A walking vegetarian food tour of San Diego


Being vegetarian or vegan in a world of meat eaters can be a frustrating experience. Omnivores do strange things like cry over the dog-eating festival in China while gnawing on a mass-produced pork chop. That piglet had feelings too, you know. Haven't you seen Wilbur? Heartless.

Most walking food tours don't apply to us vegos. You're more likely to come across lists like, "The Meatiest Meat your Meat Will Ever Meet!" or "How to Eat the Most Animals in One Sitting" rather than a walking tour that doesn't feature a hotdog wrapped in bacon and then fried in lard.

But if you're ready to eat your heart out (without stopping any), here is the best vegetarian food walking tour in San Diego.



India Palace

Start the tour off with a bit of a spice kick at India Palace, an Indian restaurant with a vegetarian section longer than your hit-list of carnivores who've bullied you for being a veg-head.

What to order: Vegetable samosas. These crisp paddies are stuffed with soft potatoes, spices and green peas. Or, try the vegetable pakoras, cauliflower and potatoes deep-fried in garbanzo bean flour. Don't eat too many, else you'll start to resemble a stuffed samosa before the tour even begins.

Veganic Thai Cafe

A post shared by Reef (@cabbageboy) on


No animals whatsoever were harmed in the establishing of the Veganic Thai Cafe, a restaurant that is completely vegan. Here, you can even pretend to be a carnivore because the cafe offers nearly every mock meat under the sun. Mock chicken, mock fish, mock squid, mock shrimp, mock pork, mock beef -- you get the picture.

What to order: A cup of potak, a tangy soup with mock shrimp, squid, and fish cooked in a broth of mushroom, kaffir lime, ginger, basil and spicy fresh chili.

Loving Hut

Though the name is more fitting for a strip club, Loving Hut is an all-vegan Vietnamese inspired café with various types of mock meat and fresh salads. Everything is tastefully presented – making it the perfect stop for those with Instagram followers hungry for what you're going to shove down your pie-hole next.

What to order: The Lucky Mongo meal comes with a Mongolian-seasoned vegetable fillet topped with green onions, lettuce, cucumber, sweet tomatoes, carrots, homemade dressing and a sesame side salad. Order it with white or brown rice.

Plumeria

A post shared by ashley (@lashleymorris) on


If you're a vegetarian or vegan who wants to go beyond the super healthy raw dishes commonly featured at veg-style cafes, Plumeria is for you. The chefs at Plumeria aren't afraid of going for full-flavor and serve Thai inspired mock meat and vegetable dishes. Regulars love the curries, spring rolls, and noodle soup dishes especially.

What to order: The mock duck is top notch at Plumeria, so you can't go wrong with ordering as the protein with their main dishes. Try it with the ka pow noodles, spicy noodles seasoned with aromatic basil. Wash your meal down with a gay la cha iced tea, a sweet lychee-flavored concoction garnished with plump lychee on the top.

Grains

Grains is a new vegan restaurant and brewery that serves classic American fare and cold beers. You can order something hearty like the Philly cheesesteak or go for something on the lighter end like a kale salad. Since the place is just getting established, the owner frequently comes by to double check that everything is okay – sometimes offering free samples to try. Grab a beer and rest your weary feet and distended belly at the walking tour's final stop.

What to order: If you still have room, grab the salt and pepper calamari made from strips of mushroom and tempura fried in spices. The grapefruit sculpin is a big hit among beer fans with a penchant for new flavors.

Chantae Reden is a vegetarian travel writer from San Diego. You can find more advice and stories on her adventure blog, Chantae.com.