This post is in collaboration with May Wah.
I’ve lived in NYC for almost five years, and even though I’m usually pretty in the know when it comes to most things vegetarian, I only just learned about May Wah Vegetarian Market a couple weeks ago. Why didn’t anyone tell me about this place sooner? Lily Ng, the manager of May Wah, recently reached out to me, and I met with her to learn more about the store and their vegetarian products.
Located in Chinatown (of course!), May Wah is a family-owned market that specializes in frozen faux meat products. From the outside, it looks like many other markets in Chinatown, minus the fishy smell you’ll often encounter in the neighborhood. The interior of May Wah is cheerful and brightly lit, creating a lasting impression as a vegetarian and health market.
Lily’s mother opened the store back in 1995 when New York was not as vegetarian friendly as it is today. Back then, tofu was pretty much the only faux meat option available, which prompted Lily’s mom to import vegetarian products from Taiwan to diversify the market.
Today, May Wah carries much more than just frozen faux meats, but vegetarian meats still remain their specialty. If you’ve spent some time in Asia, you’ll probably recognize many of these products as vegetarian “temple foods”. I’ve had many similar faux meat products while growing up in Singapore, Taiwan, and Hong Kong. My family always celebrated Chinese New Year with vegetarian meals.
Most of the products are sold under the May Wah label. From vegan gizzards to vegan whole fish, May Wah carries any and every type of faux meat you could possibly imagine. They even sell imitation shrimp complete with orange stripes just like the real thing. (I’ll be serving the shrimp with jambalaya for dinner tonight!) Lily pointed out that most of May Wah’s products are vegan, and the ones that aren’t, like the vegetarian egg made of tofu, will soon be fully vegan too.
A solid chunk of May Wah’s business comes from wholesale orders, and Lily mentioned that some of the vegan restaurants I’ve reviewed have been using May Wah’s vegan faux meats. I definitely had a “Ah hah! So that’s their secret!” moment when Lily named a few of my favorite spots. I’m not going to reveal any restaurant names here, but if you’ve made the rounds of the NYC veggie scene, you’ve probably encountered May Wah faux meats before.
Chatting with Lily was a lot of fun as her energy and enthusiasm was infectious. Like myself, Lily is vegetarian and tries to be as vegan as possible. She had tasted every product that they carry at the store and only sells what she believes in and would buy herself. Veganism has become much more widespread in recent years, not just in NYC, but all over, and I’m sure that May Wah will be a popular grocery destination among fellow veggie eaters.
For a first timer visiting the market, the selection of vegan meats is almost overwhelming. Lily generously put together a hefty basket of May Wah’s top sellers for me to taste and review, so stay tuned for a followup post soon. I’ve been busy in the kitchen lately!
In the meantime, try some of May Wah’s top sellers for yourself. Get 10% off your orders of $30 or more with code “NOMNOM10” when you shop online at maywahnyc.com. They ship anywhere in the USA, and this offer expires 4/30/2016. SHOP NOW >>
Note: This post is in collaboration with May Wah. I was invited as a guest to this establishment and received complimentary samples. This was not in exchange for a positive review and all opinions expressed here are my own.