Dear Junk Food Vegan, Don’t Leave NYC Without Trying ….

I’m a self-professed, loud and proud junk food vegan. I try not to eat trash food every meal, but trash is delicious, so I decided to compile a list of my favorites for all of my fellow trash-lovers. [Now, I’m using “trash” in the most endearing possible way.]

The definition of “junk food” varies from person to person. I find the different definitions fascinating and telling about a person’s relationship with food (not good/bad, per se). For the purposes of this list, I define junk food as highly processed, high-fat, “fast food”-esque items. Conversely, healthy items, which I will not be talking about today (but another day, perhaps!), I define to be minimally-processed plant-based whole foods.

Sidebar: By NO means do the following locations only carry junk food. In fact, most have a variety of “healthy” menu items.

So – if you’re visiting NYC, and you love junk food, GET THESE DISHES:

1. General Tso’s Chicken from Buddha Bodai 

  • Your classic just-like-chicken-but-not-chicken soy protein coated in a crisp yet chewy exterior and doused in General Tso’s sauce. The dish is served over a pile of steamed broccoli, so THAT’s healthy. (You can sub out for chinese broccoli too! Yum.)

2. Crabby Patty and Buffalo Drumstix from Marty’s V Burger

  • I rave about Marty’s. Honestly, I think every vegan should give his offerings a try. Go here. Get everything.

3. Mozz Sticks and Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich from Champs Diner

  • Champs upgraded their mozzarella sticks to violife cheese (instead of daiya). This crispy, gooey, cheese treat is life-changing. One caveat, I do not think it is an exact replica of the non-vegan version, but it’s close and worth a try. I love the Nashville chicken sandwich because spicy food is my vice, but I have high key developed a deep love affair with most menu items at Champs. Go for SAG breakfast sandwich (just like bfast SAUSAGE!!), the Reuben, the Tuna Melt, or the hot dogs, too. They also have plenty of delicious breakfast options like pancakes & tofu scram (I’m not a breakfast person, so yes, this is an afterthought).

4. Everything Bagel with Sun Dried Tomato Tofu Cream Cheese from Ess-a-Bagel

  • I love bagels. I love flavored cream cheese. But it’s trash food, I’m sorry. Delicious trash food, so if you’re in NYC, go get one! No other city does it better, not sorry. Ess-a-Bagel and most other top-notch bagel spots will have a variety of tofu cream cheese flavors (olive, herb, vegetable, scallion, etc). Add vegetables like tomato, avocado, lettuce to upgrade your bagel.

5. Soy Double Double Cheeseburger from Veggie Castle

  • Ever craving a classic double cheeseburger? Dressed just the way you remembered it, the Veggie Castle soy double double is not messing around. Now, VC is a trek, so if you are visiting in Manhattan, be ready to adventure deep into Queens for this treat.

6. Lemon Herb Crusted Chicken Nuggs from Seasoned Vegan

  • Crispy. Nicely flavored. Dipping sauce is delicious! In the times I visited, I’ve had somewhat inattentive service here, but if that doesn’t bother you … the food is definitely worth a try!

Did you see anything you want to try? Where else would you have added to this list? Message me anytime @jackivore on instagram or comment below – I’d love to hear your thoughts!


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