Vegandale 2023

By Nadirah Washington

Have trouble going vegan or just want to see what all the hype is about?

Vegandale 2023 was the place to be on September 16. With over 250 vendors offering mouth-watering flavors with a modern-day twist, you wouldn’t believe your tastebuds. Vegandale was hosted this year on Randalls Island and commuters from all over the tri-state area came to enjoy the festivities.

There were vendors from all backgrounds. One very popular vendor was “Black Rican Vegan”  with an average wait time of two hours. Attendee Chakirah Vargas waited two and a half hours, but said it was worth it. She ordered the Jackfruit Chicharron with rice and peas, and sweet plantains. “I’m very picky as to what type of vegan choices I make, ” said Vargas. “I don’t like artificial vegan food like Impossible Meat.” It was her first time experiencing Vegandale and Vargas said she would come back next year. “They just need to be a little more organized with their vendors’ placement,” she said, explaining she had a hard time finding just plant-based vendors, rather than vegan meats.

Vegandale helps vendors like Black Rican Vegan promote their businesses because they don’t have a storefront. Although you can place an online order at the menu may vary based on availability. Some dishes were dedicated only to the Vegandale event.

Another popular vendor was Healthy As A Mother located in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Its platters offer a combination of Trinidadian and Dominican dishes. According to Vargas, they made the best vegan empanadas, even surpassing Next Stop Vegan’s famous empanadas. However, Healthy as A Mother had a continuous line with its take on a famous Caribbean dish “shark and bake.”  The savory and vinaigrette taste combination gave the jackfruit the appeal of shark meat, providing mouth-watering flavor with each bite.

Some attendees, like Vargas, said they wished that instead of promoting meat substitutes, the event would promote vegetable dishes vegan-style. “Why not show people different ways to prepare vegetables instead of mimicking meat?” said one attendee from Korea. “The whole purpose is to not consume meat, not substitute the meat.” A few bystanders nodded their heads in agreement.

Aside from the wide selection of food, there were guest performances by StylesP, Coi Leray, and Rick Ross. Many of the guests purchased the VIP stage access with the hopes of meet and greet with the performers. However, the performers arrived on stage later than expected. Vegandale was scheduled from 11 am to 8 pm. Coi Leray didn’t arrive on stage until 7:52pm. The stage performance was extended past closing time and Rick Ross didn’t perform until 8:38pm.

Although the focus of the event was the vegan food vendors, a lot of non-vegans attended the event for the performances. One attendee Nate mentioned, “I came to see Rick Ross, real.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *