For my boyfriend and I, food never became a problem for us during our stay in Amsterdam. I’ve been a few times before with family as we have history, friends etc there so I wasn’t too clueless. If you’re Vegan you’ll know the struggles too well of going places that have little to no options for you, if you’re planning on going there any time soon this might be a good helping hand.
Stocking Our Apartment
So when we got there, the cupboards were stocked with herbs, plenty of pasta, rice, passata etc which are the perfect basics for bases of meals.
Luckily we had an Albert Heijn straight across the road so we stocked up on flour (for pancakes etc, cornflakes, a loaf of bread, fruit & veg (big bag of spinach, chopped onions, tomatoes, mushrooms, apples, bananas etc) then Alpro soya milk, over there they have this amazing ‘Red Fruits’ version which is TO DIE FOR. We often made pancakes consisting of just that milk & flour. They also do flavoured yoghurts in cartons which would be great with fruit & granola. They have a selection of meat substitutes too but beware as some have dairy, I would suggest you download the app Duolingo and scrub up on some basic vocabulary or make a list of words you’ll need, especially for talking to staff or checking ingredients (like dairy, meat, vegan etc). Their own brand of chocolate spread is vegan also! We also indulged in some vegan meats & cheese from The Vegetarian Butchers which we used in stir frys, curries & pastas, but I’ll go into detail about it later.
Make sure you know where you want to go, if you have any places in mind, I used the Happy Cow website, TripAdvisor and Vegman are great (they’re on the app store too which is super helpful when you’re out and about). I wrote down a list of every place I wanted to visit, used google maps to find out how to get there and did it! We usually had lunch out, then at night came home and cooked dinner then chilled or went for a wander which was convenient and it worked out great money wise too.
So it Begins
For the plane we had some snacks (Vegan Stroopwafels bought the day before from Real Foods in Edinburgh) but seeing as the flight was so short we never got round to having them & they provided as good snacks throughout the week.
Our first stop (literally before we even got to our apartment) was Vegabond, an all Vegan wholefoods store/cafe. They stock an amazing amount of chocolate, energy bars, frozen foods like Fry’s & Amy’s Kitchen and also various condiments like Mayo, liquid aminos, nutritional yeast, bread, lots of gluten-free & organic goods, the list goes on! We went there twice throughout our stay. I bought one of each of the Go Max Go bars which are pretty spot on (I’d say a lot nicer) duplicates of chocolate bars most of us have grown up with, e.g Snickers, Reese’s, Mars bars. They are available to buy online and in some stores but bearing in mind are slightly pricey (but worth it for a treat IMO). Ilia bought soya whipped cream (the scooshy can type) and a Mahalo Go Max Go Bar.
When we first stopped by we were starving since we had been running on coffee fuel since 5am. I ordered sesame seed coated rice wraps that were filled with veg & sprouts and Ilia had wraps filled with apple, tempeh etc, we both had hot apple drinks to go with them. The second time we went we had almond lattes. Overall the staff are lovely, chilled & helpful, the seating area is great, lots of magazines & leaflets, boho esque little cushions & tables all next to a large window overlooking the canal, perfect little spot to grab some lunch and people watch. (There’s also a cool friendly rasta dude that works as a chef there, always see him chilling smoking a zoot outside – Ilia)
The next day on our way to Waterlooplein we popped into Candy Freaks which is a speciality candy store catering to everyone, including vegans, gluten-free, intolerances, also the majority are natural and organic! (You can also order online as they ship worldwide!) Everything is clearly marked out on the label of the boxes and you can help yourself and do your own pick n mix which was lovely and nostalgic for me.
We stumbled upon a Bagels & Beans Cafe right in the middle of Waterlooplein Market, this is a chain primarily in Holland I believe that specialise in…you guessed it, Bagels! You can choose ones off the menu or create your own down to the very type of bagel, they also do soups, salads, muffins, herbal teas & coffee, fresh juices, check out the menu if you’re interested. The staff pride themselves in being as helpful as possible and they were all so welcoming and friendly, the lady serving us gave us the version of the menu that shows what items are SFV. So we had a bagel each with various fillings & soy caramel lattes, this meal was a big warm hug on a very chilly day.
Later that day, on our way home we stopped by The Vegetarian Butchers and picked up some faux meatballs, bacon bits, chicken pieces & a bag of vegan cheese, which were delicious and we used throughout the week for dinner in various pasta dishes, curries & stir frys. It all came to around 13 euros. There was a pretty big selection and you could sit down for something to eat, it really was set out like a traditional butchers, pretty minimalistic but it’s a statement place which I like.
Sumo & Home Cooking
The next day was pretty chilled, we stayed in most of the day as we were pretty tired and just wanted to relax! So we made pancakes for breakfast using the fruity alpro milk which we had with fruit, jam, etc (It was pancake day too!) A delicious Carbonara style pasta for lunch that I made using almond milk, truffle oil (found in the cupboard and is now a staple for me, transforms any dish!) onions, garlic, mushrooms, spinach & a cut up Primal Hickory Smoked Meatless jerky strip and seasoned to taste, alongside a red pepper salad. Later for dinner we ordered Sushi from a chain called Sumo through Just Eat, we ordered; the Veggie set (22 pieces; seaweed maki, avocado maki & cucumber maki and 4 tofu nigiri (originally 2 tofu & 2 omlette but we requested for it to be swapped, also 2 seaweed gunkan, 10 mini spring rolls and a seaweed salad. I also made a stir fry using beansprouts, pak choi (both seriously cheap from a local asian store), spinach, spring onion & mushrooms with soy sauce, chill, ginger & peanuts. There was also a bottle of unopened Sake in the fridge from the last people renting the place so that was nice. I also found some Vanilla Ice Mochi desserts which were amazing, I’ve heard many chinese/japanese stores stock them worldwide also in flavours of green tea matcha, chocolate & strawberry!
On Wednesday we were heading to SLA, I had high hopes for this place and had been admiring its quaint/simple/urban feel interior and it’s beautiful salad bar on their website for days leading up to going and it did not disappoint. We ordered a soup each I ordered Broccoli which was made with spinach, coconut, ginger & lime and Ilia had Forest Mushrooms made with celery & parsley, both came with some spelt bread and there was a large jar of unlimited cucumber/lemon infused water which was free. We got a salad bowl to share and filled it with spinach, lambs lettuce, beetroot & apple, mock chicken, tomato, sunflower seeds & pine nuts (I’ve probably missed some things out) but it was so so delicious and filling and kept us going through the day. At first I thought it was pricey but the portions were great, food was excellent quality & the overall experience was lovely, oh how I wish they’d come to the UK.
The last place we ate out at for dinner was De Bolhoed. I had been here before over a year ago with family and I loved it, the food, atmosphere, the decor, the fact that there was a cat strutting back and forward through the cafe. This place is on the pricier side but it is all organic, natural and good quality wholefoods being used. It’s the definition of soul food. I ordered a mushroom lasagna with a salad, and Ilia had a cheesey cauliflower broccoli lasagna with a salad & bulgar wheat, to follow up we had soy lattes. Left feeling very happy and satisfied, was a lovely last visit.