It’s a Vibe

A local highlight on the festival calendar, Vegan Vibes is back in Mt Maunganui in October, plus its inaugural event in Auckland launches in early 2022. We check out the line up...

A local highlight on the festival calendar, Vegan Vibes is back in Mt Maunganui in October, plus its inaugural event in Auckland launches in early 2022. We check out the line up...

Looking for plant-based inspiration in the kitchen? Want to sit in the sun, listen to live music and
get people to cook you amazing vegan delights? Interested in hearing a range of experts speak
about plant-based eating? Vegan Vibes has it all on offer, whether you’re vegan, flexitarian or
just a food lover.

This year’s festival is on 23 October in the Mount and will hit Tāmaki Makaurau Auckland in February. The line-up is getting bigger as we write, but here are some of the superb things already confirmed...

Two locals will be there in force: Rice Rice Baby will serve its faves, plus Real Rad Food will bring super-popular Rad Ball Mixes, Rad Protein and Rad Slices. Charlie Mia will have a range of allergy-friendly treats. Its doughnut flavours will include a special of lemon meringue, along with classic versions, plus cakes such as carrot and salted maple cream, and tarts like banoffee or egg-free
tofu ‘quiche’. Langos Fried Bread Puffs will have a new offering of cashew nut, fresh lime and
beetroot with a tamari sprinkle to add salty to the sweet and sour; its usual favourites of watercress and walnut pesto, and something sweet, to boot.

Come and be inspired and educated by the people behind some great vegan food products.
Good Vibes Fungi will be sharing its passion for fungi and the amazing health and environmental benefits. Hear more about the organically grown mushies, mini mushroom farms and grow kits.
Angel Cheese will showcase its dairy-free cheese alternatives. Founder Alice Shoplan (also a speaker on the day) says many people want to reduce dairy consumption but find cheese is a tricky food to give up, and their products make that transition easier. You can also chat to the teams from Uncle Dunkle’s wood-fired chilli sauces, Plant Projects and Otis Oat Milk.

Aside from the delicious food offerings, there’ll be a range of like-minded brands there too, such
as Ethically So with its homewares and body products.

Confirmed for Auckland-only right now is Little Bird Organics, with fresh food and its raw organic grocery range (founder Megan May will also be speaking), and Wise Boys Burgers who deliver
the goods with creations such as the Crispy Fried Chick (‘chicken’ with slaw, pickles, aioli and
sriracha mayo).

Bring an appetite and a big shopping bag, and be ready for the best day!
Follow @veganvibesnz to hear when more speakers and vendors are announced.
Vegan Vibes Tauranga
→ When 10am–3pm, 23 October 2021
→ Where Soper Reserve, Mt Maunganui
→ Tickets ticketfairy.com/events/vegan-vibes
Vegan Vibes Auckland
→ When 10am–3pm, 12 February 2022
→ Where Auckland showgrounds, Auckland
→ Tickets ticketfairy.com/events/vegan-vibes
→ $20 Pre-purchased general admission
→ $30 Two event combo pass (TGA & AKL)
→ $25 Per person on the gate
→ Children 12 & under FREE

Dining à la Plants

We've been gathering intel (ie eating out a lot) to figure out the best restaurants in Tauranga and Mt Maunganui for quality vegan food. Here are some of the must-order dishes we discovered.

We take our hat off to Italian star, Sugo (19 Wharf St, Tauranga) — it offers an entirely separate vegan menu. Pictured is the wild mushroom bolognese with vegan tagliatelle and cashew nut parmesan, alongside a dessert of lime leaf coconut mousse, rosemary poached feijoa, rum roasted pineapple coconut crumble.

Easy Go Thai (4/277 Maunganui Rd) is a popular takeaway option, and goes above and beyond with its commitment to plant-based food. All of its curries, soups, stir fries, noodles and fried rice can be vegan (tom yum soup and vege stir-fry is pictured). Good vegan curries can also be found over the other side of the bridge at Own Masala (175 Eleventh Ave).

Longtime favourite Macau (59 The Strand, Tauranga) has a mod-Asian menu with plant-based highlights, like the spinach and potato chickpea curry and  tofu shiitake dumplings, above. The edamame beans are probably the best in town, too.

Master Kong (217 Maunganui Rd) serves up this watermelon ‘sashimi’ – thinly sliced watermelon dressed in mandarin ponzu, with sago and crisp nori. Its pad Thai is a great option but the burnt coconut tofu curry with curry leaf and charred pickled onion is next level. The flambé banana, pineapple and cinnamon boat with ice cream and coconut caramel is a theatrical finale.

Photography: Brydie Thompson