In the streets of Philadelphia you will find the best vegan and healthy fast food of the area and you’ll want to go back
HipCityVeg is a quick-service vegan restaurant in the heart of Philadelphia. One of the first restaurants of it’s kind in the area, HipCityVeg delivers what I think is sorely lacking in the vegan community: healthy fast food. Nicole Marquis, owner, set out to create a delicious, plant-based menu, one that wouldn’t compromise the beauty and integrity of each ingredient. And with that, HipCityVeg was born.
When I first moved to Philly, I couldn’t believe my luck when I found a vegan restaurant two blocks away from me, so of course I had to go the first day I moved there. Two years later, and it’s still a regular spot for me, and I find myself having as much debate over what to get as I did the first time I was there.
Although it’s hard to choose just one favorite, mine is the Udon Noodle Salad, a delicious combination of udon noodles, arugula, spicy glazed chick’n, peanuts, daikon and sprouts, mixed with a Chinese black bean dressing. Being the first thing I ever ordered there, it makes sense that this dish turned out to be my favorite. It has the perfect balance of sweet and spicy that keeps me coming back for it.
A close second would be the Buffalo Bella, a crispy portobella slathered with buffalo sauce and celery slaw (now they even offer chick’n as a replacement for the portobella). While I’m not the biggest fan of mushrooms, this sandwich stole my heart. The crispiness of the portobella gives the sandwich a great texture, and the spiciness of the buffalo with the coolness of the slaw creates a delicious harmony.
For a true “fast food” experience, the Crispy HipCity Ranch is a must, a sandwich with crispy chick’n, lettuce, tomato, pickles, and ranch. Although I have not eaten a fast food chicken sandwich in over ten years, I remember it tasting just like this. And don’t forget the sweet potato fries, which are about as close to perfection as they can be (try with Sriracha aioli and your life will never be the same).
To wash it all down, they offer kale lemonade, shakes, all natural sodas, and a signature smoothie, called The Groothie (kale, apples, bananas, and seasonal fruit). And of course a meal wouldn’t be complete without a little dessert, for which you can pick from delicious homemade brownies and chocolate chip cookies, as well as Philly Cupcake cupcakes.
One complaint I often hear is that it’s too expensive. But given the freshness of the ingredients, the fact that they’re locally sourced, and that they compost everything, including the containers, I have no qualms with paying a little extra for the care put into it.
While I can’t speak for their University City location, which opened this past October, the Rittenhouse location is cute, with minimal frills, but has limited seating. Fortunately, Rittenhouse Park is only steps away, so you can enjoy your cruelty-free meal while taking in the beauty of the park, especially now that spring has arrived!
Serving up compassionate food with a smile, HipCityVeg has become quite the success story, with no sign of slowing down. If you’re in Philadelphia, be sure to check out this unique place.
(All photos – except the Udon Noodles – by Pat Furey and courtesy of HipCityVeg)