This year was the third annual Texas VegFest and since it was held in Austin this year I was so excited to be able to attend without any hassle. (Since moving to Texas I don’t think I’ve actually traveled to any other cities in the state because, well… There’s nothing in any of them that I can’t get here!) Austin is definitely not your typical Southern city, but Southern culture is still going strong here so Texas VegFest might be a little different from other vegan festivals you’ve been to or heard about. Here are a few ways this Southern festival stands out!
Local food galore!
I was so excited to see so many local businesses at the festival. Austin has a huge presence of food trucks and independently-owned small businesses and a big portion of those are vegan-friendly. Sure, there were companies there from far away (like Upton’s Naturals, hailing from Chicago), but since there are so many local vegan-friendly businesses here I really feel like I got a good sample of foods that I can enjoy every day because they’re right in my backyard! The Vegan Yacht, pictured above, it a popular vegan food truck. Capital City Bakery and Skull & Cakebones, both local businesses that make vegan baked goods, were represented as well.
Austin is incredibly vegan-friendly, but for such a diverse city, it’s really common to go to a restaurant where there just aren’t any reasonable vegan options. This is partly because barbecue is hugely popular here. However, necessity being the mother of invention, vegans decided that they too would still enjoy this delicacy. BBQ Revolution is a food truck that’s so hot right now I couldn’t even try any at Texas VegFest because they sold out before I got there. Popular vegan barbecue options include tofu, tempeh, and the traditional veggies like greens, mashed potatoes, and black eyed peas. You owe it to yourself to try some vegan barbecue if you haven’t!
Being so close to Mexico, the local food culture here is heavily influenced by Mexican cuisine. Breakfast tacos are an Austin institution in which vegans can freely participate thanks to food trucks like The Vegan Nom. Luckily for vegans, Mexican food is super easy to make vegan so there is a broad spectrum at our fingertips. Just a few of the Mexican-inspired options at Texas VegFest included Korean spicy tacos and gluten-free tempeh burritos. Personally I’m of the school that believes you can wrap pretty much anything in a tortilla and make it 200% better.
What do you think about the Texas vegan culture? What characterizes your local vegan scene? Discuss!
Related: Healthy Living Festival in San Diego
Photo: Samantha Lester; The Vegan Nom on Facebook