black and grey microphone on a stand, behind it is a theatre with multiple stands and red lights



Edinburgh Festival Fringe through a vegan lens

This year is the festival’s 75th anniversary. It is back with a bang after a COVID-induced lull that saw it cancelled in 2020 and scaled back in 2021. The Fringe came into existence when a relatively small group of eight theatre companies took over unconventional spaces to put on their shows. It has grown in size and stature since those early days and this year there are close to 3,500 productions across hundreds of venues. These venues include many unusual spaces in bars, churches, universities, temporary tents and units, and the like. 

While close to a third of the shows are comedy, there is a wonderfully eclectic mix of serious theatre, dance, circus, cabaret, and so much more. If it is not already in your diary, it is running until 29th August so there is still time to plan a trip. Here at V-Land we were fortunate enough to spend a few days in the city for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe’s opening weekend and we wrote about our experience of it through a vegan lens.  


Edinburgh punches above its weight for vegan restaurants and plant-based options. You certainly won’t go hungry given the many tantalising delicacies calling out to be sampled.

During The Fringe there are additional street food vendors hoping to nourish the countless festival goers. Many did have vegan options but it lacked any dedicated vegan vendor. Plant-based haggis, falafel, dumplings and pies were all on offer. The pies were particularly tasty and we tried both of their vegan options; curried cauliflower and mushroom. It was disappointing that the mash contained dairy but we swapped it out for mushy peas and it also came with a generous dollop of tomato relish. The flavour combinations worked really well and the mash was not missed.

When it came to breakfast, we focused on the permanent local eateries. This was a recurring highlight as we sought to set ourselves up for the day’s marathon of shows. On the first morning in Edinburgh we headed to a vegan bakery - Black Rabbit. Their generously portioned ‘BLT’ was complemented with a latte and cruffin. A cruffin is a hybrid of a croissant and a muffin and the one chosen was filled with raspberry jam and custard. From our point of view, a trip to Edinburgh just for food and this custard filled cruffin alone would be perfectly justified.

The second morning saw us make two pit stops. First was waffles and coffee at Love, Peace & Coffee followed by another Edinburgh vegan bakery, Considerit. Considerit specialises in doughnuts but also serves ice cream, chocolate and coffee. The doughnut choices are insane and even include a savoury option. We narrowed it down to the s’more, lemon & black sesame and Biscoff. It’s almost impossible to choose which was our favourite. Our final morning resulted in a visit to the Naked Bakery where we ordered the full Scottish breakfast, pastries and cupcakes. The café’s vibrant cakes and pink theme is more than enough to brighten anyone’s day.

Of course we only sampled a small number of the possibilities so for many more vegan food options across the city check out Happy Cow or the dedicated Vegan Edinburgh listings website.


With a myriad of shows to choose from it was surprising to discover just one that referenced veganism in its listing. The show Chris Hall and Mark Bittlestone: Two Sour Gays describes itself as “A stand-up comedy show about being gay! And about being vegan (Chris), getting piles (Mark), collecting crystals (Chris), getting piles (Mark), being in love (Chris) and getting piles (Mark).” Unfortunately we didn’t get to see the show as it was fully booked. Definitely one to look out for in hope that they take it on tour. 

In a show that features the best up-and-coming one-liner comedians we got to see Adele Cliff. She is the proud winner of the best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe four years running. They were only given a 5-minute slot but during this time she happened to state she was a vegan. Her main show Adele Cliff: In the Dark describes itself as “Knowledge is power, power corrupts, corruption is bad, Adele is good. Come see why Adele thinks ignorance is bliss.” When questioned she told us she does mention veganism in her show but it is only in passing. Of course there will be many vegan performers we don’t know about but it was nice to stumble across one while navigating the plethora of weird and wonderful possibilities. 

Of the shows we did see, veganism was mentioned in quite a few of them. This is obviously a reflection of its increasing popularity as it was not as prominent in previous years. The question is, will any of them be awarded the best joke at the Edinburgh Fringe this year? Here’s a sample from those told for you to decide:

An asexual comedian stated that one of his previous boyfriends was vegan, which actually meant neither of them were a fan of meat.

Another said that many vegans and vegetarians have cats, which just means they outsource their meat consumption.

One called out David Attenborough for preaching about the death of the planet when he isn’t actually vegan himself.

Finally, another said his ex was vegan and put him under pressure to care more but he didn’t even care about his friends so why would he care about chickens.

For further food inspiration in Scotland we have listed our picks of Edinburgh and Glasgow's best vegan food.

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