By Yasmin Radbod
a former VRG Intern
Recently I spent eight lovely days in Sydney, Australia, mainly in Ultimo. I had no time to look up vegan options and did not know what to expect. When I first arrived I was bombarded with fast food chains, pubs, and endless coffee shops. My friend lives on Goold Street right off George Street in the heart of the city. University of Technology Sydney (UTS) has a giant campus in the area that makes for a young and lively feel alongside Darling Harbour, just a fifteen minute walk from the campus. George Street also has a free bus that goes from Sydney Harbour to UTS.
The harbours have many upscale dining options that have your average vegan items such as hummus, salads, fried vegetables, nuts and chips, and salsa at pubs. The best vegan options are found along the downtown area near UTS and Central Station train stop. Sydney has a large Chinese population and also many Chinese restaurants. As someone who lived in China for a year and has traveled since all over China, I can confidently say that Sydney has the most authentic Chinese food outside of China. The Chinese cuisine is more reasonably priced, too, and there are little restaurants specializing in different Chinese cuisine serving hot pot, dumplings, cold dishes, fried dishes, etc. I love hot pot and frequently ordered a large bowl of mixed vegetables with dried tofu for $11.50 AUD. It comes with rice and there is delicious hot chili sauce made fresh with vinegar and soy sauce available just like in China. The mixed vegetables include what you would find in China: different types of mushrooms, bean sprouts, various lettuces, and more. There was one small restaurant that had a sign advertising vegan braised eggplant dumplings, which I ended up eating four times in those eight days! One dumpling cost one dollar, which is cheaper than dumplings found in the actual Chinatown strip in Sydney. This place even served free oolong tea and authentic sauces.
Walking down George Street towards The Notre Dame campus there is a small restaurant called Hari’s Vegetarian and Vegan Restaurant (157 Broadway, Ultimo). I spoke to one if the owners several times. He said although he thought there are few vegans in Sydney, there are many vegetarians. Australia does not have the name brand vegan options we have in The States like vegan cheese and mock meat companies. However, Hari’s makes their own vegan cheese from soy and their personal size vegan pizza is delicious.
Sydney has a lot of potential for more vegan options. It is a beautiful, safe and welcoming city with so many things to do.
Thanks to Yasmin Radbod (a former VRG intern) for contributing this information.