My top 10 favorite vegan dishes in Antwerp (and one more)
A few years ago I read this article by Mark Bittman, food journalist and columnist for the New York Times. He looked at how a vegan lifestyle can help reduce cholesterol and blood sugar problems and wrote a book for people who think they can't stick to a complete vegan lifsetyle: the VB6. You eat vegan food before 6pm and the evening meal can be non-vegan in moderation.
Reading this gave me the motivation to try as often as I can to incorporate more vegan food in my life. Like Mark Bittman I will never be a full-time vegan but I am more and more seeing meat and cheese as delicacies and I don't have them every day anymore. One of the efforts I made this last year is to try a vegan choice when it is on the menu or to meet up with people in places that serve vegan food. Luckily for me those places are now super trendy and have an ever-growing selection of tasty and flavoursome food combinations.
Below I made a selection of vegan food I like in my hometown Antwerp. It is a personal choice with the tasty factor as the main benchmark. As you can see my love for sweets (which of course you should also eat in moderation too) and Asian food is well represented in the list! What is your favourite vegan dish? And what should I really try next? Let me know on my Facebook page, I am always looking for new vegan food adventures!
Vegan Lebanese croute at Broers van Julienne
Vegan is having a moment now but The Broers van Julienne have been around for 20 years, pioneering with vegetarian food in Antwerp. Everything is veggie here and they also have a nice selection of vegan choices. One of my favourites I like to get there is a tasty combination of bulgur, ratatouille, sweet potato hummus, sunflower seed cream and herbed tomato sauce, the Lebanese croute. Bursting with Middle Eastern flavours this is my healthy take away option on days I don't feel like cooking. Be aware the selection of quiches and cakes in the window display will make you hungry!
Vegan doughnuts at Hoeked Doughnuts
Everybody has been raving about the vegan doughnuts at Hoeked Doughnuts. They are only available on Friday and Saturday, but vegan lovers know it is worth the wait! This is the perfect vegan sweet for those days you need a special treat. There are two flavours: one dusted in sugar with a cherry filling and one with vegan icing on top. Just like the other flavours in the shop they contain no colorants or additives, yes it is a healthy vegan doughnut!
Vegan Pizza at Standard
Pizza is the answer to everything! and the new pizza place to be in Antwerp is located on the ecological foodie site of Pakt. This sustainable and green conscious oasis in the city centre attracts food spots that reflect the same mission and values, honesty and durability. At Standard you get the most scrumptious crispy pizzas and they are super healthy. They pick the herbs fresh from their own roof gardens and the pizzas are made with made with organic and seasonal ingredients. The sourdough pizza base is the best I have ever tasted outside Italy. Next to the cheese and meat pizzas there are two vegan topping versions.
Vegan fries at Frituur Ellen
I live in the land of 'frietjes'. You can't be Belgian and not love fries. But what does the vegan Belgian eat? Frituur Ellen has the solution: you find vegan sauces and vegan side dishes like 'kroket' and 'bitterballen' and your fries are made in 100% vegetable oil. Thumbs up for the 'frietjes' and really friendly service too when I was there.
Vegan spring rolls at Doi doi
Thank god nobody ever took a video of me rolling a spring roll. It is like the fight of the century. I keep on struggling with the rice paper and am not giving up and the result always looks a bit bruised and battered. Deepest respect for the spring roll rollers who make them perfect, like here at Doi Doi, the Vietnamese street food bar in the centre of Antwerp. The spring rolls are the real thing here and their vegan version bursts with healthy colours! (the bahn mi is divine too, but not vegan of course ;) ) You can eat them sitting in the funky neon and pink interior or have a take away when you are in a hurry like I was. Also try the vegan noodle soup and vegan salad of the day!This is a 100% organic and vegan coffee bar in Antwerp and they have a fine selection of vegan cakes every day. The cheesecake was yummy! I picked the matcha latte because green looked good on the photo (yeah, Instagram nerd that is me) and it was such a discovery I had it again the next time I was there.
This is vegan heaven for the young and trendy. Divers is one of the best spots in town to get an energizing and nutritious breakfast or lunch. Everything on the menu is vegan. There is a fine choice of smoothie bowls and acai bowls, salads and soups, but I always go for the avocado and hummus toasted spelt bread, with a turmeric almond milk latte for extra colour on the table. There are only a few seats and they are almost always full, a good thing they do take away too!
If I would be a full time vegan I know that cheese would be the one thing I would crave all the time, so good news: there is vegan cheese that actually tastes good. At vegan restaurant Récollets the compact menu has also a croque monsieur with vegan cheese. I heard the vegan danish pastries for breakfast are great too.
Vegan cheese croque monsieur at Récollets
Vegan rice noodle salad at Pho 61When you eat Asian food there is never a doubt that a plant-based diet is bland and boring. This rice noodles salad with tofu is bursting with flavours. There are no specific vegan dishes on the menu but they can make some of them vegan for you. Pho 61 is great also if you are looking for a place to meet up with friends, colleagues, they have two floors with lots of space.
Vegan burger at GreenwayAt Greenway everything is vegan friendly, also the aioli veganaise on the black bean burger. Right in the centre of Antwerp, easy place to meet up. The menu features wraps, salads and curries and three delicious plant-based burgers.
Vegan raw cheesecake at DelhaizeThis one you can get outside Antwerp too in every Delhaize. I discovered it a few month ago at a bloggers event and have been putting this in my shopping basket a few times since. The lime & mango version is my favourite guilty pleasure in the supermarket. It is also gluten and lactose free and looks very pretty with the flowers on top!
Addresses (all in Antwerp):
De Broers van Julienne
Regine Beerplein 1 (PAKT site)