A trip to London for work normally means buying something for the evening train ride home, and today was no exception. In the past I have normally got something uninspiring from a station supermarket – sandwich and crisps or similar. Today I had a bit of time before my train was due to leave, so I thought I’d see what else was on offer close to Kings Cross station.
I speculatively typed ‘vegan’ into the maps app on my phone, and found that there was something called ‘VX‘ which was described as a supermarket about 10 minutes walk away. I figured it was worth a look; if it proved to be no good I could always get something from Tesco/Boots/Sainsburys…
It turns out that VX isn’t a supermarket, it’s more like a vegan junk food café/takeaway that also sells a few supplies such as vegan sausages, cheese, seitan etc. The menu looks designed to appeal to those who want to eat stuff that looks and tastes like meat – lots of burgers, wraps, kebabs etc.
I wasn’t planning to get a junk-food takeaway, and it doesn’t really fit with my reasons for going vegan, but I figure that at the moment I’m still in a ‘trying stuff out’ phase. I’m not planning on making a habit of it (although having said that, on Wednesday I’m going to try somewhere similar in Newcastle! – watch this space for a review).
I went for a doner kebab wrap (don’t judge!). Like every good kebab it came with chili sauce; I was asked how hot I wanted it on a scale of 1-5 and I went for 3. I got it to go as I didn’t want to miss my train. They wrapped it in foil for me, and by the time I had settled into coach B it was still pretty warm.
It tasted really good, and 3/5 spicy was the right choice. Doner kebabs that are made from animals don’t actually look like real meat, so in a sense this experience wasn’t too different to the real thing. In fact, I would say this soya-based stuff was actually more like actual meat than a regular doner. And there was loads of it. It was a big wrap, stuffed full of doner flavour soya strips, with lettuce and chili sauce. At six quid it was decent value too, especially for London.
Much like a real kebab it has left me feeling stuffed and bit guilty. I really don’t want to get into a junk-food habit, and part of the point of going vegan was to avoid stuff like this. But I’m not going to be hard on myself; this was a bit of a treat, and a bit of an experiment, and I’m not exactly going to have a lot of vegan junk-food options at home in rural Northumberland!
I think it’s also worth saying that I don’t think this was actually that unhealthy. It was certainly not on the same scale as a greasy lamb doner, and will have had plenty of protein. I really liked VX, the people seemed very cool and they are doing a good thing. It was a shame I was in a bit of a rush, they had some croissants and other pastries that looked really good. Another time!
I think fake meat and even vegan junk food definitely have their place for people who find it hard to give up those flavours and textures. Some would say it’s a bit weird as a vegan to want to recreate the experience of eating meat. I get that, and to large extent I agree. However, while I personally don’t feel any great desire to eat something that looks and tastes like meat I am sure there are lots of vegans who do. While for me going vegan may have a lot to do with making healthy choices, for others it may be solely about animal welfare. In which case, if vegan junk-food helps make that easier then all power to them.