There’s a reason why Los Angeles has been named VegNews’ Best Vegan City three years in a row by VN readers. Dining institutions like Plant Food + Wine, Shojin, and Monty’s Good Burger are revered nationwide and have helped cement the City of Angels’ status as the best vegan dining destination in the country. But there’s another plant-based trick up LA’s sleeve: a world-class street food scene of underground pop-ups, ghost kitchens, and food trucks. And it’s proving once and for all that brick and mortars aren’t the only recipe for success.
1 Vegan fried chicken wings at Centric Eats
An order of Centric Eats’ giant oyster mushroom wings are everything you want them to be—craggy, crunchy, golden-fried on the outside; tender, succulent, and steaming hot on the inside. And, of course, they’re doused in some of the most addictive sauces in Los Angeles. Fiery flavors range from tried-and-true Buffalo to the perpetually sold-out Korean Sweet & Spicy, but the sumptuous Garlic Parm (with a big hit of fresh garlic, melted vegan butter, and grated and shredded parmesan) and Lemon Pepper Glaze (tangy, sticky-sweet, and literally finger-lickin’ good) are total standouts.
2Plant-based Cuban cuisine at Señoreata
One bite of Evanice Holz’s Lechon Asado Yuca Fries—piled with smoky mojo-marinated pulled jackfruit, grilled onions, avocado, garlic aioli, pickled onions, and queso sprinkles—and you’ll be transported to a vegan fiesta in the heart of Havana. The modern Cuban cuisine pop-up and catering company Señoreata wows diners with classic Cuban sandwiches, citrusy hearts of palm ceviche, and plantain picadillo nachos. But do yourself a favor and grab two or three flaky pastelitos filled with jammy, tropical guava and coconut cream cheese to go.
3Vegan Cambodian favorites from SreyVegan
Angelenos have their pick of fantastic Chinese, Japanese, and Thai options. But the one-woman powerhouse that is SreyVegan is catapulting Cambodian cuisine into the spotlight in a big way. Owner Sreyneang Lor’s dishes including Pineapple Walnut Shrimp, OmniPork Egg Roll, and Lok Lak Beef deliver on any craving for savory, sweet, crispy, and saucy, and—when served with Lor’s signature fragrant garlic rice and crowned with edible karma orchid flowers—make for a stunning meal.
4 Neapolitan-style pizzas at Love Amaro Pizzera
Don’t tell any New Yorkers, but a Latino single father in Southern California operating under an E-Z UP tent is making some of the best pizza in the country. Jesse Amaro of Love Amaro Pizzeria criss-crosses all over Southern California to pop up at farmers’ markets and weekly vegan street fests, mobile pizza ovens in tow. In just 90 seconds, his chewy, crispy, fluffy Neapolitan-style pies—topped with everything from hot honey-glazed pepperoni and sausage to alfredo sauce and mac and cheese—are ready to be devoured. Look out for specials like cinnamon-maple ciabatta with balsamic butter and cheese-encrusted pasta bowls.
5 Loaded fusion eggrolls and fries at Vegan AF
When Lizzo makes a trip in person to one of Los Angeles’ most talked about vegan spots, you know it has to be good. And with a fully loaded comfort food menu of fusion egg rolls, maxed out French fries, and Southern-style banana pudding, it’s no wonder people are flocking to Chanel Goodson’s hot pink food truck, Vegan AF. Plus, with each order of Philly Cheesesteak, Pizza, Cheeseburger, or Buffalo Shrimp style rolls or fries, you get a pink fortune cookie revealing sage wisdom like “You the one, not the two, periodt.” What more could you want?
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6 Creole mac and cheese from Voodoo Vegan
Voodoo Vegan—Southern California’s premier plant-based taste of New Orleans—just may have the best vegan mac and cheese in Los Angeles. That is, if you take into account the clamoring on social media, long lines, and multiple, epic iterations of it found on Chef Whit’s menu. Order the classic way: jumbo elbow noodles swimming in an ultra-gooey house mornay sauce, layered with a two cheese blend, and baked and garnished with herbs and Creole spices. Or upgrade it with the Voodoo Mac—loaded with caramelized grilled onions, a velvety gouda sauce, and your choice of protein (don’t over think it, add the shrimp). Or keep your eyes open for specials like Mac and cheese chopped cheese, mac served with waffles for brunch and more. Chef Whit offers a number of other comforting favorites—mushroom po’ boys, cheesy Creole spaghetti, gumbo, biscuits, sausages, blackened shrimp, and more. But trust us, start—and end—with the mac.
7Exquisite French pastries at Maison Macha
When iconic French patisserie Ladurée opened its first vegan outpost in Beverly Hills in 2019, plant-based pastry lovers rejoiced. A couple other enterprises would follow suit, bringing flaky croissants and other buttery treats to the vegan masses of LA. But none are doing it as well as the tiny, woman-run pop-up Maison Macha. Owner and pastry chef Macha Eliad launched her business in 2021, making a pandemic-era pivot from her career as a lawyer to a full-time baker. After a stint in France learning alongside some of the most renowned vegan bakers, Eliad returned to California with a plan. Now, she’s gracing west side farmers’ markets with everything from viennoiserie (crisp pain au chocolat and extra-buttery, caramelized kouign aman) to everyday “travel cakes (marble cake and “milk” chocolate pistachio praline cookies) to patisserie (dark chocolate entremet with hazelnut praline cream and soft chocolate ganache covered in chocolate hazelnut brittle glaze on a chestnut shortcrust).
8Hawaiian comfort food at Lucky Catsu
Launched in 2023 by Diana Colmenar—the mind behind weekly vegan night market Vegan Playground—comes Los Angeles’ first vegan Hawaiian street food pop-up, Lucky Catsu. Driven by a longing for the Hawaiian barbecue and pan-Asian foods she ate growing up, Colmenar brought Lucky Catsu to life with a menu chockfull of crispy, saucy comforting favorites. Diners can expect veganized versions of the eponymous meal in different iterations, including a Curry Catsu Plate featuring a golden-fried chicken katsu cutlet drenched in warm Japanese curry served with fluffy, furikake-dusted white rice and vegan macaroni salad. The Lucky Catsu Loco Moco—a half-pound Impossible patty on a bed of white rice, smothered in vegan gravy, and topped with a runny yolk Yo Egg—is another must-try. But for a true taste of Hawai’i, keep your eyes open for the Spam Friedsubi: a musubi featuring pineapple teriyaki-glazed spam that’s panko-crusted and fried to perfection.
9Jewish deli goods at Mort & Betty’s
Across the nation, vegan Jewish eateries are bubbling up and infusing local food scenes with a dose of tradition, comfort, and some seriously good bread. Case in point, chef Megan Tucker’s pop-up deli Mort & Betty’s. Here, chewy, fresh-baked bagels are served with everything from carrot whitefish to chocolate tahini and apple butter; impossibly soft sweet-potato-and-rye caraway challah is stacked with moong dal omelettes, hot mushroom pastrami, and dill pickle latkes; and twisty babkas run the gamut from traditional chocolate to red bean and sesame. And, dare we say, it all may be better than Bubbe’s.
10 Vietnamese sandos at Vegan Bánh Mì Thao
In the land of $14 sandwiches, Vegan Bánh Mì Thao is doing the extraordinary—serving up artfully made, flavorful sandos for half the price. Owner Tiffany Luong makes it a point to price her signature bánh mì (stuffed with white bean beanballs, mung bean pork roll, Chinese barbecue mushrooms, or jackfruit chicken) affordably to be as accessible as possible for all to enjoy. Not into sandwiches? Her beefless congee, bánh cuon (delicate mushroom rice sheet rolls), and chao thit bo chay (Impossible beef rice porridge) are just as much of a steal.
11Extra-fun ballpark eats at All Vegan Franks
In Los Angeles, no warm night walking around food fairs, no trip to Dodger Stadium, and no backyard barbecue is complete without a good old-fashioned hot dog. But All Vegan Franks isn’t concerned with tradition. Owner Frank Nunez’s pop-up is putting a jacked-up, plant-based spin on the American classic with renditions like Elote Franks with corn, mayo, and cotija cheese; Surf N’ Turf Franks with tempura shrimp and dynamite sauce; and even crispy potato-coated Korean Corn Dogs. And to be frank, we want all of them.
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For more about vegan dining in Los Angeles, read:
The Best of LA Awards: 34 Vegan Things to Try in Los Angeles
Why Hollywood’s Hottest Celebrity Restaurant Is Vegan
New Vegan French Bakery Opens in Beverly Hills