May Wah Vegetarian Market

  • Vegan-store Veg Store
    ( 12 reviews )

213 Hester St (at Chinatown), New York City, New York, USA, 10013

All vegetarian food supply store. Here you will find all the mock meats used by restaurants. Buy in-person or online. Most products are vegan. Open Mon-Sun 9:30am-8:00pm.

12 Reviews

First Review by Poundie

Dream come true - Edit

I've known about this place forever and when I finally got there, I was amazed at the variety of faux meats (gizzards, anyone?) and vegan Chinese offerings ( wheat buns, etc.). The prices are quite reasonable. Will be back when I have an ice chest!

Pros: Interesting choices, good prices

Cons: Lots of the shelf stable stuff was not gluten free

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Carnivores Will be Duped - Edit

For a small market this place packs a big punch. For the reviewers who deducted stars because there was one or two things they didn't like, or because the mock meats were not healthy enough for them, there is no way they tried the over 60 types of vegan meats they sell and meat substitutes are NOT a health food...they are designed to imitate something that is not healthy, and their products do just that.

Highlights include citrus spare ribs in the frozen section (meat eaters and vegans alike will absolutely swoon over this), as well as "fish ham," which is wrapped in seaweed and looks like a huge sushi roll and tastes incredible. Another highlight is the beef jerky, which my meat-eating friends love so much, they are considering becoming vegan just based off of this one product. Their frozen bacon is also ace.

I've been shopping here for 2 years and recommend it to anyone who wants to cook awesome vegan meals, especially for meat eaters.

Pros: tons of options, inexpensive , great location

Cons: none

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May Wah where fake meat dream are made - Edit

The review below that says that May Wah is "the source" of faux meats is not lying.... this is seriously where a great majority of faux meat products from vegan restaurants come from. I know because my husband and I like to try to recreate dishes we love, and a friend of ours that works at a vegan Asian restaurant gave us the down-low... "go to Chinatown" she said ;) .

So we did and were amazed. Yes, the store is tiny (this is NYC remember) but good god do they pack that place full of goodness. The employees are also very sweet and informative... they let you browse without breathing down your neck, but are always around to answer questions.

I try not to eat a lot of faux meats, but when I do May Wah is where I go. FYI, I believe that like 98% of the products are vegan, but be careful, some items (I think) are vegetarian. Just double check the ingredients.

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NYC's vegan meat secret - Edit

I wish I had known about this market before moving out of the city. They have a HUGE selection of fake meats, and also offer a membership discount for frequent shoppers. And if you're not in NYC, they also do web orders!

Pros: Vegan & healthy, House-made

Cons: Hard to sample, if you're unsure what you like

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May Wah! - Edit

One of my most missed places since leaving NYC! It is truly a necessity! It specializes in vegan (and a couple vegetarian) meats from Asia, and is quite big and expansive considering that's 99.9% of what they sell - just visit their website and you'll see the breadth of items which are only a limited selection of the items available in the actual shop. They are really affordable and a great alternative to the expensive American brands you find in the average supermarket. The quality exceeds the typical Western manufacturers vegan or vegetarian meats in my opinion. The stuff here is the same type they use at Red Bamboo (the restaurant) on West 4th Street. Though, in the 5+ years that I shopped at May Wah, I never got around to testing every last thing they sold - yet I did try most. I liked the vegan salmon the best. I also liked the vegan golden fish filet, the mushroom-based beef, the black pepper chicken steaks, rib tips, tuna, etc. The staff are very helpful, honest and usually enthusiastic to make suggestions. I'm glad to hear they're still going strong!

Pros: One of a kind shop, Low prices, Big selection

Cons: Sells a couple vegetarian items

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was expecting more - Edit

When I read the reviews I expected a big selection... Considering there are few vegan/vegetarian markets the selection was good. But I felt lost on what's good or not. I tried the two different "wings"... Made with sugar canes chunks... They were not at all appetizing. I was able to sample the "half chicken" while I was there and thought it tasted good. I haven't cooked it yet though. I was surprised they didn't have bean curd sheets, an item I read could make the fake wings I love from red bamboo soooo much.

Pros: half chicken

Cons: chicken wings, smoked wings

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The Same Analogs Restaurants Serve, But Cheaper - Edit

If you are in NYC, whether living here or visiting, and you are vegetarian or vegan, you owe it to yourself to visit this market. It is the mother lode of vegan meat analogs, and pretty much every type of Asian mock meat can be found here, everything from mock beef, chicken and fish to more off-beat offerings like mock lobster, crab and even salmon. I have been shopping here for years and have grown very fond of certain products more than others. The Citrus Spare Ribs and Lemon Chicken are highly addictive, whereas the vegan fish sticks, while a nice try, pale in comparison to the Gardein Golden Fishes Filets, in my opinion.

A few caveats: although the package labeling has gotten much better over the years, the preparation directions are still somewhat vague, so my suggestion would be to prepare many of the products as you would their regular meat counterparts. Some of the products are delicious on their own, heated up right from the package, while others could use some veggies or a simple black bean sauce, or some other type of sauce.

One word of caution: a few of the offerings have egg (or at least did have egg), but everything is very clearly marked, so you shouldn't have a difficult time finding vegan offerings, since almost everything in the store is vegan.

Aside from the frozen and refrigerated selections, they also carry vegan Asian condiments and sauces, vegan Ramen noodles (I know, not very good for you, but still nice once in a while) and lots of vegan noodles and other Asian staples.

All in all, if you're looking for mock meats, most of the same ones the Asian restaurants serve in Chinatown and all over the city, there is where should should go. You'll save a lot of money, the staff are very friendly, and you'll be able to cook some of these same restaurant dishes at home.

Pros: Lots of variety, Inexpensive, Friendly Service

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A substitute - Edit

We did not visit their store but came across their products at a vegan rally happening in Union Sq. They gave us free bags to take away and try- we had basil chick'n and orange chick'n.
They were alright and went well as part of a stiry-fry type meal, the orange was a bit too much for me- a bit sickly.

I know we also got a bag of 'ready to eat' pieces or jerky to snack on- I wasn't a fan of these I'm afraid, but they may be great for other who like jerky type foods!

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The"SOURCE" got fake meats - Edit

Been a customer of May Wah for years, they have a large selection of imported mock meats. Most are frozen and travel well. Many of the stuff they carry is no vegan, but it is clearly labeled and the staff is very helpful. If you have eaten any mock meat dishes in NYC or beyond there is a good chance they came from May Way

Pros: Large Selection, Friendly, Knowledgable staff

Cons: Lots of non-vegan items, Parking tough in area

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may wah - Edit

The four large bags of veggie meat we got ($155.00) turned out to be high in an oily fat. The Vege Pepper Steak has 735 mg of sodium per piece (3" x 2" or 165 grams/5.75 oz). They state it as 245 mg per 1/3 piece. Rarely does one find a USA made veggie tv dinner (10+/- oz) or a burger with so much sodium. Having bought low-sodium, dried soy protein chunks, we know that sodium isn't high in the plant. Although, food processors often claim it is. There is 11 grams of protein in a piece. The label does not state that oil is added, which we believe to be a labeling law violation. We found the only way to lower the fat was to boil the mock meat and pour off what oil we could. There will always be more oil left in them. Mah Wah's veggie meats are unlike the texturized soy protein made in America. There is much more of a fiberous texture. Often the meats look like tofu skin was compressed into a shape.

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Great stuff, great variety - Edit

Everyone knows MayWah rules. We used to order huges boxes to be shipped to Boston. Now I buy stuff when they come up for the BVS Food Festival, or stop in when I am in NYC.

The fake meat is so good, some restaurants use it. The Citrus Spareribs will blow you away. Same with the Salted Chik'n, Gong Bao, etc. Buy the "veg meat steaks" and cut them up for stir-fry or do absolutely anything that you would do with a piece of boneless chicken with them. My favorite thing (and really a bargain) is the giant "tube" of "smoked ham, chicken flavor." I cut it into cubes for the most incredible vegan Chicken pot pie or chicken salad.
They do not claim to be health food, but I think most of the stuff, while maybe a little high in fat, is pretty healthy. The website is much clearer than it used to be in terms of what is vegan and what isn't. And if you go to the store, Lily or one of the guys will help you out!

Pros: Variety, Prices, Helpful staff

Cons: Shipping, if you aren't in NY

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Lot's of chinese vegen food - Edit

There is lot's of chinese vegetarian food here at a reasonable price. But a check of the ingrediants will show that most of the food is laden with chemicals and not particularly healthy.

Pros: Nice variety, much here tastes good, good price

Cons: Not healthy

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