The Ultimate Vegan’s Guide to Melbourne Uni

Are you a new vegan student on campus? Worried about living off salads and having to do animal dissections in your biology classes?

Worry not! As a Masters student who has completed her undergrad and worked here at Unimelb, I can say with years of experience that Melbourne is one of the most vegan-friendly universities in Victoria, if not the whole of Australia!

I’ve been vegan all throughout my studies at the University and am very acquainted with all Unimelb has to offer for us vegans so I thought I’d compile this handy guide to help the rest of you along the way!

If you’re looking for vegan food, there are lots of on and nearby campus that cater for vegans.

On campus eats

Mantra Lounge:

Whilst Mantra Lounge is relatively new, it is by far my top pick for eating vegan campus! The food is pretty much all vegan with many gluten and soy free options and if you’re on a tight budget (which most of us students are).

Even if you’re not vegan, Mantra Lounge has an awesome deal where you can get a big meal, usually curry or pasta with salad and a slice of cake, all for under $10!

Additionally, their mildly spicy chakri chai latte and tiramisu is a must try!

The Food Co-Op:

My second pick for eating vegan on campus is the Food Co-Op in Union House. It’s pretty much entirely vegan and organic plus entirely run by volunteers!

The prices are also quite good and the place is great for stocking up on organic bulk items and ingredients for cooking at home, particularly if you live on or near campus.

Zambrero:

Make your own vegan taco or burrito! Whilst not exclusively vegan, Zambrero offers plenty of vegan options and you basically choose all your taco and burrito fillings. Word of advice: Go easy on the chilli!

Uni Curry:

Yes, this is the curry place located on the ground floor of Union House. The mixed veggie curry with either the veggie biryani or saffron rice is a personal favourite of mine plus they also sell veggie samosas, aloo paratha, naan and dhal soup. I highly recommend Uni Curry as they have delicious food and really affordable prices!

Other vegan food options on campus worthy of a mention:

  • Whilst not entirely vegan, Tsubu Bar does offer some vegan options including tofu steak
  • Vegie Patch in Union House includes the option of salad sandwiches
  • The cafeteria in the Melbourne Graduate School of Education offers some salads
  • Inu Bar on the 2nd floor of Union House does a weekly vegan special
  • La Bonne Bouffe sometimes has vegan cakes on sale and many of the nearby convenience stores have the odd vegan snack or drink if you’re in a hurry.
  • Express Kebabs has vegan options including mushroom and bean curry, dolmades, falafel and salads
  • Chill Out sells veg focaccia and rice paper rolls
  • Real Meal has rice paper rolls and chips and potato cakes
  • Plush Fish makes tofu futomaki
  • And, whilst Pronto Pizza can make special order vegetarian pizzas without the cheese, I have noticed the same cutting utensils are used on vegan pizzas after slicing through cheese so keep this in mind if cross-contamination is of concern to you.
  • The Unimelb Bhakti Yoga Club does weekly vegan lunches for its members and additionally most clubs serve veggie burgers during BBQs.

Other vegan cafes close to campus

Blue Buddha Café:

Located near QVM, a short walk or tram ride from campus, Blue Buddha Café offers many vegan fair-trade and organic options at decent prices and has a great atmosphere.

Crossways

The Hare Krishna vegetarian restaurant on Swanston St offers great value – under $10 – delicious all-you-can-eat vegan lunches! Great if you like Indian food and are on a tight budget.

Eat Pizza

To get to Eat Pizza catch a tram down Flinders St, towards Crown Casino. Arguably the BEST vegan pizza in the CBD. Pizzas can be ordered with vegan cheese and you can even order vegan versions of your old favourites such as Hawaiian, Mexicana and Capriciosa with the options of vegan ham and salami!

Lord of the Fries

Vegan junk food is just a short walk or tram ride away! Lord of the Fries is essentially all vegetarian but most menu items can be made vegan and gluten free and tastes just as good as – if not better than – KFC. Additionally, I highly recommend you order the fries with the vegan version of the French Canadian sauce aka vegan poutine!

Raw Trader

Not too far from Melbourne Uni campus and a short walk from Melbourne Central, Raw Trader is a small little café specialising in organic raw vegan food! Whilst on the pricier side, their food is both healthy and delicious and I highly recommend you try it! Some of my favourite menu items are the green tea and chai “cheesecakes”, the almond mylk chai latte.

Supercharger Wholefood

If you’re ever passing through the food court of the Melbourne Emporium shopping centre, Supercharger is the one-stop place for healthy vegan food at competitive prices! If you’re looking for a wholesome filling meal for around $10 then this is your place.

Other things to be aware of

UMAPS

The University of Melbourne Animal Protection Society is the perfect club for any new Unimelb vegan to sign up for! With regular vegan lunch gatherings as well as many activist events including lunchtime leafletting, vegan bake sales, screenings of documentaries such as Earthlings, protests and more!

UMAPS Logo

On March the 15th, 2015, UMAPS are also organising to attend volunteer day at Big Sky Animal Sanctuary which is one of many great opportunities to get involved with!

If you’re interested in helping animals and making some friends in the process and/or learning more about more future events and how you can get involved send an email to umapsociety@gmail.com

For more info, see: http://www.umapsociety.org/

Conscientious Objection

This one’s for all you vegan science students out there! Conscientious objection is when you can be excused from doing dissections and animal experiments and given a suitable alternative under ethical grounds.

The same policy applies even in the use of animal testing for some research projects as I have asked supervisors at various research institutes including the Murdoch Children’s Research Institute and found out that if you have ethical concerns with an experiment using animals you can opt to have it tailored to exclude animal use.

For more info, see: http://www.conscientiousobjection.info/

Hopefully this guide has been helpful for new vegans coming into Melbourne Uni and would also like to know from current Melbourne vegans what some of their favourite local eateries are in the Parkville/CBD area.

For any non-vegans (vegetarians, omnivores, pescetarians, etc.) reading this and considering making the transition to going vegan, I hope this has perhaps given you some motivation that being vegan, especially at Melbourne Uni, isn’t difficult at all and I would highly recommend you give veganism a go!

A good place to start is the Vegan Easy Challenge.

– Tobi

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