London's Best Vegan Street Food

By Lydia Manch Last edited 65 months ago

Last Updated 22 February 2019

London's Best Vegan Street Food

A decade ago, rooting out decent vegan food in the Big Smoke took the foraging spirit of Bear Grylls. And look at London now, a city so full of roaming vegan merchants it takes a list devoted just to vegan street food to do them justice.

The nature of these food vans, stalls and pop-ups is that they’re on the move. We’ve listed some of the best places to find them, but hit the links to their websites and social media for the latest locations.

Rubys London: a London street food stall promising amazing vegan sweets and treats.
Ruby's donuts - buy hard.

Chai donuts at Rubys of London

There’s no obvious reason that Greenwich Market should be such a vegan heartland, but it is. Things have reached a critical mass, and fledging street food stalls turn up knowing they’ll find a readymade vegan audience.

Among the market’s regular vegan traders are Return to Shashamane — covered later — and Vegan Garden London, but Rubys of London shouldn’t be missed, even if you’re just hitting their vegan patisserie stand to stock up for later. We’ve yet to make it there on a day when they have any of their chai-spiced baked donuts left so the moral is: go early and buy hard.

Rubys of London. Where to find them: Greenwich Market, weekends only.

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BBQ jackfruit at Club Mexicana

Carnivores, prepare to get indignant at the way jackfruit’s somehow become the territory of vegans — and the BBQ jackfruit from Club Mexicana above all. We’ll be straight with you: although it does shred down like pulled pork, think of it as a meat substitute and it’ll be a disappointment. Think of it as a dish in its own right and it’s brilliant — smoky and sticky, substantial as a slow-cooked meat and harder to eat elegantly than any spare rib.

Club Mexicana. Where to find them: they're often at Dinerama, but you'll find them most reliably pitched up at The Spread Eagle vegan pub in Homerton from Tuesday to Sunday.

Massaman curry at Buddha Bowls

These turn up a lot at festivals, like beacons of wholesomeness. Buddha Bowls rice boxes are filled with massaman curry, potatoes, kimchi, greenery and wholegrain rice — decline the extra halloumi to keep it vegan. They taste much nicer than anything so full of nutrition rightly should.

Buddha Bowls. Where to find them: Whitecross Street Market most Thursday and Friday lunchtimes, plus a host of festivals in the summer.

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Thali at Gujarati Rasoi

We were mournful when Gujarati Rasoi's beloved Dalston restaurant closed in January 2019, but grateful you can still track down their always-vegetarian, often-vegan dishes at their market stalls. Their warming, vibrant thali boxes are one of the few foods in London we genuinely don't mind queuing for (and it's rare to find their stalls without a long line of people next to it), because the payoff's always magnificent.

Beyond the thalis, keep a watch out for the warming properties of the methi butetta (a fenugreek and potato dish) or the deep-fried, lightly crunchy butetta vada, a potato-coriander-chilli ball that makes for a beautiful lunch al desko. But our real recommendation is to hit their stalls with enough people — or greed — to order one of everything. And repeat a minimum of once a week till the end of winter.

Gujarati Rasoi. Where to find them: Borough Market from Monday to Saturday, 9am - 5pm, or Broadway Market on Saturday from 9am - 5pm.

Best vegan street food stalls in London: try the falafel at Hoxton Beach.
Fab falafel at Hoxton Beach.

Falafels at Hoxton Beach

Who doesn’t love a falafel? A barbarian, that’s who. Hoxton Beach also sell salads and baked goods, all entirely vegan and broadly Middle Eastern. But the wraps are the real reason to visit one of their market stalls or outposts (there’s one inside London Fields Lido) — chickpea or fava falafels, freshly-fried on stall, along with their signature pickles and an impressive amount of (controversially, no-garlic) hummus.

Hoxton Beach. Where to find them: markets all over, including Ropewalk Market at weekends and Whitecross Street Market on weekdays.

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Bleeding burgers at Halo Burger

Okay, the term 'bleeding burger' may not usually get vegan mouths watering, but it definitely should in this case. Halo Burger serve 100% plant-based bleeding burgers, so-called because they promise a bun-ensconced patty that is surprisingly close to the real deal (it's beetroot juice that gives the burger that 'bloody' finish). It's guilt-free, fast-food dining that hits the same cheese-slathered spot as your standard quarter pounder — while being a lot more substantial and satisfying. For a vegan treat likely to convert a carnivore, you'll be hard pushed to find better. And for added cheesy heft, there's the Don't Have a Cow fries, loaded with vegan cheese, caramelised onions and a heavy swathe of Halo's house sauce. Proof that vegan food doesn't mean low-cal puritanism.

Halo Burger. Where to find them: Pop Brixton, seven days a week.

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'Fish' burger at Itis Eats

Trinidadian food is the name of the game at Itis Eats street food stall, and we are down to play. The roti is hard to resist, but trust us when we say it's their fish burger that can't be missed. This vegan burger is a colossal beast, packed full of crispy battered vegan fish,  sweet pineapple chow, sour tamarind sauce, and a slathering of coleslaw for good measure. It's a winner every time.

Itis Eats. Where to find them: Venn Street Market on a Saturday

Vegan Sweet Tooth: a London street food stall promising amazing vegan sweets, treats and cakes.
Vegan Sweet Tooth chocolate cake.

Ornate cakes at Vegan Sweet Tooth  

Chamomile and zucchini cake? Blueberry and lavender gateaux? Giancarlo Roncato’s Italian food stall has you covered. His bakery specialises in ornate, curlicued cakes on commission, but if you don’t have a big-ticket occasion you can hit up his stall for slices of the day’s specials.

Doing a bit more than it says on the label, Vegan Sweet Tooth also has a few savoury tricks up its sleeves. If you’re starting to feel soy-chocolate frosting fatigue, try the slabs of rosemary and olive oil focaccia or spinach quiche.   

Vegan Sweet Tooth. Where to find them: vegan food festivals around London and beyond (they also make and deliver custom cakes around the capital).

Schiacciata flatbreads at Just Fab  

Comprehensively proving that veganism doesn’t have to mean buying into the clean-eating cult is the schiacciata — stuffed Sicilian flatbread — from Just Fab. These roaming traders serve hot dishes from a double-decker bus on Hackney Road, and manage to make their mostly Sicilian street food — polenta, lasagne, spinach arancini — feel just as indulgent as the non-vegan version.

Note: as of November 2018, Just F.a.B. is currently looking for a new home for the bus in London. Keep your eyes peeled on their website for more information on the move

Just Fab. Where to find them: keep your eyes peeled!