I meant to write this a while back, but here I am, one day before the new year and the beginning of Veganuary. Urgh. If you’re going vegan this January, for a month or forever, I promise to try and do things ahead of time and manage my time better. Not that it matters to anyone but me.
I took advantage of being back in my old neck of the wood to check out what was happening on the vegan and vegetarian food scene in Montreal. I was super excited to see that most of my old fave vegan restaurants in Montreal were still alive and well, and even more excited to discover that there were quite a few newcomers, making Montreal one of the most vegan-friendly cities I’ve lived in – not far behind my beloved Berlin. Being vegan in Montreal seems to be the hip thing to do right now and I am really not complaining! So without further ado, here is what I think is the best of Vegan Montreal!
Berlin. Vegan. They. Have. It. All.
It’s taken me the best of the last three years to wrap my head around all the vegan options in the city and I’m excited to finally present you the best of everything. Just for you guys, I’ve eaten my way around the finest vegan kebabs, burgers, donuts, cakes… in fact, just pick your favourite food. I’ve probably eaten it in Berlin. The problem with spending three years trying to eat all the vegan food is that it’s such a vibrant scene, it’s constantly expanding. I keep thinking I’ve eaten everywhere, then overnight another five incredible vegan places appear.
Who hasn’t fallen prey of either totally over-packing and not wearing half of what they brought or, at the other end of the spectrum, feeling way too utilitarian and backpacker-ish for a fancy little city break? I have definitely done both. As a seasoned backpacker, I tend to fall in the latter category most of the time, but I do like to feel stylish when I’m city-hopping in trendy capitals. Do you think it’s possible to look sort of trendy-ish yet comfortable AND pack in a carry-on luggage? I like to think so! I’ve done a fair bit of city-hopping these past years (and there’s more ahead, stay tuned!), and this is my tried-and-tested packing list of the moment. I’m a pretty neutral-shade type of gal, and in this specific case, it makes sense to pack that way, because everything will fit together. Hurray for keeping it simple! Get packing!
It can take a while getting your bearings on in Siem Reap, I totally get it when people said they didn’t like their time there. It’s easy to fail to see the beauty outside of Angkor Wat if you wound up on dusty old Pub Street, amidst drunk tourists and pushy street vendors. But scratch the surface a bit and you’ll discover a town where social projects and vegan restaurants abound. A place I would 100% call home if I had the luxury to still be nomadic. Siem Reap is also emerging as one of the newest most affordable hotspots for digital nomads with great cafes and hostels, as well as very convenient visa options. Travel there with your Cambodia visa ready and keep reading to discover the best hostels in Siem Reap, ranked and researched. Whether you are a solo backpacker or five-suitcase family, Siem Reap has a home for you.
Let’s start by stating what’s obvious. I’ve been growing roots in Berlin over the past three years. To a point where I’m now ready to call this damn gorgeous crazy impossible city my home. There once was a time when the thought of having all my belongings fit on the back of my bicycle was reassuring — that way I could push the eject button and ghost at any opportunity. But something, I’m not sure when, shifted.
I started buying plants. I got a second-hand sofa and started chilling on it for the simple enjoyment of being home. I started fermenting stuff. I even got a goddamn dressing gown. Me. A dressing gown.
Remember Myst, the 90s computer game set in a beautiful fantasy world where you could get lost in the different “ages” and discover all sorts of magical stuff for hours on end? Well, ladies and gentlemen, I am here today to tell you that I have found the island of Myst: it is in Bangkok, Thailand, on the bank of the Chao Phraya River in what is dubbed “The Green Lungs of Bangkok”. Not only that, but it also has an enchanted tree house where I got to spend a few days – an eco-friendly project crafted out of sustainable and reclaimed materials amidst the jungle, a mere seven or eight km away from the downtown core of Bangkok.
Bangkok is possibly the city I commuted through the most during my time in Asia, yet I haven’t really talked about it much. I love Bangkok. And I love how vegan Bangkok is – just search for the little red on yellow “jay” flag at the entrance of cafeteria-style Buddhist eateries. These are convenient and cheap and sometimes delicious, but their emphasis isn’t on health and great ingredients – most of the time you’ll find MSG-laden overcooked slop. What really started exciting me, as well as all the fantastic rooftop bars in Bangkok, is the sheer quantity of hip, health-minded and vegan friendly or even vegan-only eateries that offer a slightly more upscale dining experience and deliver an extensive and exciting range of cuisine putting forth quality organic ingredients and innovative cooking styles.
If you follow my Instagram, you might have seen that I attempted a zero waste challenge in May. I just about missed the boat at presenting you my impressions on time for Plastic Free July, but here I go anyway. Now before I go any further, there’s a reason why I used the word attempted: my plastic-free living month was admittedly less than perfect and there was a fair bit of infringement in the form of deep-set habits executed on autopilot.
RIP, Dandy Diner 🙁
I’m vegan burger-obsessed as much as I’m a health nut. If there’s a burger on the menu, it’ll trump any organic carboardy bird food I’d usually go for. Burgers are the bomb! They’re cheap, filling, somewhat of a blank canvas for anyone’s imagination to go free, but (almost) always delicious whatever level of fanciness they’ve been dressed up or down into. And to say Berlin has its vegan burger game down pat is quite the understatement. Every burger joints ha a vegan option. Scratch that. Every restaurant has a burger option has a vegan burger option. Berlin has more burger spots than native Berliners and my ambition to document every single vegan burger option in the city was quickly shut down by the pace at which places open and close. So, as the Berlin vegan burger scene ebbs and flows as a goddamn annoying breathing thing (come back, Dandy Diner!), this guide is getting updated with latest discoveries and classics not to be missed.