Eating out and travelling on a plant-based diet can often be frustrating. As January passes and some supermarkets and food outlets jump off the Veganuary bandwagon, it can feel slightly disheartening as you leave the ‘honeymoon’ period and fall into the day to day rhythms and routines of your new diet. So, When me and Adam decided to go on a Dutch dash for his 25th birthday, we definitely prepared for the worst. We did some research on food places in Amsterdam which would be suitable and downloaded the ‘Happy cow’ app which scans for nearby Vegan and Vegetarian food places using your current location. We also took two packs of Nutty Nature breakfast bars, bananas and apples in case of a food related emergency.
Tip Number 1: Research your trip by soaking up lots of online content before you board… and always prepare for the worst by stocking up on fruit and plant-based snacks!
The ferry itself does not have a huge amount of vegan options for drinks and snacks, other than the Starbucks where you can pick up a green tea or a lonely pasta pot amongst a mound of cheese and ham toasties. Much to our surprise, the main restaurant did, in fact, have some fantastic plant-based options, including a Cambodian curry and a faux cheese pizza. We had already eaten a feast of sweet potato fries and falafel pita’s at home before boarding, so we had a few drinks in the bar instead of dining on the first night.
Tip number 2: Eat at home before you board – after all, the food is expensive whether you’re vegan or non-vegan!
When we arrived in Amsterdam at 10am the next morning we were both ravenous and headed straight to The Cold Pressed Juicery which we found on the Happy cow app. Here they have a variety of healthy breakfast options from smoothie bowls to hot porridge and overnight oats. They pride themselves on not adding any sugar, preservatives, pesticides, chemicals or any other additives to their products. Inside it’s a cosy atmosphere with options to eat in or grab on the go. We both opted for oat milk cappuccinos and coco porridge bowls with granola, almond butter, coco nibs, chai seeds and banana slices which was delicious and enough to keep us going with a long day ahead of walking along the side streets and canals of central Amsterdam.
Tip number 3: utilise the ‘Happy Cow’ app throughout the day – no-one wants to be scrambling around looking for food-places on an empty stomach!
By about 3pm we were hungry again and decided to try the The Vegan Junk Food Bar which we had seen on Instagram. Inside it was heaving, with people queuing to get in and escape the freezing cold winds of storm Ciara. The menu is a mix of burgers, loaded fries and other delicious fast-food inspired treats with a plant-based spin. Inside the decor is flourecent pinks and blues with a warm, friendly atmosphere were both vegans and non-vegans can enjoy the innovative snacks. Their mission is built upon a ‘love of the planet’ and they have a strong belief that ‘a plant-based lifestyle is the only right ethical option.’ Whilst we decided on our food I ordered the ‘Tipsy Unicorn’ cocktail which is a mix of kettell vodka, blue curaçao, lychee juice, grenadine and lemon.
Tip number 4: try The Vegan Junk Food Bar even if just for a cocktail!
We couldn’t decide between the waffle fries and sweet potato fries… so we ordered both and chose to half a burger because they’re enormous!
Tip number 5: always go for more when it comes to fries!
After much deliberation, we decided on the ‘Daddy Mc Chik’n’ burger, which is a plant-based Mc Chickie patty, with crunchy vegan bacon, vegan cheese and salad inside their signature pink burger bun. Eating at The Vegan Junk Food bar is a mixture of new taste sensations and the quirky atmosphere which creates a brand new eating experience. I only wish we had one in the UK!
Overall, we were really pleased with the options in Amsterdam. There were many other places with plant-based options and next time I’d love to try the vegan version of the famous fritessaus (mayo-fires)! As we waited for the coach back to the ferry we were definitely stuffed and ready to relax after a long day of eating and soaking up the beautiful Amsterdam scenery.
Tip number 5: try to avoid the ferry when there’s an upcoming storm unless you’re prepared for a rocky, sleepless journey – oops!