still go for meals in your non-vegan friend’s favorite restaurants.
Cafe Soya is a vegan’s dream. Everything on the menu is vegan even the ‘chicken skewers’ and ‘duck dishes’ they are made from ‘mock meat’ made from soya and vegetable fiber. The amazing variety of vegan Chinese dishes out there is an eye opener for any diner. Since they make their soya products – milk and tofu – daily they have no need for additives. Health conscious vegans out there, what more could you ask for?
Wagamamas makes eating out as a vegan very easy. Their website has a list of dishes that meet vegan dietary requirements as well as dishes that can be adapted for vegans. Items include their freshly pressed juices (a particularly easy way to get a few servings of friuts or vegetables for the day), as well as a variety of tasty dishes from Itame (sticky rice noodles in coconut and lemongrass soup with tofu and vegetables) to Yasai Cha Han (be sure to ask for no egg). These restaurants are found all over the UK, and it is an easy, safe choice for vegan diners.
Believe it or not, the popular chicken restaurant, Nando’s, has vegan options on their menu. The Nando’s veggie wraps are suitable for vegans, but you have to make sure to ask for no mayonnaise. They also use separate cooking areas for non-meat food items and have specific utensils for vegetarian food. This was one of the most surprising vegan finds in terms of a big chain restaurant’s menu.
Obviously the sushi containing fish is unsuitable for vegans but there are several other choices that don’t contain animal products. Cucumber or Avocado Maki is vegan-friendly as is Miso Soup or Firecracker rice. There are also many sushi bars that offer marinated tofu which is a great option for vegans. Sushi is known to be relatively low calorie and is a great way to spice up your vegan dining experience.
Pizza Express caters well for vegans; all of their pizza dough, pan oil and tomato sauce is suitable for vegans and so long as you let them know whilst ordering they tend to be very helpful, making sure all the non-vegan toppings are left off. Even whilst ordering online you can select the ‘no cheese’ option .
M&S (Marks & Spencer):
For food on the go, M&S is a pretty safe bet. There are a number of vegan friendly salads available as well as vegetable samosas. Some of the seemingly vegan sandwiches may not be due to spreads that contain milk. With a bit of precaution and label reading, M&S is a great port of call for an on the go lunch or a quick snack.
Much like M&S, Pret is a go to place for on the go vegans. Although somewhat limited, there are a few vegan options on the menu. These include the chunky hummus salad and the five bean cassoulet soup. In this chain’s airport branches, the hummus and roaster red peppers as well as the mezze salad are vegan friendly too.
Al Faisals, Birmingham:
Claiming to have served the first balti in Birmingham, Al Faisals is a great place to go for some spicy vegan cuisine. The prices are very good, a vegetarian balti can set you back as little at £5.50. Al Faisals’ bring your own alcohol policy means you can bring a bottle of your favorite vegan wine or beer which makes it even less expensive to go out of a great meal with friends. This restaurant also underwent a fancy makeover recently and it looks really lovely. There is even an option of eating outdoors.
About the Author: Jenny Hart writes on behalf of a healthcare business in the UK. She strongly believes that prevention through healthy diet and exercise can be more important than treatment itself.
Photo courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons / Roland Tanglao