Vegan Dishes Put Worcester on the Map [WoMag]
Posted by Drew.
If you haven’t read this week’s Worcester Magazine yet, you’ve got to pick it up. It features a piece that I wrote, Vegan Dishes Put Worcester on the Map and the blog log features a quote from Manda. Today’s your last day to grab a print copy, the new edition comes out tomorrow.
From Worcester Magazine:
Vegan Dishes Put Worcester on the Map
Story Updated: Oct 13, 2010 at 6:27 PM EDT
In recent years Worcester has grown into a hot spot for the vegan food. This year PETA named Worcester among the top-10 vegan-friendly mid-sized cities in America. At the end of 2009, Worcester even had more vegetarian restaurants than Boston.
The Vegetarian Resource Group found that only 3 percent of the general U.S. population is vegetarian or vegan, but 18 percent of U.S. college students are vegan. With 13 colleges, itâ€™s no surprise that our city has a burgeoning vegan movement. At the end of last April, more than 2,000 Worcesterites came out to the first-annual Worcester VegFest, a daylong vegan festival at Worcester State College.
Vegans avoid meat, dairy and eggs, opting for plant-based foods instead. For some, eating vegan is a way to improve their health. For others, veganism is an ethical objection to the routine cruelty involved in raising animals for food. With our societyâ€™s growing ecological consciousness, many have chosen a vegan diet because it dramatically reduces our carbon footprint Ââ€” in 2006 a United Nations commission published a study stating that livestock is the principal cause of human-made global climate change.
Bill Clinton recently appeared on Wolf Blitzerâ€™s show to discuss why he made the switch to a vegan diet. For Clinton it was a matter of health. â€śI did all this research, and I saw that 82 percent of the people since 1986 who have gone on a plant-based: no meat, no dairy of any kind… 82 percent of people who have done that have begun to heal themselves. Their arterial blockage cleans up; the calcium deposit around their heart breaks up.â€ť
Whatever your reason for choosing vegan food, Worcester has plenty to offer at its many veg-friendly restaurants.
Getting your Vegan Eats in Worcester
Worcester is a melting pot. In our little city, you can sample some of the best vegan foods from around the world. Pho Da Kao on Park Avenue offers big bowls of Vietnamese vegetable Pho, a traditional noodle soup ($7.76). Udupi in Shrewsbury offers all-vegetarian South Indian cuisine. Try the savory Chana Batura â€” chickpea curry with puffy fried bread ($10.25). For a meal on the go, you can pick up a couple of Jamaican curry pockets from One Love Cafe on Main for less than $5. The Sahara on Highland Street has a fattoush salad ($7.95) that makes a hearty-but-healthy lunch.
Youâ€™ll find plenty of vegan options at chain restaurants like Moeâ€™s, but local businesses are often better at responding to local demand. So delicious vegan fare is easier to find at the mom-and-pops. While most restaurants in Worcester will have a vegan dish on the menu, there are definitely some shining stars:
â€˘ For a leisurely lunch, stop by the cafe at Bahnanâ€™s International Market on Pleasant Street. For $7 youâ€™ll get a falafel sandwich, steak fries crusted with Middle Eastern spices, and a soda.
â€˘ A cornerstone of the vegan scene, the second-Saturday-of-the-month buffet at Loving Hut on Chandler is a deal for $10. (Next one: [November 13].)
â€˘ Flats on Maywood Street is a new pizzeria with a stellar Neapolitan vegan cheese pizza ($14), which you get in classy 100 percent post-consumer recycled pizza box. The white sauce is also dairy-free. Flats could certainly win over Worcesterâ€™s entire vegan community by adding mock meats to their menu
â€˘ A relatively new addition to the city, Belmont Veg serves up home-style Jamaican vegan food and features a rotating menu with new items each day. Choose one of the three sizes (small, $9.91; medium, $10.09; large, $12.22) and order a â€śwhateverâ€ť to sample a mix of everything they have that day.
â€˘ If youâ€™re out at the Dive Bar on Water Street, step outside to Chrisâ€™s Hot Dog Cart for a vegan completo: a veggie dog topped with sliced avocado, onions and peppers
â€˘ Like to do your own cooking, but want to try some interesting new ingredients? Mekong Market on Main Street has a substantial selection of specialty mock meats. They have everything from veg pork to vegan shrimp.
Much of the credit for the ample vegan choices at local restaurants is due to Worcesterâ€™s numerous student groups. Every month, college veg groups are holding vegan potlucks or movie nights. Clark Universityâ€™s Student Association of Vegetarian and Vegan Youth has its annual vegan Thanksgiving dinner coming up soon. Itâ€™s free and open to the public. WPIâ€™s Veg Polytech is planning a trip to The Boston Vegetarian Food Festival on the weekend of October 30 and 31 in Roxbury.
Worcester has award-winning vegan food. Get out there and try it!
If you appreciate the coverage of vegan- and vegetarianism, you should send a quick note to the editor (editor@WorcesterMagazine.com) or leave a comment on Worcester Mag’s website. I’m sure she’ll be happy to hear some feedback and encouragement. Who knows? She may even run your comment in the paper.