I found the best vegan food in Jackson Heights, Queens

When you think of vegan food in New York, Williamsburg or the Lower East Side quickly come to mind for the variety of juice stores, aesthetic eateries, and vegan-only eateries. Jackson Heights, a neighborhood in northwest Queens, is usually the last neighborhood you’d describe as vegan, with its meat-heavy Latin American and South Asian cuisines. However, those looking to try new dishes from around the world shouldn’t pass by this bustling immigrant neighborhood in the heart of Queens, which proves very accommodating to the plant-based palate if you know where to look. Here are seven places to enjoy a tasty, all-vegan meal while exploring Jackson Heights.

Trisha Mukherjee

1 Bangladeshi cuisine at Fuska House

This humble food cart on 37th Avenue offers fast, fresh produce fuska– a popular Bangladeshi snack consisting of crispy brown semolina shells filled with mashed potatoes, chickpeas, onions, coriander, spicy masala and tamarind sauce – a sour sauce made from tamarind pulp in mash potatoes.

Pour the tamarind sauce into one of the shells and put it all in your mouth for a mind-blowing flavor explosion. To follow with something fruity, try guava or mango discuss—a South Asian spicy fruit snack. You will not regret it.
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2 Thai cuisine in Sompong

Cozy with dark wood walls and Buddha statues, Sompong offers a host of vegan options. The many vegan appetizers and entrees – including steamed vegetable dumplings, creamy green curry with crunchy vegetables, and spicy drunken noodles (skip the egg) – taste even tastier knowing there’s something sweet thing to follow. Sompong offers a vegan dessert in the form of mango sticky rice infused with coconut milk, which is the perfect finish to a savory and spicy meal.
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3 Colombian cuisine at Arepa Lady

The Latin American cornmeal cakes named after this restaurant are usually made with cheese, but Arepa Lady offers several vegan options. We are lucky!

The restaurant’s owner is originally from Medellín, Colombia, and started the business as a street cart over 10 years ago. We highly recommend street corn as an appetizer for the chocolate arepa. Topped with black beans, guacamole, sweet plantains, lettuce, tomato, and avocado, it’s one of the most popular menu items. To ensure your meal is animal-free, request your vegan food, and the chefs will be happy to accommodate you!
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4 Tibetan cuisine in Phayul

Expect an elegant and streamlined dining experience at Phayul. While many items such as Veg Momos (dumplings) and Veg Lhasa (fried noodles) seem to meet vegan criteria, be careful as the skins and momo noodles are made with eggs.

For a totally vegan meal, order the break-in, a rolled dish of cold noodles, as a starter. The large handmade noodle pieces are made from mung bean flour and are served cold in a spicy sauce. Follow the run-in with a large bowl of vegetables so thuk— a hand-warmed noodle soup served with vegetables that helps Tibetan nomads fight the cold in winter.

These typical Tibetan dishes are unlike anything else in the world and are worth a visit if you like to try new foods. Be warned, though, you might find it spicy if chili peppers aren’t a regular part of your diet. If you have a low spice tolerance, let your server know and the chefs will customize your dish to save your sensitive palate.
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5 Middle Eastern cuisine in El Toum

Take your pick from all of El Toum’s appetizers, they’re all vegan! We recommend the El Toum appetizer which includes a variety of small bites ranging from smoky spicy hummus to fresh, herbal tabbouleh.

Add to that the falafel platter, the falafel sandwich (served in pita, of course), or a vegan pumpkin spinach pie kibbe (a football-shaped, croquette-like food made with bulgur and fresh herbs), and your all-vegan meal is assembled. Take note of all the daily specials which usually feature a vegan option or two. Get on it because it might be gone the next day – promotions go fast.
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6 Mexican food at Taqueria Coatzingo

Their Facebook page was last updated in 2017, but this establishment is alive and well. Embodying the exceptional diversity of the surrounding neighborhood, the entrance to Taqueria Coatzingo is surrounded by flags from around the world.

This casual Mexican joint has been around for 20 years and offers enough vegan food to get you through a few meals. As with most Mexican food, you’ll need to order a vegetarian dish like Tacos Vegetarianos and ask for a few modifications – no cream, cheese or other dairy. If you need to up your vegetable content, consider trying the nopal salad—a bed of greens topped with tender cuts of cooked cactus leaves, aka nopals.

To wash it all down, head next door to the California Sports Bar for a cocktail while watching a live game from football on TV with the locals. The energy is incomparable.
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seven Nepali cuisine at Nepali Bhancha Ghar

At this family-run restaurant just below the 74th Street-Roosevelt subway station, customers are greeted by a bustling interior with large groups of Nepali-speaking friends, music blasting from loudspeakers, Buddha statues and of Ganesh and photos of the Himalayas mounted on the orange walls.

Tofu chili serves as an appetizing, albeit spicy, appetizer. If you are looking for unique Nepalese cuisine and are open-minded to new textures, try the Nepali Dhido as a starter. This dish is prepared by adding flour to boiling water until it reaches a bread-like texture and is served with a variety of vegan curries. Otherwise, try it pure (an Indian fried bread), which arrives at the table hot and puffy with a side of potato curry.
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For more on vegan dining in New York, read:
5 Vegan Places Brooklynites Love
16 Vegan Options in Smorgasburg NYC
10 Best Places for Ethiopian Food in NYC

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