Alongside trying to purchase the cheapest, most toxic drink available and determining whether or not 5 of you can actually fit into one toilet cubicle, food (especially cheese coated, questionable-meat containing food) is central to any student’s night out. Being Vegan on such occasions is quite possibly the hardest challenge I’ve had to face yet. There are two vital situations in which Veganism is just as much of a pain as your best friend deciding to spend the night chundering and wanting to drunk call her ex.
Situation Number 1: After an incredible night out and leaving your dignity somewhere behind the bar, it is almost compulsory to stumble across to the nearest food venue and devour indeterminable treats that would seem horrific to your sober brain. The majority of this food consists of dairy and meat. Having attempted to articulate to the man at Jason Donervan’s (Yes, we love our puns here in Bristol) that I am Vegan, and were there any Vegan options in my most eloquent of drunken chats, I seemed to cause more confusion than the boy requesting ‘berugisyejkalishfkkns…please’. So I settled with plain chips and salt and vinegar. Now there’s nothing wrong with plain chips. Chips are beautiful cuboids of potatoey, crispy goodness. But chips are also good in a wrap, with cheese, garlic mayo and BBQ sauce, or as myself and my flatmates like to call it, the legendary Cheesy Chip Wrap, mastered after many visits to Donervans. As I stumbled my way home, I couldn’t help but think my Vegan option just wasn’t quite the same.
Situation Number 2: You’ve woken up in your bed (or someone else’s, no judgement here), head banging, make-up still smudged, that horrible and indescribable bad breath you only get after a night out, and the first thing you want is water. After downing a pint of the lovely stuff and crawling back to bed, the hunger starts. Now, at this point in my recovery, I usually reach for my phone and order a Texas BBQ Chicken pizza from Dominoes, which usually solves all my hangover problems, both emotionally and physically. But, as you’ve probably guessed, my favourite Dominoes is not, in fact, very Vegan friendly. Fortunately for me, sober Emily had thought ahead and purchased Linda McCartney’s Vegetarian Country Pies (suitable for Vegans), assuming that it would be a worthy substitute for my desperate need of comfort food. And, surprisingly, it was. The filling was a little rich for my slightly fragile stomach, but the pastry is nothing short of divine. I even had to look at the label to double check there was no butter or egg in it but, once again, Linda McCartney’s range has proven its superiority as provider of Vegan substitutes. I felt much more satisfied than my Vegan attempts at Donervan’s, but I also couldn’t help but think what would be my options had I not planned ahead?
Having discussed with my Vegan friends, we came up with several solutions to my experiences that offer much more variety and satisfaction. You’d be surprised at how many places offer Vegan pizza in your area, and how many of them deliver (particularly with the increase in Deliveroo’s popularity). In Bristol alone there are many, with my particular favourite being Pepe Nero. I’ve also been to Boston Tea Party, where they offer a Vegan Full English, including a Vegan friendly buttered toast. It consisted of mushrooms, beans, hash brown and tomatoes and was even noted as looking preferable to the non-Vegan West Country breakfast by my fellow hangover recoverer. Beans on toast also offers a great comfort food option, and if you add Linda McCartney’s sausages to the mix, its like you were never Vegan in the first place! Another, arguably more boring, option is to actually eat healthily. Having read Madeleine Shaw’s ‘Get the Glow’ book, in which her advice for a hangover was to eat lots of fresh vegetables and replace all the horrible toxins you received from that 5th Jagerbomb with healthier ones, I figured I would give it a go. And actually it worked pretty well. Having consumed a lot more fruit, I felt much more hydrated and ready for the day. So, as with everything Vegan, there are actually a lot more options available to you, providing you think ahead and don’t rely on impulse decisions. Especially drunken ones.