A Vegetarian Foodie’s Adventures Across Europe – Part IV

Over the past few weeks, I have already shared my experiences as a vegetarian foodie in Portugal, Spain and France. The struggles are real when it comes to finding vegetarian food in some parts of the world. I have had many readers reaching out to me and giving me enough motivation to keep writing this series. So, let us move to our next destination on the list. I was travelling last weekend and I was in Calicut, Kerala for a wedding. We were waiting for lunch at our hotel when I overheard someone instructing the chef on how to make the perfect savoury pancake. I was reminded of my time in Amsterdam and decided to write about vegetarian food in Amsterdam and Luxembourg this time around. 
Many people I meet are surprised to find out that I am a vegetarian and a Mallu (Most Mallus are non-vegetarians). The next question I get is if I am a vegetarian by choice or by birth. Actually, I am a bit of both. I come from a family, where one parent comes from a pure vegetarian family while the other comes from a pure non-vegetarian family. My dad’s family are the kind of people who do not even eat garlic or mushrooms while my mom’s family will eat fish even three times a day if given an option. I used to eat non-vegetarian food but I have been a vegetarian by choice for close to 12 years now.
Vegetarian Food in Amsterdam and Luxembourg

Vegetarian Food in Amsterdam:

The last time I was in Amsterdam, I was still in my early teens and I was quite excited to explore it on my own this time. As soon as I reached Amsterdam Central station, I decided to have dinner at the train station. I am glad that I did since you might have already read about the terrible time I had at my hotel.
There is a falafel shop at Amsterdam Central and I got a vegetarian falafel for around 7 Euros for dinner. After a horrible night at my hotel, I did not wake up early enough for breakfast. I decided to skip breakfast and headed out to the city to explore. I was walking around Amsterdam Central and found a tiny place right opposite the train station that had some vegetarian pasta options. The lunch was terrible and I wished I had gone to ‘Pancakes’ that was opposite this restaurant. The reason I couldn’t go was that the ‘Pancakes’ place had a huge sign board that said that they accepted only cards and not cash. Since I had lost all my cards by then, I had no other option.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Amsterdam and Luxembourg
Terrible Lunch
After having a terrible lunch, I was hungry within an hour and I decided to head inside a pastry shop to have something to eat. Halfway through a brownie, I suddenly realised that I am in a land where space cakes are legal and obviously, I started freaking out. Just to clarify, I have never been into drugs and will definitely never be in the future. Also, I did not want to be spaced out when I was travelling by myself and I had no clue how space cakes or hash brownies looked like. I started Googling feverishly only to realise that weed can be legally sold only in around 200 ‘Coffee Shops’ in Amsterdam. These Coffee shops are usually marked by a ‘Green and White’ sticker on their windows. If you really want to smoke weed, you can go into any of these coffee shops and buy them legally. No I did not visit any of them. Also, don’t buy the green lollipops for your kids from any of the markets since they are the edible kind of weed.
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Amsterdam and Luxembourg
Coffee Shops, Amsterdam
I finally picked up enough courage to go ask the ‘Pancakes’ place if they would allow me to pay in cash. They agreed to let me pay in cash and I decided to order a savoury Dutch pancake (Pannenkoken). They have lots of vegetarian options, both savoury and sweet. It is definitely a treat for the foodie since the pancakes made there are so delicious. It was perfection (Yes, I am a huge fan of Chandler Bing) after a crappy food day. As I was chatting with the manager while paying the bill, I asked him why they did not allow cash. He told me that they were robbed a couple of times and that was the reason they had gone with this rule. I went back to the same place the next day too for lunch and they allowed me to pay by cash again. I highly recommend this place as a vegetarian and you would be spoilt for choices. This place is located right next to the famous row of houses/buildings pictured above.
 
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Amsterdam and Luxembourg
Dutch Pancakes
Do try the thick Dutch fries or Patat. They are basically fries served with various sauces. The most famous one is the ‘patatje oorlog‘ for a dollop of peanut satay sauce, mayo and onions. 
If you are looking for sweet items, then StroopWafel and poffertjes were my favourites. You can buy them from any street vendor around town. Another thing you really got to try is the Cheese or maybe the cheese fondue. Many places sell them and my favourite one was Gouda.  I did try the Dutch licorice too but I would not say I am a huge fan of them. 
If you are a coffee lover like me, then definitely try out Koffie Verkeerd, which is the Dutch version of a Café Latte. For beer lovers, Heineken experience is recommended
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Amsterdam and Luxembourg
If you have an Iamsterdam card like me, then you are eligible for a discount at various outlets across the city.

Vegetarian Food in Luxembourg

I was in Luxembourg only for lunch and I ended up eating Mexican in Luxembourg. I also tried out Gromperekichelcher, which are basically potato cakes or fritters. 
I wish I had spent more time here so that I could eat the various delicacies that Luxembourg is famous for.
Hopefully you enjoyed my food adventures around Amsterdam and Luxembourg. So any idea which country will be next?
A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Amsterdam and Luxembourg
Mexican Food, Luxembourg
Disclaimer:
 
I was a guest of Iamsterdam marketing and I was provided with a free card. All opinions as always are my own.
 
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A Vegetarian Foodie's Adventures Across Europe - Amsterdam and Luxembourg
  • Neha Verma

    This guide is going to be a great help for me. I am a vegetarian soon headed on a trip to Europe, including Amsterdam. So, you can imagine what is the first and the last thing I am tense about – finding good vegetarian food

    • Do check out the entire series, Neha. I have written about other places too. Glad that you found it helpful. Europe is actually much easier than others.

  • Yum, that Pannenkoken looks delicious! Also, I had no idea they had “edible” lollipops (😳) … Can’t wait to see the next country!

    • Yes they have edible cannabis lollipops. I never knew till I went to Amsterdam as an adult.

  • Jean Bean

    After reading this I went to my local supermarket looking for strooplawaffles. No luck 🙁 I didn’t realise that it was difficult to get vegetarian food in Europe. Glad to see that you found some places to feed you.

    • It really depends on the place. It is easier to find in Mainstream places but you may have trouble in offbeat places.

  • Kathy James

    As a vegetarian traveller, I have found it difficult in many countries especially South Korea where I am now. Other really difficult places are Taiwan, Brazil and South Africa. I found Europe very easy compared to these countries however many places are difficult.
    Thanks for sharing your adventure!

    • Yes I agree Europe is much more easier than other countries. I am going to have a tough time when I decide to go to some of the countries you mentioned. I last went to South Africa when I was still a non-vegetarian.

  • Raghav

    Interesting. Have been visiting Amsterdam for close to two decades now about 4-5 times a year and never experienced this. Yes, the hotels have been tricky over the years and we’ve managed to select a few favourites after a few misses but food has always been quite easy. As for the paying in cash part, I’ll be honest but never came across that. We hardly ever use our cards expect to pay hotel bills so have always traded with cash. There’s a lot of vegetarian food in Amsterdam, lots and lots of Indian restaurants too. But I’m glad you got to try some of the local delecasies which are rightfully recommended.

    • It was the only place in Europe that wanted cards. But I guess being robbed twice meant that it was better for them to have no cash in the registry. I was staying in a desolate area in Amsterdam and it was quite difficult to find vegetarian food there. So i ate all my meals in the city and I loved most of it. I prefer not to eat Indian when I am traveling outside India.

  • Aww, it sounds like you had a tough time getting fed! I love a good space cake, but the one I got from Amsterdam was way too strong. I also love dutch pancakes, they are so famous everyone who visits must try them! I also went to a great restaurant selling traditional meals and it was so delicious! Back then I didn’t explore with vegetarian “eyes”, but have been doing more so as I am heading towards becoming a vegetarian as well.

    • I have never tried a space cake till now though. So no clue what it tastes like. Good luck on becoming a vegetarian.

  • Atulmaharaj

    Wonderful post ! You’ve written this for people like me, vegetarians ! Thanks 🙂

    • I did not know you were a vegetarian. Hopefully you will find this helpful when you visit in the future.

  • 2travellingsisters

    Being a vegetarian myself, this is going to be of huge help when I visit Amsterdam/ Luxembourg in future. Trying out local delicacies is something I look forward to while travelling ( even though sometimes its real hard to find)so I can relate to your issues with the search for good veg food :). All the food you described sounds so delicious, totally drooling over the Dutch pancakes, going to dream about it tonight hahah.

    • I want to eat Dutch pancakes now. 🙂 Glad that you found it helpful. I always try to eat local delicacies.

  • While I would consider myself experimental when it comes to food, I never really (knowingly) ventured into the vegetarian category simply because I wouldn’t know what to try or what will taste good… You’ve shown me heaps of different options and maybe the next time I visit Amsterdam, I’ll give these a try! But omg, yes the fries are amazing… except i didn’t get the one with peanut satay sauce – am I missing out? 😮

    Hahaha and good tip to the parents about the lollipops.. Surprisingly a lot of people don’t know about Amsterdam’s cafe culture so that would come as a surprise to them. 😛

    • In spite of knowing Amsterdam’s cafe culture, I was really not sure what to expect. Last time I went to Amsterdam, I was a kid and I went with my parents. My parents were careful to not let us get high. But we can’t say the same about others who are not aware. 🙂

  • mmmm Dutch pancakes are my favourite!! Europe is definitely not the most vegetarian-friendly place (haha have you been to Germany?) but it’s really neat to read all the different options you found. Also I lol’d at the part about you panicking re: space cakes. Happy to hear you didn’t get accidentally high haha

    • Actually Europe is much better compared to South east Asia when it comes to finding vegetarian food. I am glad that I did not get accidentally high. 🙂

  • Good that you survived there and could get lots of veggie options. Have been to Amsterdam but never faced such problem since I eat non veg also. The Iamsterdam card looks quite helpful. Probably will look for one when I go there next year.
    Thanks for sharing.

    • Have fun in Amsterdam next year. Amsterdam was actually one of the easier cities to find vegetarian food. 🙂

  • I love falafel! and I am so dying to see Amsterdam…lovely post! Sharing on twitter!

    Valerie
    Fashion and Travel

    • Hope you enjoy Amsterdam whenever you get the chance. 🙂

  • Hannah Logan

    It’s funny how come places are so easy to be vegetarian and others seem to be impossible. I was travelling with a vegetarian girl through parts of Asia and we found tons of awesome vegetarian restaurants in Vietnam. But the Philippines? Oy. Glad Amsterdam had some good options for you!

    • I have never been to Philippines and hopefully I will get some good choices whenever I go there.

  • Elaine J Masters

    I’m not a vegetarian but it looks like Pancake would be a wonderful place to eat. Not what I think of pancakes in the US but a cross between a pizza and crepe with toppings! Sorry to hear about the hotel experience but glad to hear that the restaurant allowed you to pay cash. Sometimes travel just isn’t easy.

    • We eventually find ways to overcome all issues. Food helps in a big way. 🙂

  • Nice. Those Dutch pancakes look amazing. Shame you didn’t get to enjoy Luxembourg more! I’ve always wanted to go there.

    • I hardly spent few hours in Luxembourg. I wish I get to spend more time there.

  • Mags

    I’m not a vegetarian, but I think it’s so great that the movement has gained so much traction. It seems like there are great veggie options all over the world now!

    • Yes, they have finally realised that they have to feed us too.

  • SHRADDHA GUPTA

    I like the intro of this post a lot – especially because I am a Baniya and often considered as a vegetarian. But in reality I believe I am a pure non-vegetarian, or even a carnivores would do my justice. Although I do have days when I am traveling I want to eat something vegetarian – in a non-vegetarian city. I am glad you were able to find good food options. Off late I tried some vegan restaurants for a change and I was pleasantly surprised!

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