Going to the San Diego Zoo is like going on an exotic adventure to another land. Africa, China, Australia, and even the Arctic! The San Diego Zoo is 100 acres of wonder. In addition to the collection of world famous animals on display, there seems to be music everywhere, along with live shows to entertain. And the food … lots of delicious food. But if you’re vegan you probably know how difficult it can be to find something that fits your lifestyle. We’ve done some exploring on eating vegan at San Diego Zoo. This is what we’ve found so far.
With a plethora of restaurants at the zoo not all have vegan options. Some however have selections you can order without any changes, and some give you the opportunity to switch it up vegan.
Just to the left inside the entrance gate is San Diego Zoo Sandwich Company. The menu includes Hummus and Pita Chips, Spicy Jalapeno Hummus and Pita Chips, Seasonal Fruit Cups and a Vegetarian Signature Sandwich that you’ll need to order without cheese. I spoke with Tim who explained that the Sandwich Company can mix up a salad that would be vegan as well.
So far we found Hua Mei Cafe to be the most vegan friendly. You’ll find the cafe in the midst of the Asian Passage at the head of the Panda Trek.
We dined on delicious Vegetable Chow Mein. David and I shared an order, since we also ordered a few other dishes. But I’m here to tell you … next time I don’t want to share!
David and I also shared the Garden Veggie Burger. The bun that it comes on contains egg, but you’re able to ask for it wrapped in lettuce instead. Add the fresh slice of tomato and it’s perfect!
We also added an order of Hua Mei Fries to our meal. Tossed with Hua Mei Cafe’s unique Asian seasoning, the fries are delicious without any dips. You’ll probably not want to have the Cucumber Wasabi Ranch Dressing that comes with the fries since it contains buttermilk.
Hua Mei Cafe also has Chilled Edamame with a sprinkling of kosher salt. It doesn’t get a whole lot better than that!
Right smack at the entrance to the Outback is Sydney’s Grill. Again, there’s a good selection of food but not much for the vegan. Because the salads are pre-made the make-it -vegan-as-you-go option is limited.
There is however a fabulous fresh Fruit Salad. Just look at it! Is your mouth watering like mine still is?
We’ll add more options as we find them on future visits to San Diego Zoo. Just remember to always ask and make sure selection ingredients haven’t changed. You can always ask to see “The Book.” In it you’ll find the ingredients for each item on the menu. Usually ingredients like egg, milk, soy and nuts are in bold print.
Give the giraffes a big hello for me and …
~ The Nitty Gritty:
What: Vegan Eating at San Diego Zoo
Where: San Diego Zoo – 2920 Zoo Drive, San Diego, CA
Type: Counter service
Park Hours: Summer hours: 9am – 9pm. Restaurant hours vary.
Vibe: Safari Casual
Website: San Diego Zoo
*We’ll continue to update the vegan options at San Diego Zoo and add photos as well.