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What can vegetarians eat at Vancouver's arenas and stadiums?

Ranking Vancouver arenas based on their vegetarian options.
Sports food vegetarian
When it comes to vegetarian options at Vancouver sporting arenas, not all are created equal.

Most of the time it feels like vegetarian and vegan options have come a long way. A food writer once told me that back in the 90s vegetarians just wouldn't get invited out but now we have entire high-end and fast food restaurants dedicated to our dietary preferences. So things are better.

That is until you arrive at a sporting event or festival and realize that anything other than meat was an afterthought. Hot dogs and burgers are quintessential sports foods and stadiums make a name for themselves with crazy imaginative versions of the classic bites.

In recent years Vancouver venues have also started to diversify the kind of cuisine they offer by bringing in sushi, poke, poutine, and pizza - which is great - but meat still plays a factor in the majority of the dishes.

Here's a look at how the stadiums and arenas in Vancouver stack up when it comes to veggie options. Candy, fries, and soft pretzels, while vegetarian, don't really cut it, they would be on the menu anyway and don't constitute dinner.

Here's what you can eat as a vegetarian and local Vancouver sporting arenas because, you know, we like sports and concerts too.

Rogers Arena

Rogers Arena has 18 restaurants serving the 18,910-seat venue, serving hand-carved sandwiches, seafood, poke, and gourmet hot dogs, to name a few. The vegetarian menu, which is conveniently posted on their website, has eight options that don't fall into the snack category. Grilled cheese, Impossible burger, veggie dog, cheese pizza, chopped noodle bowl with tofu, veggie poke, veggie poutine, and veggie gaucho are all available, which means that most of the food places have at least one vegetarian option on offer. Some of these options can also be made vegan if with simple modifications, like removing the sauce. 

Nat Bailey Stadium

Nat Bailey Stadium is famous for its 3-foot hot dog and has recently introduced tater tot poutine and a menu of rotating sandwiches to represent visiting teams. In terms of veggie options, there is a veggie dog that seriously has the taste and texture of a real hot dog. In typical west coast fashion, Nat Baily also offers sushi and has sushi mascots that race during the games. So there is a veggie sushi option too. Otherwise, vegetarians are left with nachos, fries, and mini donuts and have to watch their friends eating Philly cheesesteak.

BC Place

BC Place is perhaps the best arena for vegetarian food if only for the Mac Bar which serves up gourmet mac and cheese bowls. Even some of the add-ons are veggie-friendly with options like sweet corn and cheese curds. There's also cheese pizza from Commercial Drive Pizza and tofu dogs from Dawson's. Vegans are also represented with exciting eats like Chana Masala Curry or veggie samosas by Bombay South Asian Kitchen. Or for those who are healthy even at sporting events, there's the Super Happy Power Bowl from Boom Kitchen which has tofu, butternut squash, chickpeas, edamame, tomato, and marinated slaw served on brown rice and quinoa.

super-happy-veggie-bowl
The super happy veggie bowl at BC Place. BC Place

Pacific Coliseum

It wouldn't be a true Vancouver stadium without a Triple O's. The Pacific Coliseum Triple O's shares the venue's food scene with Pizza Pizza and a traditional concession stand which serves up hot dogs, popcorn, and donuts. There's also a selection of fresh-made sandwiches but Pacific Coliseum couldn't comment on whether or not they were vegetarian when I phoned. So vegetarians are pretty limited for options with veggie burgers, cheese pizza, and standard concession snacks.

The Doug Mitchell Thunderbird Arena

UBC has a really thriving food scene with lots of exciting places on campus that are worth checking out. Sadly that doesn't translate over at the university's sporting arena which doubles as a concert venue. Thunderbird, named for the school's sports teams, has a pretty standard if not understated shall we say concession situation. It serves the drinking crowd at a concert or sports game more than the eating crowd. You can find burgers, fries, and some candy bars but that's about it. As a vegetarian and UBC alum, I'd recommend hitting up Jamjar Canteen, Tacomio, Kinton Ramen, or even Brown's before heading to the arena which is a seven-minute drive or 18-minute walk away from these places.