Last weekend, the boyfriend and I took a super sneaky day trip to Brussels, Belgium. What started as an off the cuff decision to make use of the Eurostar, soon turned into a frenzied 6am wake up and me taking every opportunity I could, to use my GCSE French. Excusez-moi, Je peux des frites s'il vous plaît?... And then promptly being responded to in English...
Language differences aside, we had a great time exploring the city, deciding how much chocolate we should spend our Euros on and trying not to get run over by the remake of Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift that was happening before us in the streets. We couldn't have gone to Brussels however, and not tried the food associated with this Belgian city. Think waffles, frites (chips) and copious amounts of chocolate. Being in an 'Intermeatial Relationship', (a term coined by my omnivorous and open-minded bf), we used trusty Google and the Happy Cow app to locate all the places where there were options for us both to eat.
First up, we went to The Judgy Vegan which was a lovely cafe tucked away on a side street near Palais de Justice. The atmosphere was lovely, relaxed and they had an extensive menu covering everything from pancakes to risotto and a long hot and cold drinks menu too. We decided on two burgers which came with a side of salad and traditional frites. Both packed full of protein, my burger contained lightly spiced tofu fillets, vegan cheese and crispy and crunchy lettuce. The bf had a mixed bean burger containing lots of kidney beans, lentils and chickpeas which were formed into a tasty patty. His burger was also topped with vegan cheese, tomato, lettuce and vegan mayo.
We halved our burgers each so we could taste what the other had ordered. My tofu was really well spiced, and among some of the best i've tasted. His burger was well flavoured and juicy - filling but not dry. We were both pretty content by the time we had finished eating and felt it was the perfect fuel for the day ahead.
After channelling our inner tourist at the Manneken Pis, we decided to explore another Belgian treat in the form of waffles. Waffles traditionally use a batter containing eggs and that's something I omit under a vegan diet. There are many egg substitutes that people can use in cooking, like chia seeds, flax seeds, apple sauce or even aquafaba (the liquid you drain from a can of chickpeas). Luckily we found a place that did just this, specialising in egg free waffles called Veganwaf.
We bought 2; one with Maple syrup and one with vegan Chantilly cream and chocolate sauce. They were delicious and fluffy, whilst not being too sickly sweet.
Our last major stop on our food tour was getting a Belgian chocolate experience before our journey home. We visited the Laurent Gerbaud Chocolatier for 2 hot chocolates. I had mine made with almond milk and was pleasantly surprised to see the availability of other plant-based milks on the menu. We were surprised with 2 free chocolates alongside as well; I chose ginger which didn't disappoint and he had the speculoos, which is similar in flavour to a Lotus brand biscuit.
We eventually mooched back to the Midi Bruxelles, final portions of frites in hand, reflecting on the day. It was a funny reminder that if you ever manage to end up hungry in Brussels, the frites are always a strong vegan staple! Going abroad while (and with a) vegan didn't prove to be too much hassle at all. With Google, the Happy Cow app and sense to ask if we were unsure, we came back with full bellies and memories to last a lifetime. Protein focused or not, eating plant-based abroad in Belgium was a doddle.
Which countries have you found it easiest to eat a vegan diet in? Where are your recommendations for great food abroad?
*This is not a sponsored post. All thoughts and opinions are my own.