If you’ve been following me since I first started writing for Tasty Chomps back in 2013, you’ve probably noticed that I took a hiatus between 2015-2017.

I had fasted meat for two years for spiritual reasons and I stopped attending foodie events because as a serious meat lover I knew that meat would be at these events and the temptation would be far too hard for me to be around.

During my meat-free season I began to hit up some local vegan joints and non-vegan establishments owned by friends and family and I grew quite fond of their plant-based dishes.  Who knew that vegan food could be so tasty?  I sure didn’t. Although I am no longer fasting meat, I still eat and enjoy these delicious cruelty-free dishes made at these amazing locally-owned businesses till this day.

Dixie Dharma at Market on South
Photo courtesy of Dixie Dharma

1.  Heirloom T.L.T. (right)- Heirloom tomatoes, arugula, smoked maple tempeh bacon & lemon mayo on Texas toast.

Their Florida Fried Green Tomato sandwich (left) is a strong contender.  You can find Dixie Dharma and Valhalla Bakery inside Market on South, located in Orlando’s Milk District.  I’ve been a huge fan of both vegan concepts ever since they first opened their doors.  Valhalla Bakery currently has two concepts and Dixie Dharma is currently working on opening their fourth concept.  Shaun Noonan, owner of Dixie Dharma, is one of the best guys I know.  He’s a very kind and humble gentleman.

2603 E South St, Orlando, FL 32803

Leguminati at Hourglass Social House

Photo courtesy of Leguminati

2. OG Crunchwrap – asada season soy-based ground beef, nacho cheeze, lettuce, tomato, vegan sour cream, and a crunchy tostado, wrapped and grilled in a jumbo flour tortilla

Their chik’n salad is pretty amazing too.  I’ve been a huge fan of Leguminati since their pop-up days when they used to set up and sell food in various parking lots of restaurants and supermarkets, all of which I would show up at every week.  Now as of last year, they have their own store in the Hourglass District.  I’m so happy for Rebecca “Bex” Larsen and her team!

2401 Curry Ford Rd, Orlando, FL 32806

District at Mills 50
Photo courtesy of District at Mills 50

3. Impossible Brunch Cheeseburger
– Impossible Foods meat-free burger patties, Violife Foods smoked provolone slices, Altar Offering glorious bacun, Just Egg or organic tofu, tomato, lettuce, vegan mayonnaise, Olde Hearth Bread

Luckily for me this spot opened up during the time I started fasting meat.  Since it was so close to my work I would pop in some days for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.  They sell vegan burgers, sandwiches, cheese, mock meats, plant milk, coffee, and juices and they’ve proudly celebrated their 3 year anniversary.  Owners Jamey & EJ always make you feel welcomed like you are their best friend.  Menu changes daily so be sure to follow them on instagram, link below, to stay up-to-date on the special of the day.  Everything they make is truly delicious!

1221 N Mills Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

Sus-Hi Eatstation

Photo courtesy of Sus-Hi Eatstation

4. Vegan Ninja bowl
– Tofu, avocado, cucumbers, sweet potato flakes, scallions, almonds, walnuts, carrots, edamame beans, tempura flakes, sesame seeds, ginger sesame.

Orlando’s first create your own sushi rolls, bowls and burritos.  Sus-Hi Eatstation is a “build-your-own” concept which makes it easy to accommodate all types of diet: vegan, gluten-free, paleo and keto.  The owners Robert & Teresa Ly are some of my closest friends from UCF.  I’ve known them since before they got married and opened up their first Sus-Hi Eatstation across from campus back in 2011.  They both have a heart of gold and they always step up to help out friends, family, and the community as much as possible without expecting anything in return.  Their love for others shows through their food.

Locations in UCF, Altamonte Springs, Lake Nona, Millenia, and East Colonial.

Saigon Noodle & Grill

5. Vegetable and Tofu Noodle Soup
– Vermicelli noodles (I substituted mine with clear noodles), fresh garden vegetables, tofu, fried onions, vegetable broth.

I used to spend 60+hr/wk here as the general manager when my parents first opened this Vietnamese restaurant.  As a vegan at the time, this bowl of soup was my go-to for something comforting and healthy.  They say pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) cures all ailments.

101 N Bumby Ave, Orlando, FL 32803

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"So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God." - 1 Corinthians 10:31 - Tiffany is a native of Orlando, Florida. Born and raised in "The City Beautiful" she has witnessed many vast changes to the city since she was a toddler and she is excited for what's to come for her hometown. Tiffany graduated from the University of Central Florida with a B.S. in General Business. One of her long-time dreams came true when her family's restaurant, Saigon Noodle & Grill - Bumby got invited by the Food Network to film an episode of "Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives" with Guy Fieri and special guest Food Network Star winner Justin Warner. You can follow her on IG at @bytiffanynguyen.