The Vegan District: A Tasty Celebration of Veganism

Story and photos by Leslie Veliz

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Chances are, you know someone who is vegan or has at least tried to be vegan. Veganism, a lifestyle that excludes using any animal products (in clothes, food, and otherwise), isn’t new but is a rising trend in LA and Long Beach. 

For some, when they hear the words “vegan” and “food” together, they think grass and tofu. Memes on the internet about veganism only further this speculation. So, what is vegan food exactly? As the Vegan District at the Pike Outlets shows, it’s everything. 

Every first Saturday of the month, the Pike Outlets in Downtown Long Beach hosts the Vegan District, a vegan food court and marketplace. Although relatively small in size, the food court has several different options that can satisfy your cravings. There’s American, Chinese, Mexican, Salvadorian, and even Cuban food. Menu items are the same as any restaurant and include items like fried chicken and burgers. 

The best way to experience the Vegan District is by eating a main entree, dessert, and a drink. Donuts and mango sticky rice are some of the tasty dessert options. For drinks, they have aguas frescas and freshly brewed yerba mate tea. Anything you can think of, they have. You’ll want to try it all! 

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Tastewise, vegan food doesn’t taste that different from “regular” food. A burger tastes like a burger, except it doesn’t leave you with a bloated feeling most non-vegan burgers might. The downside is that it can get pricey. Most meals are around $15, with drinks and desserts costing an average of $6. 

The last two Vegan Districts of the year will be held on Nov. 2 and Dec. 7. If you have been wanting to try vegan food but are a little hesitant, visiting the Vegan District is a great starting point. As you can see, there is something for everyone. Lifestyle products, such as essential oils and CBD, are also sold! 

Entry is free and parking at the Pike is available. Prices for parking range from $3 to $16, so plan accordingly. Tables for eating are not available, so you’ll have to eat on a bench or sit on the floor. This event is also kid and dog friendly! For more photos and information, check out their website and Instagram.  

If you can’t wait until the next Vegan District, SoCal VegFest—a much larger vegan festival—is going to be held at the OC Fair & Event Center in Costa Mesa on Oct. 19 and 20. For tickets and more information, visit their website.