No Animals Were Harmed...
Queens presents the discerning and enthusiastic eater with an insane array of options. We know this. That’s why you’re reading an entire magazine dedicated to it, why certain tattooed men explore it on their food-travel TV shows, why it has birthed two of our most beloved local chains.
If you’re looking for something—tempeh served in a traditional Indonesian style, a tamale from a cart, a taco from a truck—Queens will have it. From Indian sweets shops in Jackson Heights to the Thai of Elmhurst to the Chinatown of Flushing, New York City’s most diverse borough always delivers.
But does it do so for vegans, the persnickety people who eat no animal products? The vegan diet doesn’t just exclude meat and dairy, but perfectly poached eggs, a sprinkle of feta, the tang of tzatziki and the umami of fish sauce. There are many places in Manhattan and Brooklyn that service this diet exclusively, carefully fermenting their own cashew cheese and blending house-made veggie burgers.
You don’t hear much about that sort of thing happening in Queens. Nonetheless, the borough that delivers on everything else does, indeed, feed its vegans—and well. The one caveat: You’re mainly going to find your options in Astoria, but as this list proves, there’s widespread awareness of veganism. All you have to do is ask.
“I’ve lived in LA and Chicago, but so far nothing touches Queens for vegan living,” says Astoria-based lawyer Robert Greer, who’s been dabbling in the diet for seven years. “Thanks to Queens’ lauded diversity, the supermarket near my house is less a traditional grocery store than just a mish-mash of international markets. Want to choose from 20 different varieties of daal? How about a full aisle of Latin American offerings, and another for Greek/Italian? How do you feel about prickly pear pads for $1.29 per pound, or never-ending Medjool dates, or perpetually 89-cents-per-pound tomatillos?”
The restaurants, too, don’t pose many challenges. “I’ve been to my fair share of Astoria restaurants, and my request for ‘vegan’ has never been met with any confusion,” says Queens resident and avid food Instagrammer Jessie Roth, who’s been avoiding animal products for six years. “People in Queens know what veganism is, and restaurants are making a clear and concerted effort to add options to their menus.” Sara Sohn, who makes her vegan Sweet & Sara marshmallows in Long Island City, also notes “there aren’t too many all-vegan spots in Queens, but so many places have incredible vegan options.”
And this brings us to The Queens Vegan Dining Guide. Click the link for 16 suggestions that should leave you full and happy, with no animals harmed in the process.
Bareburger | @bareburger
District Saigon | @district_saigon
Flattopps | @flattopps
Xi’an Famous Foods | @xianfoods
King of Falafel & Shawarma | @kingoffalafel
Ayada Thai | @ayadathai
Nan Xiang Xiao Long Bao
Jujube Tree | @jujube.tree
Tufino | @tufinopizzeria
Natural Tofu & Noodles
William Hallet | @williamhallet
Monika’s Cafe Bar | @monikascafebar
Mama’s Empanadas | @mamasempanadas4
Jessie Roth | @jessieroth
Sweet & Sara | @sweetandsara