The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines vegan as:

"a strict vegetarian who consumes no animal food or dairy products; also : one who abstains from using animal products (as leather)"

Vegan Basics

For information on being vegan, eating advice, recipes and a listing of almost every American vegan product on the market (not limited to food) you may find Vegan Basics (Guide)(PDF file) useful. It's designed for any person who is curious of the vegan lifestyle and offers a comprehensive list of foods that are vegan and "accidentally vegan" (products which were not intended to be vegan but are vegan by their ingredients). It was project that PeteHernandez worked on at Viva!USA.

Vegan Restaurant Options

  • Blaze Pizza - Has a vegan cheese option (no extra charge) as well as gluten-free crust. Red sauce is vegan.
  • Burgers and Brew - They have tofu and portabello burgers on their menu, and both are very tasty. They probably cook them on the meat grill, but it's a great place to go with mixed company (veg & non-veg).
  • Chipotle - The tofu-based Sofritas is vegan. It's pretty damn good.
  • Davis Food Co-op - Has many vegan deli items, including sushi, tamales, samosas, burritos, salads, and you can substitute hummus for cheese in some sandwiches and dips. For those who don't eat honey, I would read the ingredients on Co-op items. I remember seeing a salad dressing at the salad bar marked as vegan that has honey, so be sure to be aware when getting Co-op made stuff. 
  • Delta of Venus - They have a huge selection of wonderful vegan food, including sandwiches, omelettes, and even Caribbean dinner options.
  • Ding How - Has an entire vegetarian menu, most items on it are vegan but make sure to ask, and ask for no egg.
  • Foodnome - Many home restaurants are run by local vegans trying to increase the amount of options in our community.
  • Ikedas - Their tamales are vegan and some of their pies. Many other spreads and fresh produce are vegan.
  • Ike's Place - has a number of vegan sandwiches on the menu, and many substitutions to make sandwiches vegan are also possible.
  • Kathmandu Kitchen - Has a vegan platter ("The Vegan Thali") on their menu.
  • Let Them Eat Cake - Has one vegan cupcake flavor available on Mondays and another on Fridays
  • Namaste Nepal - Has a vegan thali (platter) on their dine-in menu (menu on their website is the more limited take-out menu)
  • Natural Food Works, Farmer's Kitchen Cafe - Has various vegan options. Try their bio-regional salad. The Rosa's Black Bean Soup is yummy, and the tacos are great.
  • Nugget Market - You can order a custom veggie sandwich with hummus instead of mayo spread. You can substitute avocado for meat.
  • Original Steve's - Has a veggie mozzarella, vegan thin crust option, and a vegan red sauce.
  • Raja's - Has a number of vegan dishes, just ask if you're not sure. The dinner menu includes a vegan section and they explicitly label their lunch buffet dishes as vegan. Although the owner Taranbir is vegetarian, he is quite sensitive to the needs of the vegan community.
  • Red 88 Noodle Bar - Has a vegan soup bowl that could easily feed two! Delicious veggies, tofu and glass noodles. I haven't actually asked and verified all the ingredients, however.
  • Sam's Mediterranean - Their falafel sandwich is excellent. Fried food isn't good for you, but their falafel and fries sure are tasty. The tahini sauce is veg. The dolmas are amazing too.
  • Taqueria Davis - They have a vegan burrito with veggie rice, grilled vegetables, guacamole, pico de gallo, and your choice of beans.
  • Taqueria Guadalajara - The manager says that they have changed their recipes for rice and beans to make them vegetarian. They have removed chorizo from the beans and use vegetable stock in the beans. The guacamole is dairy-free as well.
  • Three Ladies Cafe - emphasizes vegan/vegetarian options.
  • Yolo Berry Yogurt - Always has a non-dairy sorbet option
  • Woodstock's Pizza - Their pizza sauce is vegan. When ordering a cheeseless pizza be sure to ask for extra sauce- it's free and makes it extra good. They also can add daiya cheeze to any pizza. They will also substitute anything you want for no extra charge.
  • UC Davis Dining Commons - All items on their menu are marked blue for vegan. Cuarto Dining Commons also has an exceptional salad bar and lots of fun vegan options. The Dining Commons also offer vegan Coconut Bliss ice cream on request. If you don't see it in the ice cream freezer, then ask an employee for some. All Dining Commons also offer a vegan corner, complete with nutritional yeast, an organic seed mixture and lots of vegan-friendly dips and spreads!

Free Vegan Food

  • Free soy milk and cookies at the MU/Quad tables from 12:30 to 1:30 on finals days (in 2007, December 10-15), given just to take a load off of stressed-out students!
  • The Seventh Day Adventists and guests have a free vegan/vegetarian meal on Saturdays (the Sabbath Day), where each one brings a dish or something to share with others.

Vegan on the Cheap/ Fast Food Vegan

  • Coffee House - Depending on the day, you can find reasonably priced vegan dishes. For a list of their daily hot food items (vegan items are marked accordingly) click Here.
  • In-N-Out - You can order a "Veggie Burger", simply a burger without their meat and cheese. Make sure to ask for no special sauce if you order it "animal style." as the spread contains mayo. I've confirmed the buns as vegan with the company.
    • Asking for something "animal style" will also get you cheese on it. You can ask for something animal style without cheese or special sauce which will get you just grilled onions (which are cooked on the grill where the patties are, essentially in meat juice, not rec'd) but you *will* be charged for "animal style".
  • Fluffy Donuts
  • Taco Bell - You can order any item off the menu and have them replace the beef with beans, free of charge. You can also order the item "fresco style" which means replacing the cheese with a vegan pico de gallo salsa. Adding guacamole is also delicious and highly recommended.

Vegan shopping in Davis

  • Davis Food Co-op - By far is the most vegan friendly store for groceries, cosmetics and household products.
  • Ethnic Markets - Sell various soy, gluten, and legume based products.
  • International Food Market - Has soy products "Dhanraj Nutrela" that can be cooked up to be faux meats, great if you're low on cash! 
  • Trader Joe's - Many vegan items. Ingredients are usually simple and they don't try to be sneaky about adding animal products into foods in which they would normally be unexpected.
  • Local produce, dips, sauces, etc. can be bought at the Farmers Market, Ikedas, and Pedrick Produce.
  • Mainstream Supermarkets like Safeway, Save-Mart, and the Target frozen section have small but substantial natural food sections in which you can buy soy products.

Product Lines

Vegan recipes/cookbooks

Vegan advice

Vegan Basics (Guide) has a ton of helpful advice for beginning vegans.

Products to be mindful of:


  • eggs
  • dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese)
  • honey (bees)
  • gelatin (from animal bone)
    • avoid jello, starburst, skittles, sour cream, marshmallows, Extra Polar Ice gum, some gummy bears
      • Skittles from the Czech Republic and Starburst from England do not contain gelatin.
      • Supposedly Skittles are now both gluten-free and gelatin-free (but check the packaging, it states so at the end of the ingredients, this is a relatively new thing) and supposedly Mars Inc. tests on animals, which isn't very vegan.
    • note: most camera film is made from gelatin.
  • nougat (contains egg white)
  • Marzipan - some marzipans are made with egg whites, some are not, check the ingredients.
  • lipase (from calves, lambs, or kids—a enzyme used in food processing)
  • A lot of wine and beer is not vegan - anyone know about hard alcohol?
    • almost all cheap and imported beers and wines are filtered with isinglass (derived from fish) or bone char. Some are even processed with small amounts of eggs, cream, and milk. a list of vegan alcohol can be found at vegan porn

* Barnivore is the ultimate vegan alcohol resource!

  • White flour and white sugar- supposedly the calcium carbonate used to bleach these products can derive from animal bones. Can anyone provide a primary source to confirm or deny this claim?
  • Chocolate - yes its true. apparently the refined sugar in it is made using a process involving animal bone charcoal.
  • Sugar - some brands of refined cane sugar are made with a process using animal bone charcoal to "scrub" it clean of impurities, color, flavors, and minerals. C&H used to be vegan (as of 2001), but not Imperial. All sugar derived from sugar beets is vegan (not filtered with bone char). This is also true of common "Brown sugar" which is <i>indeed</i> white sugar before the brown (molasses) is added back in, according to my FST 10 professor.
    • The "This is also true" in the last sentence is ambiguous. I'm guessing that brown sugar has been filtered with bone char, but it isn't clear due to the position of the sentence.
  • Watch out for casein. Always read ingredients! It's a milk protein and they slip it into vegetarian cheeses. The only vegetarian cheese that is really vegan is Tofutti. There are also some vegan cheeses such as Daiya but just make sure to check.
    • Vegan gourmet "cheese" is also completely vegan (made by Follow Your Heart, the people that make Vegenaise).


  • elastin (from cows, in skin care products)
  • hyaluronic (from animal umbilical cords, skin care oils)
  • musk oil (from muskdeer, beavers, muskrats, etc—fragrance obtained by whipping genitals)
  • premarin (taken from pregnant horses, an estrogen supplement)
  • For those of you who are concerned about vegan beauty products, this site provides a fairly comprehensive and accurate list (though not all Aubrey Organics products are vegan anymore, bummer)

Famous Davis Vegans

Check out VivaUSA! an animal rights organization based out of Davis!


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