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When it comes to veganism, many people gasp in horror at the idea, often followed by the typical: “I couldn’t, I just love bacon too much!” It’s a lifestyle that’s often brushed to the side due to the limitations and strict nature of it, but what if I was to tell you that many of the places you’ve been eating at in Chester are vegan friendly, if not entirely vegan?

Chester is known as a bit of a pioneer in regards to all things eco, with the city gaining recognition for becoming the first straw free city in the UK, as well as being the first palm oil free city. It’s undeniable that Chester Zoo has had a big influence on these changes, and perhaps the iconic attraction is also changing the city’s perspective on food. We’re constantly seeing new independent businesses popping up, many of which are increasing the availability of vegan dining in Chester.

Veganism is certainly one of the best ways to eat in regards to being eco-friendly, so what’s to stop Chester becoming the first vegan city? Ok, I admit that it’s highly unlikely, at least in the foreseeable future, but even the smallest changes make a difference.

You’re probably thinking that this has been written by a vegan, trying to convince you to go vegan, however that isn’t the case. I’m an omnivore. I eat absolutely everything (apart from maybe mushrooms because ew), and I’m here to show you that even if you are like me, you can embrace the vegan food scene in Chester.

I’ll start off with coffee, my muse. I’m struggling to think of any coffee shop in Chester that hasn’t introduced milk alternatives, and in my humble opinion, oat milk tastes far better in your flat white anyway. However, there certainly has to be a mention for the recently opened Jaunty Goat on Northgate Street. It’s entirely vegan, and that doesn’t appear to be scaring people off. In fact, it’s doing quite the opposite. It’s usually a struggle to get a table, which isn’t something to be complained about as that shows how actually good it is. I also have to mention the Biscoff loaf because blimey, it’s an absolute cracker of a cake.

If you’re not after something too gourmet, and just want a quick nibble, Chip’d (read our feature on them here), another new addition to Northgate Street, is definitely the place to be. It has chips that are above and beyond any chip I’ve ever tasted, and then a selection of dips, seven of which are vegan friendly. People often have the perception that to be vegan, it means being healthy, but with these twice-fried chips, they’re indulgent and very much a treat. It’s a vegan paradise, disguised by the deep fat fryer.

You’ve had your morning coffee and brunch, your mid-afternoon snack has been demolished and it’s dinner time, so now what? If you’re in luck, it might be Urbano32’s vegan supper club that evening, where you get a three course meal for £15. You have to book in advance, so if you fancy giving it a try, find out when the next one is and get booking!

If you’re after something more spur of the moment, then Hypha, the new vegan restaurant and cocktail bar on the walls is the place to be. The menu is micro-seasonal, meaning each time you go there could be new surprises. You can get a selection of small plates and even a Sunday roast, and there’s an extensive cocktail list. Whether you’re feeling a meal, some nibbles, or just want a bit of a tipple, Hypha has options for everyone.

The beauty of the places I’ve mentioned is that they appeal to people not because they advertise themselves as vegan, but because the food and drinks are genuinely some of the best in the city. They haven’t excluded non-vegans, welcoming everyone to come in and embrace the vegan cuisines they offer.