Aug 25, 2014

Travelling Vegan: Amsterdam

Amsterdam is probably in my top five favourite cities. It has a very cool, young vibe while still being able to preserve the architectural integrity from the past, something we in Bombay aren't able to do so well. The pretty houses that line the canals and the never-setting summer sun will only want to make you find ways to move to this city.

Getting straight to the vegan food now! Amsterdam has its version of Charlie's Chocolate Factory for vegans! Okay, I'm being dramatic. There is a candy store in Amsterdam (aptly called Candy Freaks) with millions of varieties of candy right from chocolate covered fruits and nuts to jelly squares to marshmallows to gummy bears. And a LOT of it is vegan. The owner is a quirky, generous fellow. Before I could even pick what I wanted he made me try all of the vegan candy at the store. And by all I mean I must've eaten at least 20 pieces of candy before I bought my stash. And there was still so much more candy to try. They even have gluten-free, sugar-free, all natural candy. Even if you don't like candy, don't miss this store.

Feels like a dream!

Everything is marked, making it easier to choose.

We had access to a kitchen during our stay in Amsterdam and it made life much more easier. As I mentioned in my earlier post, I was going to attempt to be as gluten-free as possible and I found an amazing gluten-free bread that really didn't seem like it was actually gluten-free. This company makes gluten-free products but all of them are not vegan. It helps if you know some french to read the ingredients. Or you can look up their website and check which ones are vegan friendly. I tried the Ciabatta and the classic white bread slices. If I had to choose, I would ask you to go with the Ciabatta. It was spectacular.

Best GF Bread I've ever had

Look at the holes in the Ciabatta.

We were close to two vegan restaurants and I managed to sneak a meal at both. One of them De Bolhoed, had a great menu which was slightly on the expensive side, but worth a try. I tried their apple pie and a warm bowl of their Peanut Soup with veggies an Tempeh. That was a meal in itself.

De Bolhoed, situated right by a canal

Soup of the day

Delicious Apple Pie

More vegan dessert options

This one looked very tempting too!

The other one called SLA has a mostly organic, vegan menu, I think they only offer cow's milk with their coffee with an option of almond milk. As you enter this tiny place the first thing you notice is their amazing salad bar. I was more than happy to make my own big bowl of salad. All their salad dressings are vegan. I also managed to make space to try their amazing raw vegan cheesecake.

The inside of the minimalist SLA

My Salad

Raw vegan cheesecake

One thing really stood out through this entire trip and that was the amount meat-free meats available in all supermarkets. Living vegetarian or vegan for people who like mock meats was never easier. One company called The Vegetarian Butcher, based in Netherlands, is doing amazing work in the veggie meat business. They have a few vegan options too. I did try the Teriyaki Chicken and it felt too close for comfort. The husband said it was the closest any vegan mock meat had ever got. Not comforting for me, but this makes giving up meat so much easier if your life depends on it.

Closest meat substitute ever!

Doesn't that look really close?!

Here are a few other vegan things I ate.

Raspberry Soya Yogurt

Passion Fruit Sorbetto

Rosemary Baked Potatoes

A simple Arabiatta

Found this locally made chocolate in many stores. This one is dark chocolate.

Some pointers:

  • If eating vegan space cakes is on your agenda in Amsterdam then sadly you won't find any.
  • Get in to a supermarket or even better a 'Bio' store. Lots of vegan options for snacking as you travel.
  • If you can, look for accommodation with a kitchen. It really is a life saver.
  • Download the Happy Cow App. It is a great resource.

Coming soon is my 'kid in a candy shop' moment at an allergy expo in London.

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