Sunday, 20 April 2014

iVegan: Taiwan's First Vegan Supermarket


iVegan is a few minutes walk from Wanlong Station

 iVegan is Taiwan's first all-vegan supermarket. If you live in Taipei it's your one-stop shop for all your grocery needs, including fresh fruit and veggies, packaged goods, frozen foods, fresh baking, cleaning and body care products and even housewares.





iVegan opened its doors in August 2013, but I only made it for my first visit in April 2014, a fleeting visit before I left for the airport. I was expecting a small grocery store, but found a large, busy supermarket.




I had just enough time to whip around with my camera and stock up on Taiwanese tea (expensive and hard to find in Japan) and enough green curry paste to last me until I next return to Taiwan. Even in my short and rather limited shopping spree, it was most enjoyable, if a little strange (almost unnerving) to not need to check the ingredients of anything. It just didn't feel right to not have to check the curry paste for shrimp.

iVegan is in the basement of a mostly residential area, but it's well-signposted and just a hop, skip and a jump from Wanlong Station, just six stops from Taipei Main Station on the Green MRT line.

In such a fleeting visit I didn't get to ask the staff much about the supermarket, but the photos and title should speak for themselves/

Organic Foods
iVegan has a small organic selection with a wide assortment of products.




I'd never seen some of these products, like liquid amino acids.

Dairy Alternatives
In the past imported dairy alternatives were difficult to find, except for locally-produced soymilk and tofu. I used to buy imported soymilk from Jasons grocery store (under Taipei 101 and in Hsinchu) but these soymilk outings are no longer necessary.

I used to bring mayonnaise back from Japan.
Indian Foods
iVegan sells both frozen and packaged Indian goods.
frozen Indian foods
packaged Indian snacks

Baked Goods
iVegan sells pizza from Veggie Joy and baked products from Fresh Bakery.

various frozen products, including pizza from Veggie Joy

baked goods from Fresh Bakery.

Cleaning and Body Care Products
All products sold at iVegan are strictly vegan, so far as they don't contain any animal ingredients. However the store takes a pragmatic line on animal testing, since many customers off the street will expect to be able to buy conventional cleaners (at conventional prices) and it's difficult to find out about animal testing, especially of third-party ingredients (which most cleaners are made from) and for locally-produced products. IVegan avoids products from the big companies with the worst reputations (Unilever, Proctor & Gamble etc) and of course they support non animal-tested products as much as possible, but they do sell products from local suppliers as long as they don't contain animal ingredients. The store aims to improve its animal testing policy in the future, and welcomes suggestions on how it can achieve this. I didn't specifically check, but I'm sure there are enough products from reputable vegan suppliers that buying everything non-animal tested would not be a problem.

iVegan has a large variety of vegan (and cruelty-free) body care products.

iVegan Opening Hours
07:00 - 22:00 (every day)
Phone: 02 2935 0900

To get to iVegan take the subway to Wanlong Station (six stops from Taipei Main station on the green line). It's a 250m walk from Exit 1. Car parking is available and according to Google it's about a 20 minute drive from Taipei Main Station.


These signs will point you in the right direction if you get lost.


About Animals 



Near iVegan is a new(ish) bar / restaurant About Animals. While many vegan business choose not to include vegan or animal-friendly references in the name to attract non-vegan customers, which often makes good sense on many levels, it's also refreshing to see a business which does, and nothing can be more direct than the name of this restaurant.

About Animals is clearly run by animal rights activists, and according to its Happycow listing it also serves as a space for activist photography and events. It is probably the place to go to meet animal rights activists in Taipei.




Unfortunately I visited before About Animals opened, but the owner kindly let me see inside. It feels (as much as I could tell while it was closed) like more of a bar than a restaurant, though I'm sure it serves excellent food as well, and look forward to trying it when I'm next in Taipei. When I first came to Taiwan I missed being able to order an alcoholic drink with my meal (as most vegetarian restaurants are run by people who follow religious or spiritual teachings which prohibit alcohol). It no longer concerns me, but if you would like a drink with your meal in Taipei then head to About Animals. You'll probably meet some activists, and you can stock up on your favourite hard-to-find vegan groceries while there. It's quite small, so it's probably better to stock up at iVegan after your meal.



About Animals is also a hop skip and a jump from Wanlong Station, but from Exit 2 (the other side of Roosevelt Rd from iVegan). Unfortunately to get there from the station you'll need to walk past a traditional butcher's shop to get there, and I saw whole pigs heads on sale. Perhaps it's a good reminder for non-vegans to go vegan after they visit About Animals.

About Animals Opening Hours
Mon-Wed, Fri-Sun 14:00 - 23:30
 

View iVegan (vegan supermarket) & About Animals (restaurant) in a larger map

5 comments:

  1. Shared this on my Facebook! Thank you for the tour, I was just in Taipei for few days in early April and realized it was a bit far from the centre! Looks amazing! :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's about time you updated this blog of yours. So glad you did! I'm missing taiwan so much right now. Planning a trip back sometime after summer/ before fall. If you're in town, let me know!! I'm only going to be back for about two weeks before my Fall Semester starts.

    Talk soon!
    xoxo Chia

    ReplyDelete
  3. ivegan is so close to my home. I live in Gongguan...I will go there to check soon!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I shall now enrich your life by sharing with you about dogs for sale uk. There are many factors which influenced the development of dogs for sale uk. Indispensable to homosapians today, there are just not enough blues songs written about dogs for sale uk. It is estimated that that dogs for sale uk is thought about eight times every day by global commercial enterprises, who form the last great hope for our civilzation.

    ReplyDelete