Well, hello there.
Hello, 2019. Hello, blog readers. Hello, fellow travelers. Hello, new normal.
I know these past several months we have promised post after post and have fallen through each time. This time, I’m not going to promise when new posts will come up, just that this one is the beginning of a series: Travel Peaks. There will be six posts ranking and detailing various subjects related to our time abroad.
Of course, I had to start with food. Specifically, vegan food. Aside from a handful of situations, we stuck to vegan food while abroad. Some people were shocked when we confirmed that we would continue to eat vegan abroad – “You’ll miss out on so much food!”, was the main reasoning. What we found was that most cities would have a vegan version of a local dish hidden somewhere. Yes, there was a bit more effort to be put in (we couldn’t just wander into a restaurant and point to a dish), but it often led to good conversation. A lot of vegetarian-or-vegan-specific places would be in less touristy parts of a city, so the employees or owners would have more time to chat with us. They would give us advice on other things to eat or little-known places to see.
Here is a list of words or phrases that you may find helpful to translate before you travel somewhere if you are vegan/vegetarian/lactose intolerant. “Please” and “Thank you” are important, in life, but also when asking for something in a language you are not familiar in – more people will be willing to accommodate your dietary needs if you’re kind.
- No meat/chicken/fish, please (Some places do not consider chicken or fish in the same vein as red meat, so it’s important to be specific)
- No cheese/milk/cream, please
- I am allergic to cheese/milk/cream.
- What is in the broth?
- No eggs, please
- I do not eat [insert food name] here.
There was some debate over which won out each category and we mostly came to consensus. Neither of us would budget on Best Burger or Best Dessert, so you get two delicious options. And now, without further ado…
Cheese Burger from Swing Kitchen in Vienna, Austria
Often times when you get a vegan burger, you get a bean burger or a burger obviously made of vegetables. While these can be delicious, sometimes a good dupe on a beef burger really hits the spot. This is one of those burgers. It’s not healthy, it’s greasy and absurdly good. Also, Swing Kitchen has chick’n nuggets that are reminiscent of McDonald’s chicken nuggets, whether or not that interests you.
Notorious Sumo Burger from Vegan Junk Food Bar in Amsterdam, Netherlands
Again, this is deliciously unhealthy. It was messy, as a good burger should be. I’m not one for onion rings, but they added a much needed crunch to this monstrosity.
Unfortunately neither of us can remember the name of this cafe. Not only was the coffee delicious (it was also our first foray in oat milk), but the actual cafe was cozy and a perfect respite from the biting wind. This just gives you good reason to walk around Christiana and duck into cafe after cafe.
Cranberry Biscotti from Florence, Italy
This was a complete surprise. We were frustrated with the lack of vegan options in Italy and just happened across a bakery that had these biscotti labeled. We bought an uneven five (I’m not sure what we were thinking…) and devoured them in twenty minutes while we waited for our walking tour to begin. They were a bit softer than a traditional biscotti, so they were a perfect snack despite not having coffee to dip them in. Seriously, get these and have them in your pockets/purse/bag for while you traipse around Florence.
Cream-Filled Croissant from Florence, Italy
Florence ended up being a delicious foray into baked goods. The first morning we went for breakfast, we were on a bit of a time crunch and exhausted, so when we were offered cream-filled croissants after asking for their vegan options, we just assumed they were incorrect and ordered plain vegan croissants. Later that day, just an hour or so after consuming the aforementioned biscotti, our walking tour stopped at a bakery. We were presented with cream-filled croissants again, this time, we checked with our tour guide and she confirmed that they were vegan. It was one of the most delicious things I’ve even consumed. I’m not usually a “cream-filled” type of person, but I would fly to Florence just for these croissants. Any time I saw them while we were walking in Florence, I would dip in and purchase one. I kept an eye out for them in Rome and the Amalfi Coast, but didn’t see them. I could be unlucky, or they could be only a Florence thing. Long story short, if you’ve made it this far in my sugar ramblings, go to Florence. Sure, there’s art and history and blah blah blah, but go for these croissants, you won’t regret it.
Chocolate Nougat Ice Cream from Spar
I’m slipping this in just because I was amazed that a grocery store brand ice cream was so delicious. It was creamy and vaguely cherry-flavored, but in a nice way, not that medicinal cherry-flavor that some ice creams can have.
Best Grocery Store
iVegan in Rome, Italy
This isn’t a large grocery store but everything is vegan. Kevin had to rein me in as I started picking up every other thing off the shelf. If you’re into vegan cheese at all, this is the place to go. They have the largest selection of vegan cheese and meat supplements that I’ve seen. This was a major savior in cheese-obsessed Italy.
Best Local Dish
Schnitzel Plate from Erbil’s in Munich, Germany
This came with tofu schnitzel, German potato salad, sauerkraut, and salad. I really don’t know what to say about this, other than go eat this and all the other things at Erbil’s.
Loaded Kapsalon Fries from Vegan Junk Food Bar in Amsterdam, Netherlands
I stood in line for these fries for over an hour, took them to go on a thirty minute train ride, and finally ate them after packing at the AirBnB. They were still delectable. Kevin and I had first split them during the same trip to VJFB that we split the Sumo burger and I hadn’t stopped thinking about them after that. There are few foods that I am willing to stand in a line for and these are absolutely one of them.
Three Cheese Pizza from Leonardo Verde in Warsaw
We tried our best not to repeat eating at places while we were abroad, just because we had limited time in each place and we wanted to try as many dishes and restaurants as possible. This was one of the repeats. We had this pizza on a night that we decided to stay in. The “blue cheese” was what sold me. Vegan cheese, in general, isn’t the best substitute to the “real thing,” but finding good vegan blue cheese is next to impossible. Leonardo Verde managed it with some stroke of luck or witchcraft. If you go to Leonardo Verde and want to get multiple dishes, waiting for the lasagne is worth it, as well.
Carbonara from Buddy in Rome, Italy
We had multiple courses at Buddy – not necessarily because it’s a fancy place, but because it was pouring rain outside and they had multiple vegan options that weren’t penne arrabiata or pizza marinara. Their carbonara was what stood out. It was perfectly creamy, slightly peppery, and the “guanciale” was perfectly smoky and rich.
Papa Ramen from Copenhagen, Denmark
You don’t really go to Europe in search of ramen, nor should you. I get that there are cravings though and that’s what led us to Papa Ramen. It was filled with veggies and noodles and the broth was rich and warming. I’m not usually looking for more out of ramen but this was the best of three ramen dishes that we had abroad.
Falafel Salad at Marta’s in Split, Croatia
I promise, Kevin and I eat decently healthy. It’s not just burgers and pizza and loaded fries, it’s just that salads aren’t fun to write about, nor do they usually make any sort of list. This one though, this was scrumptious. It was filling (I hate when salads consist of three leaves and air), flavorful (just because it’s healthy doesn’t mean it’s supposed to be bland), and the employees were fun to talk with. We enjoyed Split over Dubrovnik for a lot of reasons – food was one of them. There were just more options.
Best Vegan Cheese
VioLife Spicy Cheddar
I consider vegan cheese a win when I enjoy it plain. I consumed a worryingly amount of this cheese in the beginning of the trip. We ate a lot of cheese and chorizo (below) wraps on our first several train rides. The best comparison I can think of that I can find in the United States is the Field Roast Chao Tomato Cayenne.
Best Vegan Meat Substitute
Vegane Slices Chorizo by Wheaty
I’m not a big chorizo fan, but these were really good. A little bit greasy, but a good snack to throw in your bag as backup in case you’re not having any luck with restaurants that day.
Let us know if you have any other suggestions in the comments below! Or, better yet, let us know if you’ve tried any of these products or restaurants!
Thanks for sticking with us! There is more to come, stay tuned for the next post in the Travel Peaks series – Best Beaches. It’s winter here and even just looking at the pictures of the beaches is warming me up.
Until next time!
Follow us on Instagram for more daily updates!