Edinburgh has a brilliant street food scene. Every weekend, tens or even hundreds of local street food vendors and suppliers descend on the Capital to sell fresh and mouthwatering grub to hungry punters. And if you’re vegan, there’s never been a better time to explore Edinburgh’s foodie markets. The city hosts at least four completely vegan events every year, a monthly ‘Vegan Quarter’ in Leith and markets with lots of tempting vegan offerings every weekend.
This guide will show you all the vegan-friendly markets in Edinburgh, with top tips on what to expect. I’ll also tell you about some of my favourite vegan street food vendors to look out for, and what dishes will really hit the spot.
So grab your (reusable) knife and fork, and let’s go on a culinary journey around Edinburgh’s vegan street food hot spots. I hope you’re feeling hungry…
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Vegan-Friendly Markets in Edinburgh
Scottish Vegan Festival
Edinburgh hosts four completely vegan events throughout the year. Two of them are run by Farplace Animal Rescue (AKA Scottish Vegan Festival) and take place at the Edinburgh Corn Exchange every April and October. Here, you can stock up on all your favourite vegan snacks, cosmetics, clothing, toiletries, and much more. You can also expect a programme of inspiring talks from vegan speakers throughout the day. There is a modest entry fee on the door (around £3), or you can spring for a VIP ticket (around £15) which includes early entry and a goody bag filled with free vegan treats. All profits go to Farplace Animal Rescue.
Edinburgh Vegan Festival
The folks at Vegan Festival run a very similar event twice a year (Edinburgh Vegan Festival). In 2020, these events will take place in the Out of the Blue Drill Hall in August and November. In addition to the usual stalls and talks, in November the festival usually has a festive theme – so you might be able to make a start on your Christmas shopping early! Once again, there is a small entrance fee at the door (around £3). Both festivals are very good – so if you miss one, you can always go to the other. And of course, both always have amazing vegan street food to try.
Leith Vegan Quarter
On the first Saturday of every month, Leith Market hosts a vegan special where they aim to have as many vegan-friendly vendors as possible, and encourage their non-vegan vendors to have at least some vegan options. As a result, about a third to half of the market is normally vegan-friendly. The market is much more modest in size than the vegan festivals listed above, but there is no entry fee and you’re bound to find some epic vegan street food.
Leith, Stockbridge and Grassmarket Markets
Of course, that’s not to say Leith Market isn’t vegan-friendly the rest of the month. In fact, there are normally at least two or three vegan friendly vendors at their market every Saturday, 10am – 4pm.
The same company At The Market also runs the Grassmarket and Stockbridge Markets. They don’t make as big a fuss about vegans at these markets, but options are still there. It’s also worth noting that all of these markets are free to enter, and are on every weekend all year round. Check out the list of top vendors below to find out who makes a regular appearance at these markets.
The Pitt is definitely one of the coolest places to be seen in Leith. Every weekend this disused yard and warehouse erupts into a celebration of street food and live music.
There is a wide range of street food here, but vegans are always catered for. Scottish vegan cult favourites Faceplant Foods makes a regular appearance, and other omni vendors like the Shawarma Shack makes a point of having at least one or two options for vegans. Follow the Pitt on Facebook to find out who is appearing at their upcoming dates.
Overwhelmed yet? Don’t worry. This handy table below sums up all the information above and tells you everything you need to know at a glance…
|Scottish Vegan Festival||Edinburgh Corn Exchange||Every April and October|
|Edinburgh Vegan Festival||BT Murrayfield||Every August and November|
|Leith Vegan Quarter||Dock Place, Leith||First Saturday every month|
|Leith Market||Dock Place, Leith||Every Saturday|
|Grassmarket Market||Grassmarket||Every Saturday|
|Stockbridge Market||Saunders Street, Stockbridge||Every Sunday|
|The Pitt||Pitt Street, Leith||Every Saturday and Sunday (takes a winter break during Jan)|
Vegan Street Food Vendors in Edinburgh
At all of the markets above, you will see some of the regular faces appear time and again. Here are some of the ones to look out for, on account of them being vegan and totally delicious. The best way to find out where a street food vendor is going to appear next is to follow them on social media, so you’ll find the relevant links listed below.
The Sly Fox
Krystina and Martina are two talented women who are passionate about vegan food. This really shines through in their comfort food favourites from the Sly Fox. Their goulash is made with soy chunks served in a rich stew, with an optional topping of fresh chillies for an extra kick! If you’re feeling really hungry, try a side of potato rostis which are also super delicious. The Instagrammable star of the show is their devilishly good ‘satan’ burger, made with seitan and chickpea patty served in a homemade bun.
You’ll regularly find them at Leith Market, Stockbridge Market and the Vegan Festivals. Follow them on Instagram for their upcoming dates.
KaMa Vegan Bakes
KaMa has started making a regular appearance at Edinburgh street food markets, serving up savoury baked treats such as vegan pesto swirls (pictured), onion and cherry tomato foccacia, pies and pasties. Those with a sweet tooth will enjoy their millionaires shortbread and cute cupcakes.
When they’re not doing awesome vegan afternoon tea in their wee café on London Street, the folk at Casa Angelina are usually out braving the elements at the Stockbridge and Leith Markets, selling their gorgeous sweet treats and healthy salads to hungry punters. Not all of their stock is vegan though, so please ask if you’re not sure. Make sure you try one of their epic vegan cookies – crumbly, sweet, and just about as big as your face. Everything a decent cookie should be!
If you do one thing, do it well. That’s the philosophy of Mat from Planet Kuku, who has been an Edinburgh street food market regular for years. His offering revolves around his famous kukus – an Iranian dish (not dissimilar to a frittata) that is traditionally made from eggs. Planet Kuku has made a vegan version of this tasty dish and has several varieties at his stall every week, along with a couple of side salads. If you’re lucky, you might be able to try one of his new tasty kuku burgers.
Even if you can’t make it to the market, you will find the kukus at Easter Greens and Margiotta stores.
Leave your diet at the door, because Scottish vegan cult favourite FacePlant Foods does all your filthy favourites – 100% plantbased. From creamy mac ‘n’ cheese and comforting sweet potato and peanut stews to oozing cheeze toasties and reuben sandwiches, FacePlant is a vegan street food must-try. If you fancy recreating their gorgeous scran at home, you will be pleased to hear that they sell their vegan cheeze and square sausage to-go, so you don’t have to wait until their next market date to satisfy your FacePlant cravings.
There’s No Catch
What? Vegan fish and chips
Where? Edinburgh Vegan Festival, Scottish Vegan Festival
There’s something fishy going on… but don’t worry, it’s all vegan! This completely vegan street food vendor specialises in all the chip shop classics, including battered sausage and peanut satay sticks – but they are perhaps most famous for their vegan fish and chips. They have got their plant-based fillets down to perfection, serving them up with a generous helping of chip shop style chips and mushy peas.
Based in the north of England, they don’t make many Edinburgh markets, but they tend to make an appearance at the vegan festivals.
What? Yummy African delights
Where? Leith Market, Stockbridge Market, Grassmarket Market, Scottish Vegan Festival
If you want to try something a little different make a beeline for Knights Kitchen. They are a familiar face at most of Edinburgh’s markets, and sell bright and flavoursome African street food. We absolutely love the vegan-friendly gambos, which are similar to a pastry stuffed with a gorgeous lentil and vegetable filling. You can also get them with veggie haggis too. If you fancy something sweet, you can try their moreish mandazi.
Mamas Wee Bakery
Mama’s Wee Bakery specialises in vegan celebration cakes, but when they’re not making epic wedding and birthday cakes they are through here in Edinburgh selling cute-as-a-button cupcakes and treats at Edinburgh’s vegan festivals. They are known to make themed cakes depending on the time of year, so keep an eye out for Easter cakes around springtime and Halloween cakes in October. They are frightfully good!
Missy’s Vegan Cupcakes
Keeping on the cake theme for a moment – Missy’s Vegan Cupcakes are pretty much what they say on the tin, and a wee bit more. Here you can also expect beautifully decorated vegan cupcakes, as well as hugely decadent cookie sandwiches and massive cookie dough truffles. You’ll find them at pretty much every vegan festival in Edinburgh, and rumour has it that they will be opening a permanent brick and mortar shop near the Meadows very soon…
The name ‘Herbivore Kitchen’ may sound familiar due to the café that used to have a cult following in Edinburgh’s Southside. The café closed a couple of years ago, but Alison is still going strong and selling her brownies at lots of Edinburgh’s vegan markets. Tempting flavours include peanut butter, smoky maple and pecan, salted caramel and seasonal specials like xmas spice and Irn-Bru creme egg. You’ll also find these tasty brownies at locations across Edinburgh including Easter Greens, Pumpkin Brown and Gogo Beets.
Okay, okay… This isn’t vegan “street food” as such. But special mention must be given to Vegan Tipples, who is a regular at the Leith Market. They sell a wide selection of wine and alcohol, all of which is completely vegan friendly. Perfect for picking up a bottle to go with dinner later. If you’re lucky, she might have some samples on the stall for you to try…
Are there any vegan street food favourites that I have missed? Share your tips in the comments section below!
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