Finding vegan food when traveling: HappyCow

When we are traveling to different places I usually like to look up the available vegan and vegetarian restaurants before we go. If I can eat in a vegetarian environment, why wouldn’t I? Plus I like to try out different kind of vegan foods in different places.

happycow logo

To find the restaurants I usually use the site happycow.net, where you easily can search for vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian friendly restaurants, as well as stores, in a city or area that you are interested in, pretty much anywhere in the world. You just type in the city you are looking for in the “search”-field and click the search button. The different alternatives will show up on a list as well as on a map, distinguishing between the different types of places (vegan, vegetarian etc.). You can also filter the results according to the type of restaurant, price class and distance.

When you click on the restaurant’s name it will show you a short description of the place, its address and opening hours and its price class. It will also show you where it is located on a map. Most places also have reviews and pictures from people who have been there, which can be really helpful in choosing if you want to visit the place or not.

I suggest you try it out for your next trip, or even for finding new places in your own city! I have found a lot of places here in Helsinki through HappyCow, that I wouldn’t have found otherwise.

Silvoplee, Helsinki

The vegetarian restaurant Silvoplee was first opened in Helsinki in 1999. Now it has recently moved to a new location at Toinen linja 7, just next to the Hakaniemi metro station. The restaurant serves mainly raw, but also cooked foods, in a buffet style where you pick what you want on a plate and pay by weight. Some dishes contain honey or dairy products, but most of the dishes are still vegan. They also have a separate smoothie bar/café and sell some organic food stuffs.

We have visited the place twice, the first time in the end of February, and the other time just recently. The first time we went there for dinner, the second time for lunch. At dinnertime there were several empty tables, but at lunch the place was really full. The atmosphere in the restaurant was pleasant, even when it was full, the interior is nice, bright and somehow peaceful.

silvoplee

The food was a nice experience, the buffet table was longer than I expected and I had to take only little of everything both times, since I wanted to taste all the different dishes. Above every dish there was a note listing its ingredients in Finnish, so knowing what is vegan or not was not a problem for me. The buffet table had some dishes that were the same both times we visited, such as the salad buffet, but some of the dishes change daily.

The food costs 22,30 euros/kilo, and if you choose to also have soup that one costs 17,30 euros/kilo. The price includes bread and fresh water. The times we have went there my food has cost 10-13 euros, while R’s food has been a little more; 15-18 euros.

silvoplee

I really liked the place both times, the food is good-looking and fresh, you get full without feeling stuffed. Of course there were dishes that didn’t fit my taste, but most of them were really good both times and I have found some favorites among those that they seem to have all the time. We are definitely going back again, probably several times.

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.

Eating at Vegana

A few days ago we finally had time to visit Vegana here in Vaasa and taste their food.

They serve a lunch buffet that costs 9,50 € (includes a salad buffet, warm food, bread, water and tea). For one euro extra you can also have soup. You can also have take-out from the buffet table, you just pick what you want to have into a box and pay by weight.

When we came there I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of food, because I’m so used to being able to eat just a few dishes in a buffet. Most of the food was different types of fresh vegetables and salads. The warm food of the day was oven roasted vegetables and a creamy spaghetti with pieces of soy protein. They also had several different types of bread as well as three types of vegetarian salami.

vegana lunch

I had a little scare when we read the ingredients of the different salamis and one of them had eggs, since I had got the understanding that the place was completely vegan. We had to ask about it and make sure that the rest of the food was vegan, which it fortunately was. So if you go there as a vegan, check twice and ask if you’re not sure about the ingredients!

Apart from the restaurant, they also sell food stuffs. I did not have time to check so closely what exactly they were selling, but at least different types of lentils and beans, soy milk and yoghurt, vegan cheese, bread etc.

The food was good – simple and fresh – and I’m curious what else they have to offer, so I will definitely go back some other day.

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.