Vegan food isn't all about quinoa wrapped in quinoa, served with a side of quinoa. Oh no. It's easy enough to embrace a plant-based diet without missing out on some guilty pleasures. Especially if you live in Cardiff.

For all the classic 'junk food' dishes - think burgers, hot dogs, pizza - there's a restaurant willing to add a vegan twist. In fact, the demand for vegan junk food in Cardiff is so high, some plucky entrepreneurs opened up a dedicated house of vegan junk (bless you, Greazy Vegan). While that might be the only place that's full to the rafters with hedonistic vegan delights, Cardiff certainly isn't lacking in restaurants offering up dishes that'll put your digestive system to the test.

With that in mind, we've put together a list of our favourite vegan junkfood dishes. Dig in.

Starting out as a mere pop-up venture, the Greazy Vegan quickly became one of the hottest food spots in Cardiff. And what do all successful pop-ups do? That's right - they invested in their own future by moving into a brick-and-mortar store (facing the castle, no less!).

Now, as we mentioned above - the Greazy Vegan is full to the brim with vegan junk food, so it's hard to pick just one thing from their menu. However, to keep this feature as varied as possible, we've decided to give the thumbs up to the incredible hot wings from their 'chickun' range. They might make your nose run like Usain Bolt, but thanks to the accompanying ranch sauce, the pain won't last too long.

Read more about The Greazy Vegan

If you're into locally-sourced and ethically-produced vegan street food, then you'll love the Lazy Leek. Based in the Kings Road Yard in Pontcanna - this restaurant offers up everything from plant-based burgers (the Beetmaster General is incredible) to 'Cauli Wings'. But if you ask us, it's their dirty fries that really puts them up there on the Mount Rushmore of vegan joints in Cardiff.

Hand-cut, triple-cooked chips covered in Portabello mushrooms, fake mozzarella, BBQ sauce and pickled chillies? You'll sleep well after devouring this dish.

Read more about The Lazy Leek

Roath isn't exactly short of visually stunning businesses, but if you're asking for our top pick, then Blanche Bakery might just take the cake. Much like the Greazy Vegan, this project had rather humble beginnings - but soon enough, this wonderful cottage industry evolved into a fully-operational shop on MacKintosh Place - equipped with the sort of decor you'd expect to find on every influencer's Instagram page.

From cruelty-free cupcakes and cookies to cakes the size of your face, Blanche Bakery is a dream come true for vegans in Cardiff.

Our recommendation? The Korean Fried Tofu Burger: Crispy fried tofu, with a hearty drizzle the house made sticky, sweet & spicy Korean BBQ sauce topped with spring onions and black sesame seeds all served in a bouncy vegan brioche bun. Yum.

Read more about Blanche Bakery

Anna Loka was Cardiff's first-ever 100% vegan restaurant, but with their tireless work ethic, they've managed to blaze a trail for others to follow. And we thank them for that.

While the majority of their menu could be considered 'wholesome' - and certainly not on the junk food end of the spectrum - who doesn't like a good kebab on a night out? It's the sort of thing that lines the stomach, or buys you some extra time when you need it later in the night.

Anna Loka's take on the doner features thinly sliced seitan, Spanish olives, pickled tofu, coleslaw, tomatoes, cornichons, rocket and garlic mayo. And if that wan't enough, it's also served with muhammara, nachos and a side salad. It's overwhelming in all the right ways.

Read more about Anna Loka

So we've dealt with late night dishes, delicious desserts, and colossal lunches, but what about the jewel on top of the junk food crown? That's right, breakfast and brunch! Wild Thing - based in Grangetown - is a relative newcomer to the plant-based revolution currently taking over Cardiff, but with their socially-focussed mindset and menu items such as 'Pay What You Can' soup, we're rooting for them pretty hard.

As with a few of the restaurants we've featured here, finding 'junk' on the menu is difficult, but we're pretty sure that starting your day with pancakes is pretty indulgent, even if they are made of oat flour, and topped with ginger baked apple, coyo, maple and date syrup, and nutty granola.

Perhaps healthy junk food is the future?

Read more about Wild Thing

Known (and rightly revered) until recently as the legendary Urban Taphouse, Tiny Rebel Cardiff is a pantheon of powerfully-hopped pintage and craftily-bottled beers. Visit either of their two bars (in Cardiff and Newport), and expect a selection of outstanding indie beers from a myriad of Craft Breweries, a bounty of slow-cooked temptation (we recommend their down-and-dirty burgers or hot-and-messy pizzas) and a properly tidy time.

Read more about Tiny Rebel Cardiff

Ffwrnes are two Llanelli boys who've kicked up a storm in the capital thanks to their creatively crafted, hand-thrown Neapolitan pizza. Its traditional stuff (not a rolling pin in sight) with a strong nod to Welsh heritage. Recently voted one of Wales' Top 3 purveyors of Pizza, Wriggle has a hunch that Ffwrnes are destined for all things big and all things tasty, and we're absolutely delighted that the gang have just opened their first permanent premises upstairs at the Cardiff Central Market and have plenty of veggie and vegan options to chose from.

Read more about Ffwrnes Pizza @ Cardiff Central Market

Le Pub are an iconic music and arts centre based in the heart of Newport City Centre. They also just happen o be the largest independent space in the city for creative arts. There’s a jam packed, year round schedule of live music, arts and comedy. But the bit we love best is, of course, the food. The menu is entirely veggie and vegan with innovative burgers that come with a choice of chipotle bean, soy ‘beef’ or southern fried jackfruit ‘chicken’ patties. The faux chicken gravy and salt fries are hella moresih. There are also regular plant-based pop-ups frequenting the kitchen so keep an eye out.

Read more about Le Pub

They not only allow you to build your own burger here – they positively expect you to. With so many combinations of bread, beef and toppings, you could come here every week for years and never have the same thing twice; they claim 400,000 possible combos. They encourage you to name your creation, too. It's a fun spin on quality food - don't let the name put you off, there's three types of veggie and vegan patty to chose from, tons of toppings and a delicious 7 Seed Potato Bun.

Read more about Time & Beef

Got No Beef first cut their teeth in the street food trade - banging burgers, lip-smacking chicken’n and mega tasty shakes (all 100% vegan). For the last three years their impressive little stall has travelled all over the county and fed the plant-based community very well. They’ve now decided to lay down some roots in their hometown of Cardiff (aren’t we lucky). On their menu you can expect a selection of signature burgers, southern fried chick’n burgers, hot dogs, sides such as ‘shrimp’ and BBQ Cauli Wings as our favourite, the choc’ brownie sundae. Grab the gang and head down for mighty fine feast, guilt-free.

Read more about Got No Beef

Published -1st January 2020