Courtney Manning is an official CAPA blogger for spring 2017, sharing her story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A Convergence Journalism major at the University of Missouri-Columbia, she is studying abroad in London this semester.
In this week's post, Courtney shares her experience so far of being vegetarian in London with a goal of transitioning to a fully vegan lifestyle.
London is the perfect place to be if you’re vegetarian, vegan or just trying to eat healthy. I’ve been a vegetarian since I was 9-years-old, and this year I’ve been transitioning into a vegan lifestyle. I’ve learned in the three weeks that I’ve been living here that London has a fantastic array of vegan and vegetarian options almost anywhere you choose to eat.
The majority of people on my trip are actually vegetarian as well, along with one other vegan. It’s really nice to have other people around me who support my eating habits and are willing to go try different restaurants with me that big meat-eaters typically wouldn’t visit. Last night, for example, my vegan friend, Amanda, and I went to dinner at this Italian restaurant called Zizzi’s, which has a few vegan options including an incredible pizza with vegan mozzarella made from coconut oil. It’s the first vegan cheese substitute that I have ever tasted that actually tastes like cheese! I would recommend it to vegans and carnivores alike. All of the markets in London tend to have vegan stands as well. At Borough Market, there’s a fantastic place called Big V which has the most incredible “burgers” I’ve ever tried.
A lot of people here are trying “Veganuary,” aka just trying to go vegan for the whole of January. It’s really great to be surrounded by a lot of healthy people here, which is something I’ve really noticed is a bit different from back in the States. Granted, there are unhealthy people in all parts of the world, but I’ve definitely noticed that working out and eating healthy seems to be more common here.
Another place with vegan options that I really like is called Chin Chin, located in the Camden Market. It’s an amazing hot chocolate and ice cream place, and I’ve tried vegan options for both there. I ordered golden latte ice cream and coffee cake the first time I went there (wasn’t a huge fan, though) and vegan hot chocolate the second time I went, which was absolutely incredible. The marshmallow topping wasn’t vegan however, oops.
There’s a Chinese restaurant right across from my flat building called Dou-Dou (gross sounding, I know) that has a full vegan buffet. It’s insanely cheap, and has all different types of Chinese food such as sweet ‘n’ sour chicken and Lo Mein noodles. It’s definitely not the best food I’ve ever had, but it does the trick. Even the famous Cereal Killer Café, also in Camden Market, has vegan options. I have yet to try those, but I’m very excited to!
The next two places I want to try are called Mildred’s, which is in Camden and Wild Food Café, which is in Covent Garden. I’ve even gotten some great vegan foods from the supermarkets here, namely Sainsbury’s and Morrison’s. It’s funny because at home I buy a lot of fake refrigerated/frozen meats, and even those here have a very British touch, such as “meat” pies and other typical British foods.
I’m really excited to try many other vegan/vegetarian restaurants in London. This is definitely a good city for me to be living in!
Courtney's journey continues every Wednesday so stay tuned.