Last night, I tried Tempeh for the very first time. I always struggled to find a few vegan products in the UK, especially where I live. The main supermarket chains are selling more and more of vegan products. It's 2019, and veganism is certainly on the rise around the world, but especially in the UK. However, some products like coconut aminos, tempeh, seitan, and other vegan substitutes can still be hard to find. Moreover, they can be hard to find all together in one place. You might have to shop for tofu in ASDA, Tempeh in Waitrose, Seitan only in Chinese shops around town...
The access to vegan foods is getting better, but it certainly can still improve. Since I was never able to find Tempeh and Seitan, I'd never tried it before, but I made it my mission to find out where near me I could get these products! I posted on a UK vegan products group on Facebook, asking for suggestions and recommendations of where to find certain vegan products, and lots of people recommended Alternative Stores Newcastle, a health food shop located about 13 miles away from where I live, which is perfectly acceptable! Less than 30 minutes driving, and you're there! The shop is not huge, but it's got a LOT of options. I'm talking chilled foods, frozen foods, pet food, health and beauty products and even vegan shoes! I'm talking vegan garlic mayonnaise, vegan sausages from 10 different brands, vegan hamburgers, cereals, protein bars, protein powders, snacks, chocolates and sweets, vegan spreads... you name it! I was so pleased to find so many products in one place.
It can get really expensive, though. I spent £35 and only walked away with about 4 or 5 products. I bought one packet of tempeh; seitan which came in a glass jar; I also bought a Vego Almond Bliss white chocolate bar, some rice paper wraps - which I had been trying to find for ages in other supermarkets, - two Meridian cooking sauces (one korma flavoured and one creamy mushroom and white wine). I also got some violife slices which were half price and tinned jackfruit, which I also struggle to find anywhere. The last thing I picked up was some organic black bean spaghetti. All of this came up to £35. Expensive, yes, but worth it!
Later on in the evening, I made a salad with mushrooms, purple broccoli, mixed baby tomatoes, coconut and chopped up beetroot wrap, served with the delicious smoky maple bacon tempeh marinated strips by @tofurkyuk. This was my very first time trying tempeh and I think I'm hooked! As for the vegan shop, I will certainly be returning in the near future for some goodies. I am so happy that I found this hidden gem, and I can't wait for all the recipes I will be able to make with these products. This evening, I might try the rice paper, which is great around veggies and dipped in a sauce, or fried with veggies inside. I can't wait to experiment with the remaining vegan products, and I shall report back on all the recipes and creations.