January is a time of year where many people plan to eat more healthily, whether it’s part of a New Year’s Resolution, or trying out ‘Veganuary’ – the initiative to try vegan eating for the whole month.
But proving it doesn’t have to be dull is Manchester’s new four-storey music venue YES, which will be hosting an ‘Everything’s Gone Green’ vegan festival on Saturday 5th January.
The festival shares its name with an iconic 1981 New Order track – and guests will be making many new orders of their own, as vegan specials will be served up by some of the freshest street food traders around.
Two of the traders there are already based in YES – Firebird Hope and Pepperoni Playboy. They’ve got their own inventive vegan recipes planned (including jerk-fried seitan nuggets – and if you haven’t tried a Firebird Hope vegan fried-chicken sandwich yet, you seriously need to), and they’ve also invited along four other street food traders: Oh Mei Dumpling, Mama-Z, Los Antojitos and Doner Summer.
Although these street food traders aren’t all exclusively vegan, they will be working to impress with vegan specials all day – and from all over the world.
Take Oh Mei Dumpling, winner of Best Street Food Trader at this year’s Manchester Food & Drink Awards – serving up homemade Chinese-style dumplings packed with flavour. Popular vegan varieties in the past have included pan fried tofu with kale and also mixed vegetable.
Vegan Filipino food is also on the cards thanks to Mama-Z, the street food project of 26-year-old Zosima Fulwell who has brought delicious recipes from the Philippines to a variety of places in the city including a residency at Hatch and a recent series of ‘Boodle Fight’ super clubs at Idle Hands.
She’s been serving up vegan and gluten-free sprout bhajis for December and is known for delicious animal-free options such as jackfruit pops.
“I’m so excited to do this event at YES as I love the venue and it’s a great addition to the city,” says Zosima.
“I have always wanted to prove that Filipino food can be made delicious without the meat…and this is a great event to showcase that! All the traders are wicked, and it will be an amazing day to work alongside everyone.
“Expect my banana ketchup to be making an appearance alongside my jackfruit pops and yummy vegan mushroom adobo, as well as some other potential menu surprises. Watch my social media for my menu for the day.”
Also a significant presence at the food festival is Los Antojitos, vegan Mexican food specialising in street tacos and multi-bean chilli bowls.
Attention to detail matters here – from hand-pressed corn tortillas with inventive fillings like cactus to homemade salsas and sauces. It’s significantly down to the hard work of Kelly Bucher, who is also the chef behind Chorlton’s first all-vegan pub kitchen at The Chorlton Tap.
“Dan from Firebird Hope told me about his idea to create a new vegan food festival and invited us to be part of it,” says Kelly.
“It was a no brainer due to the location – and the fact that it’s a fairly new venue means it’s a good excuse for people who haven’t been yet to check out the space. And the more fully vegan food events the better, in our opinion!”
Joining these Manchester traders on the day will be Leeds-based Doner Summer, known for their secret spiced seitan doner burger, something which need to be tried to be believed.
Luckily, it’s easy to come along and try the lot.
Everything’s Gone Green is on Saturday 5th January at YES. It’s free, and pop-up stalls will be open from 12pm until 6pm.