Top 5: Vegan Musikfest Food 2016

musik cover

For a list of even MORE vendors, take a peek at our 2014  Vegan Musikfest post, with a  walk-through of the entire fest. Most vendors are still here in 2016!

>>Vegan Guide to Musikfest 2014<<

And for more Lehigh Valley + Eastern PA vegan things, check out:

Top 5 Vegan Musikfest Foods 2016

1 . VEGAN TACOS – Ticas Tacos, near Volksplatz, North Side

fest 2

Hello, lover. Unofficially touted as “The Best Food of Musikfest 2016” by vegans and non-vegans alike, if you only get one stop, make it Ticas Tacos. This is fresh, thoughtful food with a ton of flavor. The standard vegan taco comes with: black beans, hominy, sweet plantain, pickled red onion, pineapple pico, and chipotle vinaigrette. Order one or ten, sold individually at 4 Tickets ($4) each.

Order Tip: Can also be made into a large BURRITO. Or ask for vegan “loaded fries”.

2. KIMCHI REUBEN (vegan) – Bees Knees Grille, near Volksplatz, North Side


Marbled rye toasted in coconut oil, hugging spicy small-batch kimchi, tempeh, melted vegan cheese and a little vegenaise for added creaminess. Served warm, sloppy, and delicious. This is an average size sandwich (not HUMONGOUS like much of the Musikfest food), but it’s delightfully messy and most importantly, quite tasty. A great meal that won’t leave you so full you can’t eat something else later. More snacks > less snacks, yeah?

Order Tip: Ask for it made vegan! They have dairy cheese, too, so be specific. 

3. CHOCOLATE DIPPED CHEESECAKE – Zuzu Confectionary, near Volksplatz, North Side

fest 3

This is a yummy slice of vegan cheesecake on a stick, dipped in dark chocolate, with options for added toppings like sprinkles or peanuts. Cheesecake is made by the talented and lovely Sweet Doe Bakery, so obvs. it’s delicious! This stand has a ton of vegan options, though, so check out the gourmet popsicles if you’re not feelin’ creamy chocolate on a piece of wood.

Order Tip: You can order with or without chocolate and extra topics are $1.

4. AW SHUCKS CORN – North + South Sides, Multiple Stands

fest 1

Leave it to a bunch of folks in Pennsylvania to be ENTHRALLED with corn. Eating this (and anticipating it for a year) is a ‘Fest rite of passage. This typically smothered-in-dairy snack is easily made vegan if you ask for it. Go see what all the fuss is about, and prepare to see more social media comments on your photos of CORN than photos of your children.

Order tip: No butter, no cheese. The other spice is vegan!

5. ISLAND NOODLES – North + South Sides, Multiple Stands


Carby thick noodles and veggies all stir fried together in a massive wok, with lots of sriracha on the condiment bar. Add as much as you want (all of it?). These are easily accessible no matter where you are inside the ‘Fest. They travel well if you need to use up food tickets, as the cardboard container folds up and closes for a BONUS SNACK later.

Order tip: Veggie with no meat.



I don’t have photos, and anything with a “*” means it should be vegan but haven’t asked them personally, so just check in. Let us know if you find out, mmkay?

South side Mentions!

  • CHIPS & GUAC – Cactus Blue, near Steelstacks by Americaplatz/Levitt Pavillion
  • *CHICKPEA POPCORN – Fud Truck, on street by Americaplatz/Levitt Pavillion

North Side Mentions!

  • SAMOSA EMPANADAS –  Viva Empanada, Plaza Tropical
  • FROZEN APPLE CIDER – Sweet Granny’s Kettle Corn, near Volksplatz
  • *SMOOTHIE IN A PINEAPPLE – Island Expressions,  Festplatz

Remember to check out:

More updates will be made as Musikfest continues, so check back!

Thanks to the Artsquest Marketing department for being so darn nice, and helping me scope out the vendor list. I hope you get to treat yourselves to some tacos.




vegan musikfest.jpg   Disclaimer: Before we get into the best places to spend your food tickets at Musikfest 2014, I need to mention that this is meant to be helpful and fun. But PLEASE TAKE RESPONSIBILITY for your food – it never hurts to double check if cheese comes on a sandwich, or if a sauce is dairy-based. If someone puts ranch dressing all over your portobello wrap, please don’t be a jerk and write me an angry email about how I’m misleading the masses and my work is a sham and I’m the World’s Worst Vegan (if you do, it will promptly be deleted). Okie dokie?

That said, if you have any tips about how to order something, or found food worth mentioning, please let me know! As of now I haven’t eaten everything listed and made notes where needed, but I’ll continue to update this post as I make my way through the end of the ‘Fest. Your help and info is appreciated.

Likewise, if you take any photos of your food, send them to me and I’ll post them! You can find me here:

twitter | instagram| facebook

*Twitter is best, and I’ll be using hashtag: #veganmusikfest

vegan musikfest plan.jpg

This list goes in geographical order, starting at the corner of Main + Broad Streets, down Main St., down the walkway behind the Hotel Bethlehem to the bottom (near Volksplatz), past Festplatz  and Plaza Tropical (moving toward Sand Island), over the bridge to the Southside and following 1st Street to Steelstacks (Main Stage and Americaplatz). You can get a map here, or download the Musikfest app which is GREAT and very helpful.

This list focuses on the things I think are most worthy of your Musikfest tickets, and does not include items you can easily find all over the Fest, like french fries, slushies, fresh lemonade, portobello wraps, and grilled veggies in various forms (wraps, sandwiches).

 STATIONS CAFE: Main Street next to the Brew WorksA small cart with handmade soft pretzels from their larger storefront (right behind the cart, which does offer vegan options on a regular basis). These may be the most delicious soft pretzels you’ll ever have, as they are made with coconut oil. Sometimes they have pretzels with fresh baked jalapeno slices on top. Carb heaven.

Soft pretzels made with coconut oil.

STATIONS CAFE: Soft pretzels made with coconut oil.


MEDITERRANEAN PLATTER STAND (?): Bottom of the hill near VolksplatzFalafel, hummus, tabouleh, stuffed grape leaves, and variations of all of the above sold in pita sandwich or platter form. *Make sure stuffed grape leaves are without meat. Order without tzatziki sauce.

MEDITERRANEAN PLATTERS: Hummus, Tabouleh, Falafel, Grape Leaves

MEDITERRANEAN PLATTERS: Hummus, Tabouleh, Falafel, Grape Leaves

BEES KNEES GRILL: Bottom of the hill near VolkzplatzOH MY GOSH! VEGAN GRILLED CHEESE. Hot sandwiches with fresh ingredients, including a TEMPEH + KIMCHI REUBEN with vegan cheese. Also vegan mozzarella, pesto, tempeh, arugula, avocado, & tomato on rye bread. They toast them using coconut oil instead of butter.

*Plus we want to give a big internet/real life hug to these folks who saw the need for more vegan options THANKS TO ALL OF US (high five!) and came up with awesome vegan versions of their sandwiches. Go here. Go here. Go here.

BEES KNEES: Tempeh and avocados and arugula.

BEES KNEES: Tempeh and avocados and arugula.

Vegan grilled cheeses from Bees Knees Grill. Messy and delicious.

Vegan grilled cheeses from BEES KNEES GRILL. Messy and delicious.


CACTUS BLUE MEXICAN: Near Volkzplatz – Their beans and rice are vegan, and they are happy to make vegan versions of burritos, tacos, salads, or chips + salsa and/or guac. The guacamole is DELICIOUS and you can score fresh chips + a huge pile of guac for $6/6tickets. They have “walking tacos” which are deconstructed tacos in a to-go container. Tasty and filling. Friendly locals.  (Also a Southside location.)

CACTUS BLUE: North and South sides. Tacos, beans and rice, lots of guacamole.

CACTUS BLUE: North and South sides. Tacos, beans and rice, lots of guacamole.

ZUZU CONFECTIONERY: Near Volkzplatz Gourmet popsicles that are vegan, nut, and soy free. Flavors include Pineapple Basil, Orange Coconut and Chocolate Sea Salt, among others. An upscale and more budget-friendly treat.

ZUZUS CONFECTIONERY: Gourmet allergy-friendly popsicles

ZUZUS CONFECTIONERY: Gourmet allergy-friendly popsicles

ISLAND NOODLES: Bottom of the hill behind Hotel Bethlehem – The ol’ standby. These are vegan soba noodles stir-fried in a huge wok with fresh veggies. The condiment table includes bottles of sriracha, so load up. (Also a Southside booth.)

ISLAND NOODLES: Stir-fried soba noodles with veggies

ISLAND NOODLES: Stir-fried soba noodles with veggies


SPIRAL FRIED POTATO, somewhere, not sure where: Erin sent us this picture of a whole potato cut into an edible slinky then fried and covered in spices. I’ll be on the lookout for this to find the location, but in the meantime, it exists!

Somewhere in Musikfest you can get a fried slinky potato

Somewhere in Musikfest you can get a fried slinky potato

CASA DE JORGE SALSA (“THE SALSA GUY”): In Handwerkplatz, the section for crafters and makers, behind the Hotel Bethlehem – Not a food vendor, per se, but George is a nice local guy and makes unique varieties of salsa. He was happy to tell me he stopped using honey and now uses agave for sweetener, so nearly all flavors are vegan. You can sample his salsas and buy several to take home. If you’re up for a challenge, try his infamous “Stupid Hot” salsa and he’ll take a picture of your face as you regret your decision and put it on the Facebook page. Bonus: say hello to CHLOE THE SALSA DOG! 

CASA DE JORGE: "The Salsa Guy" locally-made salsas, and you can pet a dog

CASA DE JORGE: “The Salsa Guy” locally-made salsas, and you can pet a dog

BETHLEHEM DAIRY STORE: Near Plaza Tropical – A decent selection of locally made flavored ice. Imagine a cross between Rita’s water ice and sherbet. Nothing fancy, but it’s tasty and refreshing and a good option for kids.

BETHLEHEM DAIRY STORE: Locally-made flavored ice

BETHLEHEM DAIRY STORE: Locally-made flavored ice

Rodale’s Mack Truck Cafe: At Steelstacks at the Levitt Pavilion/Americaplatz – Organic + local, Rodale operates this space YEAR ROUND for Levitt Pavilion shows, and Musikfest. The best choices are the veggie wrap with tofu, and the handcut sweet potato fries.

RODALE: Veggie tofu wrap and handcut organic sweet potato fries

RODALE: Veggie tofu wrap and handcut organic sweet potato fries

*CACTUS BLUE and ISLAND NOODLES (see above) also have second locations at Steelstacks on the Southside.

.     .     .     .     .

Not part of Musikfest, but worth mentioning:

THE JOINT is a coffee shop on North Side, just off Main Street in the Sun Inn Courtyard/Leiderplatz, that serves great coffee and has almond milk and usually a vegan soup and/or sandwich of the day, like a tofu bahn mi or chickpea salad (info on Facebook). During Musikfest they are serving up roasted chickpeas, and tater tots with a bunch of locally-made hot sauces, $2/each. Great people, vegan-friendly, much love.

THE JOINT CAFE: Vegan sandwiches, great coffee, roasted chickpeas for $2

THE JOINT CAFE: Vegan sandwiches, great coffee, roasted chickpeas for $2


SHANKARA is an all-vegan organic juice bar and eatery on the Southside a few minute walk from Steelstacks if you’re in need of health-focused and always delicious fusion food. You can get fresh juices, intensely creative organic meals, and Sunday Brunch. If you’re having dinner, reservations are recommended. (Call or text: 484.330.6405) Always-updated info on the Shankara Facebook Page. Honestly, it doesn’t matter what you order, it’ll be amazing.

SHANKARA: All-vegan all the time. Organic juice bar and fusion food.

SHANKARA: All-vegan all the time. Organic juice bar and fusion food.

Remember, I’d love to see your photos or hear your recommendations. I can update the list all week.

 Use hashtag #veganmusikfest 

Happy Festing, eat well!    xo Jaime K

VEG FOOD AND MUSIKFEST 2011: You Won’t Starve!

Among all the turkey legs and gyro meat spinning six feet in the air, there are some vegetarian and vegan meals to be found among the Musikfest vendors.

This this is in no way comprehensive – you can find fried things all over the place so I didn’t highlight the obvious stuff (french fries).

Overall, I found that the areas that have the most veg-friendly food are Broad Street around the Boyd Theatre, Main Street, and the area down the hill right behind Hotel Bethlehem. Once you’re down the hill but start moving under the bridge toward Plaza Tropical, you’re options get limited to mostly aforementioned fried things.

**As of the time of this post, I haven’t been in the kid’s area or to the vendors around the back of it, so I’ll check that out soon. In the mean time, if there’s something great over there that I’m missing, please let me know!

On Broad Street, there is Hello Burrito open for business as usual (look for the guy at front handing out 10% off coupons!). Most burritos start vegetarian, and can be made vegan upon request. Something new is Istanbul Grille, mediterranean food that is very inexpensive: grape leaves 2/$1.00, falafel, etc… And it looks like a brick-and-mortar restaurant is coming soon.

Istanbul Grille, Broad Street

Main Street has a good amount of offerings, as all the usual restaurants are open, plus a lot of food stands. The Tiki Bar is hard to miss with it’s bright decorations. Here you can find almost 20 different kinds of fresh smoothies, as well as soft pretzels. (*Ask for pretzels to be made without butter. They can do it for you no problem, especially when there isn’t s huge line of people.)

Tiki Bar, Main Street

Across from that, Stations has a stand set up for their organic soft pretzels that are VERY TASTY. They have a brick-and-mortar business in the Main Street Commons, and will also be vending at VegFest. Show some support!

Stations, Main Street

Keep an eye on Main Street for Take-A-Taco, serving vegetarian quesadillas (and I’m sure they’d leave the cheese out if asked). In front of Johnny’s Bagels you’ll find veg*n gyros, veggie burgers (not sure if these are vegan), and falafel.

Thai Thai II, one of my favorite local restaurants, also has vendor food in front of their place on Main Street. EVERYTHING they are serving is vegetarian. I stupidly forgot to ask if their food includes eggs, so I don’t know if it’s vegan or not. I’m hoping so, because nothing is over $5 (cash only, no tickets here) and they have pad thai and drunken noodles. I LOVE DRUNKEN NOODLES. SO MUCH. (They don’t actually have alcohol in them for my straight edge buds.) Also spring rolls and edamame.

Thai Thai II, Main Street


Don’t miss the little gem hiding at the Sun Inn Courtyard, just off Main Street. There you’ll find the always pleasant and wonderful Gail of The Back Door Bakeshop with her awesome vegan black bean brownies! She’s great, local, and cooking up some new vegan recipes in time for VegFest. If you’re really lucky, the fabulous Dina Hall will be there too when she’s not playing a show.

Thanks for feeding us, Gail!

Once you get down the hill behind the Hotel Bethlehem, stay to the right if you’re hungry. You’ll find the vendor offering pickle on a stick (not fried), which is a mere dollar but the pickles are tiny. It’s still fun to eat them off a stick, though.

What may arguably be one of the other biggest veg-food saviors of Musikfest is Alando’s Kenyan Cuisine, just look for the giant zebra. While their restaurant on Main Street is open during Musikfest, at their booth you can pick up some awesome lentil samosas (make sure you get the spicy pili pili sauce on the side!), and vegetable masala wraps (ask for no Ranch dressing). 

Alando's Kenyan food

Stroll around and you’ll also find Chan’s chinese food, with veggie lo mein. There’s also a Greek Food stand with grape leaves, a hummus platter, and spinach pies (not sure if they have cheese or not).

Greek Food

If you get over to Steelstacks, there is a bright shiny star of food stands on that campus too. Cactus Blue mexican food is very vegetarian and vegan friendly. And more than that, it’s really important to them to be a veg-destination. One of the owners, Liz, is one of my former college professors. She told a story about her vegetarian mother having such a hard time finding food as Liz was growing up, people always wanting to give her mom chicken or fish as a “vegetarian” dish. So when Cactus Blue opened their restaurant, they made sure that everything (except a blatant meat dish) could be made vegetarian or vegan.

Cactus Blue Mexican Food, Steelstacks

Beans and rice are free of animal products and broth, and they have yummy fresh salsa and my favorite, a variety of hot sauces to use. You can get this tasty plate of rice and beans for $5 worth of tickets.

Cactus Blue dinner, $5!

I’ll continue to update this post as you or I find things to add to it, so don’t be shy about sharing your favorite places to grab some food, and photos are great too. Happy Festing!

STK Guide to MUSIKFEST 2011: Bethlehem is a Giant Free Concert for 10 Days

Hello, one million people.

For those of you living outside the Lehigh Valley, here’s the thing: My little town of Bethlehem, PA becomes a MASSIVE MUSIC FESTIVAL every August. It’s 10 days long, (mostly) free performances, has over 10 stages (called “platzes”), food and art vendors everywhere, AND for those of you who imbibe now and again, you can drink beer, wine and alcohol in the streets.

If you live downtown (I do), you can gripe about finding parking in front of your house and how annoying the mobs of teenagers are. Or you can shift your perspective and take advantage of the fact that you get to see free live music from across the country (and the world, in some cases) and join the party!

 It’s true that I’m not familiar with 90% of the bands. But to help you out, I’ve poked around online to find some highlights. Not sure if you’ll like them – I’ve been into jazz and bluegrassy/old-timey stuff in the last year – but if you are wandering among the masses, here’s a guide to what musicians sparked my interest the most. EVERY ONE of these performances is FREE!

*NOTE: Please grab a Musikfest guide or check the website for platz locations. Also, check out the bands yourself online since it’s a lot of work to come up with descriptions of them. All are intriguing, but the bands/musicians in bold are REALLY FANTASTIC! Like, I’m sort of mad that I didn’t know about them earlier. Or, if you don’t go you are missing out and you can’t ever complain about Musikfest.


  • 6pm: Frankenpine; Main Street Bethlehem
  • 7pm and 8:30pm: Sarah Donner (opened for Lisa Loeb last week); Air Products Town Square (Steelstacks)
  • 9pm Deigo’s Umbrella


  • 2:30pm Moonshine Society; Plaza Tropical
  • 5:30pm Love in Stolkholm; Levitt Pavilion (Steelstacks)
  • 6pm Great White Caps; Plaza Tropical
  • 7pm Trouble City All Stars; Volksplatz
  • 7pm Dina Hall and the Backbeat; DBA Liederplatz
  • 10:30pm Jim Tews – StandUp Comedy; Musikfest Cafe (Steelstacks) Comedy not free, but worth it


  • 3:30pm Freak Owls; Main Street Bethlehem (ALSO 8pm; Lyrikplatz)
  • 5:30pm Parkington Sisters; DBA Leiderplatz
  • 7pm The Headers: DBA Leiderplatz
  • 10:30pm Panic Years; Air Products Town Square (Steelstacks)


  • 5pm blueVENUS; DBA Main Street
  • 6pm Bellflur; Plaza Tropical
  • 9pm The Low Anthem; Levitt Pavilion (Steelstacks)


  • 7:30pm Cheers Elephant; Plaza Tropical
  • 9pm: Sweetback Sisters; Leiderplatz


  • 5pm Joshua Popejoy; Leiderplatz
  • 5pm Massy Ferguson; Main Street Bethlehem


  • 5pm Daisy Jug Band; Volksplatz
  • 6:30pm Cello Fury; Air Products Town Square (ALSO at 8pm, same place)
  • 7pm Trailer Park Troubadors; Volksplatz
  • 10:30pm The Big Dirty
  • 10:30pm Pat House – StandUp Comedy; Musikfest Cafe (Steelstacks) Not free but GO IF YOU CAN, HE IS SO GOOD


  • 1:30pm Float Parade: Volksplatz
  • 5pm Exter vs. Kimock; Main Street Bethlehem
  • 6:30pm Lunic; Air Products Town Square (ALSO at 8:30pm, same place)
  • 9pm Brother Joscephus & the Love Revival Revolution

Please check out the girl in this video the Love Revival Revolution – oh my gosh!!!


  • NOON Bronze Radio Return; Plaza Tropical (ALSO at 5:30pm)
  • 5pm Rosie Burgess Trio; Leiderplatz (also at NOON, Main Street Bethlehem)
  • 9pm Start Making Sense; Volksplatz TALKING HEADS TRIBUTE, OH MY GOSH AMAZING AND LOCAL!!!!
  • 10:30pm Chip Chantry – StandUp Comedy; Musikfest Cafe (Steelstacks) Paid show


  • NOON Kagero; Main Street Bethlehem
  • 5pm Zaire; Main Street Bethlehem
  • 9pm Up the Chain; Lyrikplatz

I’m going to work on a guide to vegan food once I get there and check it out. PLEASE let me know if you have any tips on vegan food, and photos would be great, too! You can post them on FACEBOOK and I’ll add them to a blog post!