Travel as a vegan in Eastern Europe

It wasn’t hard to travel as a vegan in Eastern Europe. The Mediterranean climate produces delicious vegetables and fruits. Grains, nuts, and seeds are easy to buy in most grocery stores. So if you have a kitchen it is easy to prepare tasty, balanced and filling meals. We met some people who never thought about that it is possible not to eat meat. They are used to eat meat three times a day and lots of dairy products. One of our hosts reference: “Debora knows how to cook delicious dishes, although she is vegan :D” Most main cities we visited even have 100% vegan restaurants. Not in Albania and Montenegro though. Budapest and Bratislava are most vegan friendly. Unfortunately it is still allowed to smoke inside most restaurants. Happycow was useful.

“Vegan” Food/Drinks you can find in almost all countries in Southeast Europe:

  • Baked beans. Very tasty especially if prepared together with sourcrout.
  • Ajvar. A delicious roasted bell pepper and eggplant spread.
  • Börek. Baked pastry made of a thin flaky dough such as phyllo or yufka usually filled with minced meat or cheese. In Sarajevo it is called Pita. I had some tasty ones filled with potatoes. In Belgrade I ate Börek filled with mushrooms.
  • Rakija. A fruit brandy popular in the Balkans. The alcohol content is normally 40 ‰. Home-made can be even stronger. In North Macedonia you don’t drink all at once. Even though it comes in a shot glass.
  • Turkish coffee. Black coffee that leaves coffee grounds with this amazing foam. How to produce this foam? After the water boils add the coffee, stir and put it back on the stove until emerges this foam. Quickly turn off the stove. Some restaurants serve the coffee in those beautiful dishes.

Below some restaurants we ate at. I collaborated with all of them. I am free to write whatever I want. Edgy Veggy was the first restaurant ever to ask me to write a positive reference. It wasn’t really necessary 😉 As always I try to choose healthy restaurants. That means no added sugar and healthy oils (e.g. coconut, avocado or olive oil).

Bratislava, Slovakia

Made With Laf

Made with laf is one of the oldest vegan restaurants in Bratislava trying to use as many local products as possible. The changing daily menu for only 6.90€ including soup and main dish is very balanced with lots of proteins, seeds and micronutritions. The raw green peas cream soup is a classic and part of the menu since the opening of the restaurant. Besides the pea soup I loved the red cabbage stew with marinated tofu and potatoes. The bulgur lentil salad with grapes, cauliflower and spicy curry dressing was nice too. Plus we had a delicious cauliflower soup with buckwheat. All together was very filling.

Sofia, Bulgaria

Café Parallel 43°

What an amazing experience. With the motto: “Where is love, there is life.” It started with the probably most delicious chocolate cake I ever ate: Roasted hazelnut crust with a raw cacao, cashew, maple syrup and salt filling. We also had a cappuccino with hazelnut milk and a hazelnut banana cookie. I loved the foam. Most of the minimalist interior design is oak from Bulgaria; even the floor. Water is purified and free for everybody. As a main dish we shared the rice pancake with smoked cashew cheese, avocado, green leaves and tomatoes and the green hummus with spinach, mint, hemp seeds, and homemade spelt crackers. Half of the menu is vegan, the other half vegetarian.

Edgy Veggy

A vegan restaurant that serves burgers, french fries, salads, hummus, and burritos. We had the tempeh burrito with veggies and seeds and the veggy burger with a homemade gluten-free bun, quinoa patty and veggies. The tempeh burrito was my favourite. Chris loved the homemade mayonnaise. It was a very nice experience. The staff and owners are very warm-hearted and hospitable. They also serve very delicious beer. We tried the ginger and the lemon beer.

Belgrade, Serbia

Vegessence restaurant

If you visit Belgrade please visit this restaurant. Ana, who welcomed us, is super sweet 🙂 She lived in Belgium for some years where she organised among other things vegan potlucks. When she came back to Belgrade she realised that the vegan community is not very big (yet) and the awareness for less waste is almost non-existent. So she and a friend started a delivery service last year with bicycles and reusable glass boxes. Since the demand was so big they opened a 100% vegan restaurant 5 weeks ago. I love that they use cloth napkins and metal straws and try to produce as less waste as possible. Their chef is incredible talented and he is doing an excellent job at the food presentation with green peas herbs. We had a lentil-tomato and a miso soup. As a main dish a yellow curry with tofu, sweet potatoes, seasonal veggies, and basmati rice from the menu and stuffed zucchini with pumpkin seeds, oats, and a béchamel dill sauce from the daily changing menu. Both was incredible delicious, satisfying and healthy (no added sugar and spelt flour). As dessert: tiramisu and brownies.

Budapest, Hungary

Menyország szíve Bio Bolt Organic Health Food&Coffee Shop

This wonder woman left her home country Malaysia 20 years ago. Since then she travelled and lived all over the world where she is cooking for people healthy vegan meals as economic as possible. The first two years she started her little restaurant in Budapest in 2015, where she cooks all by herself. She didn’t make any profit. But she told me that her customers are like her own children who always come back. Because of the love she is spreading. If it wouldn’t have been closed on Saturday we would have gone back too. It was so tasty and filling 🙂 The food is a fusion between Malaysia, Latin America and Hungary. She doesn’t use any garlic and onions but lots of spices, herbs and only brown sugar. And her husband? He follows her wherever she goes 🙂

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