Vegemax, Helsinki

Last week we ended up having an unplanned dinner at the vegetarian fast food place Vegemax, which is situated on Pieni Robertinkatu 2-4. We were in the city and passed the place, so why not go and try it out?

I expected the place to have mostly vegetarian foods and only a few vegan alternatives, but they actually have around 50/50, with one vegan menu and one vegetarian. I had their vegan kebab with sweet potato fries, and R had seitan in coriander sauce with baked potatoes. Both our plates cost 10,50 €, which was one of the most expensive foods they had on the menu. They also serve different kind of burgers and salads, and you can order fries separately, just like at any other fast food place.

vegan kebab and sweet potato fries

coriander seitan and baked potatoes

I liked the food – sometimes it’s nice to get to eat fast food also as a vegan – it was enough to make me full without making me feel stuffed and the taste was good. It was not too greasy and I liked the fact that you got the food with several different types of sauces.

The place itself is very small and if it’s full, like when we arrived, it feels quite crowded because you have to sit so close to the other guests. When we were there all the other guests happened to be eating alone and the place was very quiet, so we felt awkward to be the only ones talking. However, the place was very clean and nice looking, unlike many other fast food places.

Maybe there will be a next time, if I’m in the mood for fast food some day. Vegemax is open Monday to Thursday at 11 am to 8 pm, Friday 11 am to 10 pm and Saturday 12 noon to 10 pm.

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Is it vegan?

Changing old habits is always hard, and taking the step towards becoming vegan is no different. It’s hard to know what to cook instead of your old favorite dishes, which cosmetics are animal-friendly, or which fabrics you should avoid when buying clothes. Finding the vegan alternatives in the jungle of products is confusing and might seem overwhelming. On top of that people around you are most likely questioning your decision.

All in all, becoming vegan is not easy. But it’s worth it – for the animals, the environment and your own health – and there is a lot of information out there to help you on your way. Here in Finland we have a great website that lists most of the vegan foods sold in normal grocery stores (click the picture to get to the website):

Vegaanituotteet

Apart from listings of most of the vegan foods, the website also contains different lists that can help you as a new vegan (or even as a long time vegan!), such as a list of animal-friendly cosmetics, and lists of non-vegan E-numbers and ingredients. The website is kept up by an individual person so it’s of course not perfect and all available vegan products are not necessarily mentioned. For example, the website doesn’t contain products sold in organic food stores or other specialized stores. However, it is still incredibly helpful for anyone living in or visiting Finland, not only for you as a vegan but also for your families and friends. Giving them this link might help them to know what to buy when they want to treat you for a meal or a coffee, but they are unsure what you will eat.

The website is of course in Finnish, but there is a short summary in English under the link “In English”.

Do other countries have any similar website? It would be interesting to know!

Vegan food in the Netherlands

I’m sorry for the absence. I haven’t had time or inspiration for blogging lately, there’s just so many things going on right now. I might tell you about some of it soon.

Me and R went to the Netherlands, to Amsterdam and Nijmegen, for our anniversary. This is a post about the food we enjoyed (and the ones we did not enjoy as much), maybe I’ll post something about the rest of the trip later, but I make no promises.

falafel

When we arrived and had finally got to rent some bikes and found our hotel, we were starving. So we had falafel for lunch at the closest Maoz Vegetarian (there are several of them in Amsterdam), which was just fine, even though it left me a little too full. I liked the fact that you could fill it with the veggies of your choice, and you could refill it as many times as you wanted.

 vegan platter tofu paté and toasted breadOur favorite restaurant during our stay in Amsterdam was a vegetarian restaurant called Bolhoed. Even though they served some foods containing milk and eggs, they had a lot of vegan alternatives. On our first visit we shared their vegan dish of the day (the first picture), which was a really great mix of different foods. The second visit I had a tofu paté with toasted bread and a salad, which I was also very contented with.

 vegan cranberry cheesecakeAt the same restaurant they also had a bunch of different desserts and cakes. Since vegan cakes is not exactly something you can buy anywhere in the small town where we live, we had to taste at least a few of them. All in all we had three different ones. Our favorite was definitely this cranberry cheesecake.

hummous salad and fresh breadOne evening we visited what I read is Amsterdam’s oldest vegetarian restaurant; Golden Temple. I liked the interior in the restaurant, it gave a quite cozy feeling. The fact that the owner’s dog was walking around the restaurant did not make it any less cozy either, but I guess not everyone would find that to be a good thing. I ended up eating a hummus salad with fresh bread, while R had a similar salad with feta cheese (which was not vegan). I would have liked to try out their vegan pizza too, but we did not have any time to go back again.

asparagus saladWhen in Nijmegen, we had lunch at a restaurant that did not have any vegan dishes on their menu, but they were happy to make me something off the menu. They asked me what was ok to use for making the food, and I ended up getting an asparagus salad which was just fine for me.

Once we also ate lunch at TerraZen Centre, which turned out to be quite a disappointment.  The food was alright, but nothing that we could not have made just as well ourselves, and the owner was very busy since he was the only one in the café at the time.

For sure we missed some great places to eat, several of the ones that seemed interesting required reservations, which did not really work for us when we had no real plan for our stay. But we had great foods anyway, and all in all a great stay (with some negative happenings too, but you can’t ask for perfection, can you?). We saw a lot of things and met a lot of nice and energetic people.