Amsterdam is one of Europe’s most popular cities. In 2016 more than 15 million people were reported to have flocked to the Netherlands’ capital. For some it’s the readily available coﬀee shop products that entice them to Amsterdam, for others the rich history and beautiful architecture is the biggest draw. One thing is for certain, this is a city with a lot to oﬀ er. There is so much to do here and so much to explore.
As we reach the apartment that we’ll be calling home for the next four days, I clock the huge health food supermarket a few doors along from our front door, and decide to make that the first place to visit. It’s always a relief once you realise that you’re going to be able to eat plant based food when you arrive in a new city, so walking into Marqt to find many recognisable products from home — but also an array of new products that had a vegan label on them — was great to see.
We had four days to spend in Amsterdam. For me, that equated to four days of trying to eat as much of the scrumptious plant based food on oﬀ er as possible. We quickly searched for some of the most recommended vegan eateries and made a food plan for that day. All other plans could be arranged around food!
There was only one place to start — The Dutch Weedburger Joint. The company state on their website that they hope to “create a paradigm shiﬅ ” where eating plant based food is the new normal. With an ingeniously named restaurant, designed to reference the legalised cannabis culture that Amsterdam has become notorious for, this vegan fast food heaven sells healthy junk food, made from nutritious seaweed and plants, and is packed
full of flavour.
Trying to choose from a menu that sounded mouth-watering from start to finish was tough, but we eventually narrowed it down to three meals — the café’s Wish ‘n’ Chips (small, fishinspired bites of satisfying goodness), the Dutch Weed Dog (a finger-lickingly good hot dog) and the brand’s flagship Weed Burger.
It is rare to find a restaurant where you can try three diﬀerent meals and love them all so much that you’re not sure you could choose which of the three you would want next time, but that’s exactly what happened at The Dutch Weedburger Joint.
One of the things that sets plant based food apart is that you can almost taste the careful consideration and thought process behind every ounce of flavour cooked into the food. When you’re trying to impress everyone from resolute meat eaters to hungry vegans, there is no room for blandness. The Dutch Weedburger Joint delivers an attack on the senses that you won’t forget in a hurry.
After such a strong start, the rest of Amsterdam’s vegan scene had a lot of catching up to do. A trip to the TerraZen Centre — a restaurant that feels more like eating in your grandma’s living room — did not disappoint. Located near to Dam Square, the intriguing menu blends Caribbean and Japanese influences to provide oodles of flavour. As for the moreish breadcrumb coated fries? Truly triumphant.
The beauty of finding vegan options in Amsterdam is that planning is not a necessity. As we strolled around the beautifully symmetrical buildings and maze of canals that make up the city, the word vegan pops out of restaurants and cafes at every turn. Down one street, vegan pancakes are on oﬀer at The Happy Pig Pancake Shop, down another the juice bar Juice Brothers stocks a freezer of refreshing, coconut-based ice creams.
The indulgence didn’t stop on the third day of our trip. Taking a walk through the picturesque and vibrant Vondelpark on a gloriously sunny Sunday, we made it to the aptly-named Vegan Junk Food Bar. You know a
place is going to serve great food if it is slightly out of the city centre, yet still jam-packed with hungry foodies.
Another stop on the vegan tour and another soaring success, it was becoming clear that the plant based chefs of Amsterdam know their way around seasoning and great sauces to match. The highlight of eating at Vegan Junk Food Bar was the meat-free take on the traditional Dutch side dish of bitterballen. There is nothing more disappointing than missing out on a traditional delicacy because it’s not plant based, so getting a fun basket of
bitterballen complete with a mustard dip was a surprise treat.
It may be easy to go to Amsterdam and spend your time spoiling yourself with burgers and comfort food, but there are still a whole host of healthier options available. Stop oﬀ at the macrobiotic café Deshima for soups and salads, or the raw food café Zest for Life which serves gluten-free pizza, sugar-free desserts and plenty of other nutritious delights.
It is no exaggeration to say that the food eaten across this weekend in Amsterdam was not only some of the best plant based food I have ever eaten, but some of the best food ever. You could spend weeks in Amsterdam and never have to eat at the same place twice, but once you’ve tasted some of the food choices in the Venice of the north, all you’ll want to do is return again and again.