A non-vegetarian tries new tastes at the Tel Aviv Vegetarian Festival

For a self-proclaimed foodie like me, the chance to attend a vegan festival in Tel Aviv was a dream come true.

Interestingly enough, though, I’m far from a vegetarian. Fish, ice cream, eggs and cheese are all staples in my daily diet. In another life I would like to try veganism, but in this life I think the closest I can come to a veganism.

Karlie Brechner tries vegan ice cream at Vegan Fest 2022 in Tel Aviv. Photography by Natalie Selvin

However I am super experimenting when it comes to food. So I was amazed to be in an environment where I had no choice but to try new vegan foods.

The event, with more than 100 food stalls and 100,000 people, is the largest vegetarian festival in the world. Grace Friendly and the Tel Aviv municipality hosted the three-day festival for the first time since 2019.

Sarona Market’s green spaces were filled with sellers of food and produce, active music, speakers, and even cooking classes. The festival guests seemed excited to be there, with many posing for pictures and taking selfies.

Cooking fried tofu at Vegan Fest 2022. Photo by Ruthie Bensimon / Beyond Words

After exploring the grounds for a few minutes, I made my way to the number one seller: Dim Sum. Located in the center of Dizengoff, the restaurant features a variety of pasta and dim sum in fun colours. I’ve tried three different types of vegetarian geesa.

Dim sum was on display at Vegan Fest 2022. Photo by Karlie Brechner

Since the dumplings were filled with vegetables rather than meat supplements, they tasted like a dish I would normally eat in a restaurant. I specifically enjoyed the green edamame gyoza. If I were to be a vegetarian, a dim sum would be a rotating fixed restaurant.

Another Asian-inspired booth that stood out was Green Roll Vegan Sushi. Green Roll is the first vegetarian sushi restaurant in Israel, founded in 2015 and permanently located near Rothschild Boulevard.

Green Roll Vegan Sushi booth at Vegan Fest 2022 in Tel Aviv. Photography by Natalie Selvin

The festival booth had a limited menu, but I loved everything I ate. Tried the Green Roll Special, which is a sushi roll with canbu, sweet potato and cucumber topped with avocado, tofu, tempura, chives and sesame. You can definitely taste the lack of fish, so I probably wouldn’t order it in a restaurant as a sashimi lover. Overall, I thought it was a great combination of flavors and textures.

I also tried a bun with pickled onions, cabbage and vegetarian meat alternatives. I loved everything about this dish. It was the best balance between sweet, hot and sour. Vegetarian or not, I will order this again.

It was the last and best taste of the night at EggZit. Although EggZit is not an independent store, it does offer crazy desserts, ice creams that can be purchased at various events, and food trucks.

EggZit’s Totally Indulgent, Vegan Ice Cream Cone. Photography by Natalie Selvin

At Vegan Feast I ordered an Oreo cake which included vanilla ice cream, Oreo, Nutella, white chocolate, whipped cream, rainbow sprinkles and Oreo cookies in a bubble waffle cone.

It was delicious, indulgent and entirely plant-based. I couldn’t believe how amazing it tasted (and looked) amazing. You’ll never know that there are no dairy or animal products in this dish.

I would recommend EggZit to anyone and everyone in the Tel Aviv area. It was really the highlight of the event for me.

As a non-vegetarian, I was very impressed with the Vegan Festival. She introduced me to new dishes, flavors and food combinations that I will try again any day of the week.

A vendor makes stuffed grape leaves at Vegan Fest 2022 in Tel Aviv. Photo by Ruthie Bensimon / Beyond Words

I think vegans often have the stigma of being made up of nice vegetables and fruits, but Vigian Feast showed me that’s far from true. From sushi to ice cream to Mexican food to beauty products, I’ve learned that just about anything can be modified in a vegan way.

I’m still not sure if I can be vegan, but now I’m more excited to try new vegan foods during the summer in Tel Aviv.

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