For a long time I believed that if a vegan wanted to find any culinary offers that aligned with their ethical standards, one had to drive all the way into Cape Town. That was before I discovered one of the northern suburbs’ best-hidden plant-based gems at Vegan Street Food in the most unexpected place: the suburb of Monte Vista.
where: 90c Monte Vista Boulevard, 7460
when: Mon – Sun: 10:00 – 19:00
When I say this place is hidden, I’m not exaggerating. It’s tucked in between a pizza place and a meat market, with, so far, not much signage. If you’re not actively looking to find it, you’re likely to drive or walk right past it.
But that would be a grave mistake, for through its almost secret doors lie a trove of plant-based delights. Freezers stocked up with Beyond Meat products, vegan-friendly ice cream, and tasty treats that cater to a host of other dietary requirements. And best of all, some saucy, delicious, freshly made vegan street food.
The menu lists all the typical street food items one craves – whether they normally eat them with meat and dairy or not. Pizzas, burgers, and hot dogs all have their place on it, with the satisfying twist that they’re doing less damage to the environment, living things, and probably your heart. Not to mention they’re bloody fantastic (but with zero blood involved!).
Vegan Street Food also does considerably less damage to one’s wallet than most burger places would. Their beyond Meat burger goes for a modest R110* – miles below what places in the city charge for the same ( perhaps even inferior) thing. It seems the northern suburb prices are one of the greatest perks of being hidden so far out of the city.
*fairly expensive for a burger in general, but not for the Beyond Meat Burger, which I frequently see for around R170 on other menus
What’s also particularly great about this location is that it signals a shift in the way South Africans are eating. Very recently it would still be considered impossible to run a plant-based business on this side of the invisible line – aptly dubbed “the boerewors curtain” – that separates the northern and southern suburbs. Simply by existing where they do – cheekily, right beside Monte Vista’s massive butchery – they’re not only filling a gap in the market, but also showing off the fact that vegan food belongs everywhere, and can be embraced by anyone.
The only thing that saddens me about Vegan Street Food is that there’s so little seating. This shouldn’t come as a surprise considering they are marketing themselves as street food and not a whole restaurant, but I look forward to the day when they grow into an entire vegan eatery, at which more visitors can sit and enjoy what they have to offer. Then again, their shop does provide customers with something to do while they wait for their orders, so there’s that.
If you’re transitioning to a plant-based diet (or trying to), but haven’t yet found any meat alternatives you really like, I highly recommend paying Vegan Street Food a visit. You may just come out of it fully converted and never have to eat a dead thing again.
You can thank me later 😉