No matter if you're strictly vegan, vegetarian, or just curious and ready to try, here are some can't-miss vegan options around the country that will transport your tastebuds to Happytown. Meat? You'll never miss it.
Ponsonby's Little Bird Kitchen boasts a cult-like following, regularly seeing queues that snake outside the door, so keen are customers on their high-quality, organic, preservative-free, raw menu. They even crack, scoop, and milk their own coconuts every week — more than 200 of them. Take-out only during Level 3 lockdown, order by phone and collect from store between 9am-4pm. Cleanses and meal plans available online for home delivery as normal.
Tear yourself away from the cultural wonderland that is Rotorua and fill your belly with the offerings from Tea and Happiness. Think saucy hickory-smoked seitan steaks, jackfruit with winter greens and capsicum, and deep-fried banana blossoms with hemp sour cream. Grab some prep meals to take home for easy nights in, and make sure you leave room for the peanut butter slice. The service is so friendly, you'll feel like part of the family.
Lemonwood Eatery stands out amongst Ōakura's venues with its commitment to healthy cuisine eschewing animal products. The menu is abundant and even the fussiest eater will find something to suit. Trouble deciding? Try the tasting platter. Stand-out menu items are the garlic-and-sesame wontons and the cumin-seeded polenta chips. Take home some of their lemony almond feta, if it's not sold out.
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Boquita ("Little Mouth" in Spanish) is the brainchild of La Boca Loca founder Lucas Putnam and serves hearty, healing, colourful Mexican-style food in Wellington. The menu changes based on availability and season. Fresh and flavourful is the name of the game here, so this isn't your typical "Tex-Mex" smash up that leans heavily on cheese and sour cream. The corn tortillas are made in-house daily, and there is no shortage of fillings from which to choose. Order the vegan Mexi-mousse with dark chocolate, Mexican vanilla,
chilli, nutmeg, cinnamon, and hibiscus syrup. This is food prepared with mucho amor.
The cheerful vibe and charming fit-out make Barefoot Eatery in Christchurch a must-visit. Regulars love the location and the substantial serves. Smoothies are as inventive as they are tasty, and fresh-pressed juices sell like [vegan] hotcakes.
While not a solely vegan cafe, Bespoke Kitchen serves a fair amount of food – about half the menu – that will make your plant-loving heart happy. They say we eat with our eyes first, and this gorgeously presented food tastes as lovely as it looks.
Fancy a fistful of juicy, drippy burger? Lucky for you, the 100 per cent vegan Burger Plant in Dunedin has you covered. But let's not stop there ... burgers here go to a new level of creativity – and kindness. Have yours with 'fush', a mac-and-cheese patty, chook or ginger and sesame. Pies, shakes, and sundaes are all dairy-free and will leave you feeling like you've had a cheat meal without cheating.
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