These Spicy, Life-Changing Soba Noodles Are 100% Worth a Trip to NYC

I have to admit that, for most of my life, I’ve been skeptical of vegan food. Maybe it was the rubbery, cardboard-like vegan mozzarella my mom tried to sneak into our lasagna (I noticed), or the frozen vegan “burgers” she’d stock the freezer with growing up. Maybe it was the fact that I loved meat, fish, and cheese in all its wondrous forms. Or maybe it was this one time when, during my freshman year of college, a girl in the dining hall shamed my friend for choosing bacon and eggs over the soyrizo scramble. Whatever it was, at a young age I had it set in my mind that vegan meant a delicious food (one that I’d normally love) trying to be something it could never, ever be.

This misbegotten attitude persisted well into my almost-adulthood. There were glimmers of hope: a fluffy cinnamon roll that almost fooled me into thinking it was chock-full of animal fats; stuffed mushrooms that were tender and flavorful yet utterly meatless; and the vegan Van Leeuwen salted caramel ice cream that almost made me a believer.