I am the happiest veggie-lover you will ever meet, but my friends often ask me what foods I miss since going vegan. I would be lying if I said there were none, but the foods I miss are not the ones you may expect. Spoiler alert: bacon and ice cream are not on the list.

I have created the perfect mac n' cheese recipe, mouthwatering cinnamon rolls, and flavorful pesto, so I have been able to find great substitutes for classic recipes. I never really liked cheese, so that is not something that I miss at all, and I wasn't a big meat eater either. Even though vegan meat and cheese substitutes exist, they honestly scare me a little bit, so I stray away. This list includes all the items that after over a year I still can't help but think about.

1. Ceviche

ceviche, meat, bread, cheese, fish, lettuce, vegetable, tomato
Jocelyn Hsu

I don't think I will ever find a good substitute for ceviche. I had the best ceviche of my life in Mexico, and I had a favorite Peruvian restaurant in DC that has really incredible ceviche as well. This was my favorite food before I went vegan and always makes me think of the beach. The lemony and fresh flavor is something that I haven't seen recreated in vegan form.

2. Chicken Tenders

Hannah Rote

I know that there are great vegan substitutes for this, but I personally haven't tried any fake meat or chicken. There are too many chemicals for me, so I just stay away. Chicken tenders used to be my guilty pleasure — they genuinely were up on my list of favorite foods — though I did not eat them very frequently at all.

3. Brown Butter

My dad is a chef and he taught me how to brown butter , my favorite trick to add a golden caramel flavor to anything. All you do is warm butter on a pan until it turns slightly brown. This can then be thrown into cookies or even a pasta dish. Yes, even vegan butter is very processed and has palm oil so I try to avoid it.  I don't know if I will ever taste browned butter again.

4. Russian Pelmeni

tea, coffee
Darya Mack

My family is Russian and my grandmother used to always make these dumplings called "Pelmeni." They look similar to tortellini and are filled with seasoned ground beef. Though I can still make them with different fillings, my grandmother doesn't really understand the "vegan thing" so I'll never be able to have the dumplings made by her again.

5. Pho

soup, pho, broth, beef, chicken, noodle, meat
Jennifer Cao

Vegan pho does exist, but it is not very common. Standard Vietnamese restaurants tend to have a beef or seafood base for all of their soups, so pho is no longer easily accessible to me. My all time favorite Vietnamese food that I can still eat though, is summer rolls with tofu.

6. Proscuitto and Jamon

lettuce, cheese, meat, bread, bacon, salami, prosciutto, sandwich, ham
Colleen Dwyer

I wasn't a huge burger or steak fan before I was vegan but I used to adore cured meats. I would have a bit of prosciutto with fruit, olives, and crackers for a perfect after school snack, but there isn't a good vegan option to replace it. (And I don't think I want one.)

7. Eating Anything Without Reading the Nutrition Label

I have to read the ingredients on every single item before I eat or buy it. Picking snacks isn't so quick and easy anymore. At the same time though, I stay more informed on the foods that I eat so that is definitely a plus. 

Overall, the foods that I miss are generally the ones that I have not found a good vegan substitution for. You would be surprised how many substitutes for things there are though, like vegan ice cream, coconut yogurt, and chocolate! Some things, however, like raw fish, just can't be substituted.