By Gabriella Herran and Deja Brumfield
On Feb. 29, 2020, we attended the Phoenix Vegan Food Festival held at Margaret T. Hance Park. This festival has been going on since 2015, and in previous years, it wasn’t always as big.
With increased interest in health, the festival has grown to include not only food vendors, but also handcrafted items, apparel, and live entertainment. Neither of us is vegan, so we were a bit nervous yet excited to try something new.
Before attending, we never considered vegan food could taste good. We were expecting the food would not be filling and taste very bland. Food is such an important part of our lives, so we were not looking forward to leaving on an empty stomach. Luckily for us, this wasn’t the case.
The first thing we tried was the Birthday Noodles, as well as veggie fried rice and Sunomono salad (cucumber salad) from a food truck called “Wok this Way.” The noodles were “beef” lo mein made out of “pancit” canton eggless wheat noodles, fresh carrots, onions, garlic, sugar snap peas, and crimini mushrooms.
Although it smelled amazing, we expected it to be too light, thinking we would still be hungry afterward. After taking a bite, every expectation diminished.
It was amazing.
The flavor was extremely rich and, while it felt light, it was still very filling. The veggie fried rice was a great addition to the already delicious entree. The Sunomono salad was a nice side dish being refreshing yet simple. After cleaning the plate, we felt full and energized, ready to wash it all down with ice-cold lemonade.
Across the field, there was a vendor called “Cuties Lemonade.” We were no strangers to this lemonade because they have been at several ASU events this year.
However, we wanted to try something different than the ordinary lemonade. We decided to get the pineapple cherry lemonade and the strawberry lemonade. It was a nice way to cool off and quench our thirst in the heat.
The presentation was aesthetically pleasing and the taste was even better. We decided our meal could not be complete without a tasty dessert.
After wandering around the festival, we stumbled upon a booth called “Positively Frost,” which sold all kinds of baked goods. After careful consideration, we decided to get the Funfetti cupcake and a four-pack of Snickerdoodle cookies. Usually, we’re not huge fans of cupcakes because the frosting is often a little too much, but this cupcake was different. The cupcake itself was moist and the frosting, to our surprise, was incredibly fluffy. As big snickerdoodle cookie enthusiasts, we were looking forward to trying a vegan version of the cookie. It turned out to be similar to the standard snickerdoodle cookie — in fact, it was better. It was creamy, moist, and delicious.
After filling our stomachs, we were ready to walk around and look at some of the unique booths, when we came across Vegan Shirts. The festival had a massive range of apparel including t-shirts, sweatshirts, stickers, and pins. Each item had a clever slogan or pun that had to do with being vegan. The pins were so cute I couldn’t resist getting one for myself.
While we were walking around for the next few hours, we observed the overall atmosphere of the festival and enjoyed live music. Everyone seemed to be having a good time, and there was no shortage of laughter and smiles. Some people cruised from vendor to vendor while others sat in the grass area entertained by the music and their company.
Overall, not a bad way to spend a Saturday afternoon! The food was good, the environment was full of positivity, and the time was well spent. If you ever feel the need to try something new, we recommend getting out of your comfort zone and opening yourself up to new experiences.
After all, what do you have to lose?
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