We all know that including plenty of fresh fruit and veggies in your daily diet is good for your health. Vegetarianism is widely practiced but more recently, there’s been a growing movement of people taking that next step and going vegan. This movement could be attributed to many elements, notably the health and environmental benefits which are becoming more and more important in our busy daily lives.

Lea McBride, herself a vegan for the past seven years and a vegetarian since 1991, runs Vegan Festival Adelaide and has been thrilled to witness the local vegan movement gaining momentum.

“Adelaide has always been known to be at the forefront of social justice movements and a big foodie city, so it’s only fitting the two things have combined.”
Lea McBride, Coordinator, Vegan Festival Adelaide

An annual event, this year’s Vegan Festival Adelaide will happen on 26 and 27 October in Rundle Park / Kadlitpina.

The Vegan Festival has been implementing various environmentally friendly practices over the years and in 2018 the festival was announced a recipient of funding support through the City of Adelaide’s Sustainable Events Innovation Fund. Financial assistance provided through this fund to eligible groups and organisations was offered to help deliver environmentally sustainable events and festivals* that support the outcomes of the City of Adelaide Strategic Plan 2016-2020.

With Council’s support, the 2018 Vegan Festival was able to implement positive sustainability measures like three bin waste separation to maximise recycling, a solar phone charging station for festival-goers and ensuring all stallholders used compostable, reusable or recyclable packaging. These actions were supported by talks by prominent members of the community, highlighting the importance of environmental stewardship and how we can support the health of the ecosystems that support us.

Vegan festival victoria square
photo-icon Jodie Dyer-Stephens

Fine fare at the 2018 Vegan Festival.

Vegan Festival Adelaide is just one of many activities on Lea’s work calendar. She also organises fine dining dinners and holds vegan cooking demonstrations twice yearly at the Adelaide Central Market.

“Adelaide was recently named the world’s 12th most popular vegan city** which is fantastic for our small city! Not only are there dedicated vegan cafés and restaurants in the CBD, but most venues now either offer vegan options or have specific vegan menus,” said Lea.

“Today we find fast food vegan-only takeaway joints, bakeries, classic ‘American Diner-style’ food alongside some fabulously healthy plant-based juice and salad bars which have taken food flavour and expectations of a vegan diet to a whole new culinary level."

As Lea sees it, the benefits of adopting a vegan lifestyle radiate well beyond the individual making the lifestyle choice. 

“With more and more options available in the market, vegan diners are expecting a higher standard of food than ever before and we expect this to reflect in local venues.”

A few of Lea’s favourite city spots for a vegan meal

Vego Sizzle

358 King William Street, Adelaide

"This is a plant based Asian fusion eatery, with a great following."

Vegetarian Delight

52 - 62 King William Street, Adelaide (Southern Cross Arcade)

"The Food Court in Southern Cross is home to Vegetarian Delight with some of the yummiest bahn mi, hot dishes and laksa's in Adelaide for lunch."

Allegra Dining Room

Level 1, 125 Gilles Street, Adelaide

"The demand for all things vegan means that we now have a fully vegan fine dining venue right in the city. Allegra serves some of the most amazing flavours, gorgeous stylish decor and impeccable service in town."

Juice Lovers Juicery

34 Regent Arcade, Rundle Mall

“Fresh creative flavours have seen this venue expand due to popularity with vegans and non-vegans alike. Started by the team from the iconic Veggie Velo burger food cart, they offer a range of juices, hot dishes, wraps and the best cakes and desserts.”

Lord of the Fries

23A Hindley Street, Adelaide

“Veganism is now so main-stream that we needed a fast food joint in Hindley Street. This place serves the delicious Beyond Burger range and is a popular addition to the city for vegans enjoying a night out on the town.”

Two Bit Villains

Shop 150, Balcony Level, Adelaide Arcade (access from either Rundle Mall or Grenfell Street )

“A super cool spot set in the stunning upstairs area of Adelaide Arcade, Two Bit Villains has also gone through an expansion serving diner style burgers, shakes, house made soft drinks, vegan mac’n’cheese and Caesar salads. Frequented by both vegans and not-yet-vegans - who continue to come long after their vego buddies have introduced them.”

Thea’s Tea Shop

110 Gawler Place, Adelaide

“I’ve been going here since they opened a tiny venue in Gaye’s Arcade. Thea’s is a welcome tranquil escape in the middle of the busy city, with interesting flavours and sauces and amazing teas.”

Pure Vegetarian

Shop 8, Market Plaza Food Court, Adelaide Central Market

“A Central Market classic – mock meat curies, tasty eggplant dishes and cheap market foods.”

Vego n Lovin It

Level 1, 240 Rundle Street

“An institution on the veg scene, upstairs looking over Rundle Street. An eclectic venue with tasty whole food dishes.”

*If you run an event in the city or a business that provides event services, read the City of Adelaide’s Sustainable Event Guidelines, which provide clear guidance on practical measures to make events more sustainable and promote sustainability achievements. For assistance, please contact: 

**chefspencil.com, 16 January 2019

Article by

Skye Murtagh

Skye Murtagh

Skye is Adelaide Living's main driving force. She is passionate about sharing stories from all walks of life. When she's not busy weaving beautiful words together, she's singing a line or two from her favourite song.