Even though Buffalo is well known for its meat (wings, beef on weck, wing dip, meat on meat with a side of meat), it is such a multicultural city that eating vegan really isn't an issue. Don't get me wrong, Buffalo is completely lacking in an all-vegan restaurant, cafe, or bake shop. It's a sore spot for a lot of local vegans, and just a tiny kick in the ass that there are a number of completely vegan eateries in other, less cool cities in New York state. On the optimistic front, it's really great that there are so many non-meat and dairy options, and I love to find them.
The West Side Bazaar on Grant Street has to be one of my top three places to eat in Buffalo. It may be my favorite. Almost every time I go, I get the veggie combo from Abyssinia Ethiopian Cuisine, because it's my favorite kind of food. I like the mix of lentils, beans, and veggies on injera. Abyssinia is the best in Buffalo, though the owners at Lucy's are really sweet. When I worked in Allentown, I used to get lunch at Gatur's often, because it was convenient, but Abyssinia is where it's at in terms of flavor profiles and consistency. I have never met anything I did not love there.
Also at the West Side Bazaar is Kyl Sein Hein, a Burmese restaurant. I forced myself to try something other than Ethiopian (which was truly difficult with Abyssinia just a few windows down) and got the fried vermicelli with vegetables. It was delicious (and cheap at $6). Sun is another great Burmese restaurant on Grant Street. I got take away from there last year, a black rice salad and a noodle dish and would love to go back.
While I was browsing through Instagram, I also saw someone post about getting a bahn mi at a Vietnamese place I had never heard of, so I decided I needed to go there. Niagara Seafood is one of those places that looks sketchy from the outside, but inside is a really nice sit down joint with $4 tofu bahn mi and $2.50 avocado spring rolls. My friend also got some fried veggie dumplings. All this for $15 before tax! They were also good about being able to veganize my sandwich and they have a pretty big veggie section with pho in it. I've also had a tofu bahn mi from Black Market Food Truck in the past; I would suggest that, as well.
Ignoring Amy's Place is an unforgivable sin when visiting Buffalo, so I stopped by with a friend to try out the new vegan beef on weck. It was really hard not to get the lentilberry wrap minus cheese per normal, but I'm glad I tried this veggie take on a Buffalo staple. Beef on weck is roast beef thinly sliced with au jus and horseradish on a kummelweck roll (a roll with kosher salt and caraway seeds). I had never had it before and this version used a house made vegan-garlic-mayo type sauce that wasn't my favorite. I would have liked a stronger horseradish taste, but I really liked the salt on the bun (no surprise there). It was weird eating a sandwich with no veggies whatsoever. I felt like a bad kid.
Sweetness 7 cafe was just around the corner from a friend's house where I was staying, so I went there one morning. It has an extensive list of breakfast foods for a mostly coffee shop. Unfortunately, none except for the porridge are vegan. When I got in line to place my order, I asked if they ever subbed out their eggs for tofu and the barista told me that they have a veggie scramble. I was so excited! It was huge with tofu, kale, two veggie patties (I'm not sure of the brand or if it was made in house), home fries, and a giant roll. It was good and really filling, but not something I would come back for. At around $10, it was expensive compared to the other menu items and I wasn't crazy about the veggie patties, since it tasted like veggie burger. However, my stomach was upset that morning so it could have been me. Coffee is bottomless if you get breakfast, though, so drink up!
With all that, I still ignored some favorites. I'm so glad to say that with the increased presence of people from other counties and vegans, Buffalo is definitely not an exclusive meat and potatoes town anymore!
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DISCLAIMER: This food was consumed over the course of an entire week and some food mentioned was eaten long before this trip. I am a glutton, but not as bad as this makes me look.
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