Vegan Sydney – A Vegan’s Guide for Tourists
G’day and welcome to Sydney!
Despite Australia’s reputation abroad as being all about Fosters Beer, wrestling crocodiles and ‘throwing shrimps on the Barbie,” Sydney is a surprisingly Vegan friendly city. Sydneysiders are generally a very friendly and accommodating bunch. You’ll find that many have an interest in health and environmental issues and a compassion for animal welfare. You can even maintain your vitamin B12 levels by indulging in the Aussie special ‘Vegemite on toast (no butter)’ for breakfast.
Sydney is home to over 4.5 million people from all over the world. With this ethnic diversity, it is feasible to have French croissants for breakfast (Mad Hatter Cupcakery), Yum Cha for lunch (Green Gourmet) and a burger and award-winning chips for dinner (Lord of the Fries). Of course, there are healthier options too – like a fresh wrap from Iku Whole Foods or a macrobiotic bowl from AboutLife who both have outlets across the city.
My Top 5 Eats
I have selected 5 of my favourite restaurants below. These eateries represent the diversity of cuisines available in Sydney and will encourage you to explore some different areas of the city. These Eateries are also lucky enough to host me on a regular basis so I may see you there:
1. Mayas Vegetarian
470 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills
North and South Indian Cuisine.
Massala Dosa and Kingfisher beer from India. I could quite easily live here! Great home-style food, great value and great Bollywood music videos to entertain the customers. Traditional Indian food at its best with a decent selection of vegan options AND beer.
A short 24 minute bus or train journey from the Central Business District (CBD), if you have never had Ethiopian food before then this is one restaurant that you should definitely check out! The owner is one of the most hospitable people you will meet and is very passionate about his culture and food. He also has a soft spot for vegans and works hard to make sure vegans have a great experience (I actually began to feel like I was the long lost King of Ethiopia or something as they were so nice to me). The restaurant is located in a food court next to a supermarket and is a short walk from St. Leonards Train Station. My recommendation here would be to try all the vegan-friendly dishes by ordering the 5 dish vegetable platter (served on Injera bread) and finish your meal with the traditional coffee ceremony.
3. Loving Hut
227 Cabramatta Road, Cabramatta, Western Sydney
The Loving Hut in Sydney is part of an international chain of restaurants owned by Supreme Master Ching Hai that have 100% vegan menus. The Vietnamese / asian food here is all great and justifies the relatively long journey west to the Vietnamese neighborhood of Cabramatta. The suburb of Cabramatta itself is a very interesting place. With the majority of people being of Vietnamese descent, and with all the vietnamese street signs, you could daydream and think you were in Ho Chi Minh City. Give yourself a few hours to explore the markets (guided tours available). Try out the sugar cane drink and check out the other vegan businesses.
4. Sadhanna Kitchen
147 Road, Enmore, Inner West -
100% vegan, the flavours and textures in the dishes served here are quite amazing! Hopefully they will release a cookbook soon so I don’t have to do so much cooking at home! All the ingredients are organic and locally sourced. Sadhanna is one of the best raw vegan restaurants I have tried – anywhere in the world. The Friday night 7 course ‘degustation’ is strongly recommended with every dish being memorable. The Raw pizza was probably my favourite. Every dish here is superbly, beautifully presented and gourmet in every way and absolutely comparable to high end dining at any top class restaurant.
5. Revolution Foods
175 Enmore Road, Enmore, Inner West - Western
Revolution Foods provides vegan comfort food at its best! The entire cafe is 100% vegan and appeals to omnivores and vegans alike.I have taken many of my non-vegan, friends and family to Revolution and they have all left happy and full…the portions here are HUGE! Revolution Foods also offers a range of grocery and freezer items to takeaway.
Take Away food and grocery shopping
The Cruelty Free Shop (Glebe), Vegan’s Choice Supermarket (Newtown) and Revolution Foods (Enmore), are all exclusively vegan and provide a wide range of packaged, chilled and frozen products for takeaway to your hotel room or for a picnic. You can also find good vegan takeaway food at many health shops such as About Life (various locations) and Dr Earth (various locations). The two large Supermarket chains (Coles and Woolworths) both carry a growing range of Vegan goods (including Fry’s and Linda McCartney) and many dairy-free alternatives. Thanks to a large Asian population and growing awareness about veganism, Soy Milk, Rice Milk and Oat Milk are readily available in most grocers.
I made a map displaying Vegan businesses and vegan friendly restaurants in Sydney. There are thousands of Thai restaurants, kebab shops and cafes that are not displayed on this map. Here’s why: any Thai restaurants should be able to provide you with a suitable dish even if they don’t display vegan options on their menu (Note: make sure to ask them to leave off the fish sauce!), nearly all kebab shops serve falafel rolls, and all cafes will be able to make you a fresh vegetable or salad sandwich.
The City has great transport links with various excellent value multi-passes available to get you to all the sights around the City by bus, ferry and train.
My Top 10 Things to See and Do in Sydney
- Get the ferry from Circular Quay to Manly – See the Opera House, Harbour bridge and the City from the water and enjoy a picnic lunch on the beach
- Take the train to the Blue Mountains and enjoy a bush walk, climb or abseil following by food in one of the many vegan eateries
- Watch a sporting event – Aussies love their sport. Soak in the atmosphere of an Aussie Rules Football match, cricket game at the Sydney Football ground or watch an NRL, rugby or soccer match at the former Olympic stadium in Homebush.
- Grab your camera and take a walk through the Botanical garden to see Australia’s unique fauna and for your chance to spot ibis, fruit bats and Water Dragons
- Hire a kayak to explore the harbor or take part in a guided eco tour
- Watch the sunset with an Aussie Beer or fresh cocktail at the Shangri-La Hotel’s Blu Bar in Circular Quay
- Put on your hiking boots (or trainers will do) and enjoy the spectacular coastline walk between Coogee and Bondi
- Visit Murramarang National Park near Batemans Bay for your chance to get up close to wild kangaroos
- Take a day to Wollongong to enjoy a spectacular train journey through the National Park and learn about Buddhism at the Nan Tien Temple, the Southern Hemisphere’s largest Buddhist temple.
- Relax by enjoying a vegan buffet followed by watching a movie on the comfy cushions at Govindas
Accommodation : www.tripadvisor.com.au
Things to do: www.au.timeout.com/sydney
- Sydney Vegan Club: http://www.sydneyveganclub.com.au/ & www.meetup.com/Sydney-Vegan-Club/
- Vegan Society of NSW http://www.vegansocietynsw.com
- Browse Happy Cow Sydney: www.happycow.net/australia/new_south_wales/sydney
- Look for the Sydney Vegan Club Artichoke stickers in café and restaurant windows which denotes that vegan options are available.
Use Vegan passport, a multi-lingual vegan phrasebook that describes what vegans can and can’t eat (many staff at Asian restaurants are not fluent in English).
Enjoy your trip to Sydney!
Jamie Robinson is a vegan visual communications consultant based in Sydney, Australia. Follow Jamie on Facebook to see more of his work and campaigns.