I am thrilled to welcome Lomez to the fold as a guest contributor to Fat Gay Vegan. This post about eating vegan in the Netherlands is a fascinating and entertaining read that will leave you desperate to get to the land erroneously known as Holland.
Take it away, Lomez.
Ah, the Netherlands, more commonly (and incorrectly) referred to as Holland. Land of tulips, clogs, cycling, Gouda, Edam, Leerdammer… (for those of you so deep into veganism that dairy doesn’t exist, the last three are cheeses.)
My partner and I have been to the Netherlands a few times over the past year, and we’ve managed to eat vegan throughout. We’ve learned so much on our travels, and have so many vegan tips, that it’s difficult to know where to start!
So why don’t I begin with the best? If you only go to one restaurant in the Netherlands, go to Veggies on Fire.
Veggies on Fire is an all-vegan restaurant in The Hague (or Den Haag, if you want to be Dutch about it), which is the city where the Dutch government is based, as well as the International Criminal Court. I don’t know if it has something to do with an influx of lawyers and diplomats from around the world, but for some reason The Hague is by far the best city in the Netherlands for vegan food.
Which is surprising, for a city which has a reputation for being boring. I had expected funky old Amsterdam to be wonderful for vegans. After all, it has a strong hippy/alternative/punk subculture, which often leads to vegan food. But more about Amsterdam another time.
Back to Veggies on Fire. Firstly, it’s open until 11pm. This might not seem like a big deal, but the Dutch tend to eat early, so many restaurants close at 9pm. This caught us out before, so it was great to find somewhere we could relax until late.
The restaurant is owned and run by a husband and wife team who are clearly very enthusiastic about vegan cooking. I’d say that the ambience is “posh but friendly” which I like. There are English menus available, and the staff speak English fluently too (as does every Dutch person, it seems).
We started with sushi. I can’t remember what was in it (though avocado was definitely in there) but it was delicious, and came with a soy-and-ginger sauce, and a salad with rocket and pickled radish. There were six pieces on the plate, but we’d eaten half of them before I remembered to take a photo!
Being a vegan couple, we tend to agree on two dishes we’d like and have half each. So we opted for the schnitzel and the Mexican bean chili tortilla.
You know how posh places usually use massive plates, but the meal itself is a tiny tower of food in the centre? Well, Veggies on Fire isn’t like that. It’s got the big posh plates, but the portions are huge. I reckon even Fat Gay Vegan might have to ask to take the left-overs away in a tub! We certainly did.
The schnitzel was actually three pieces of schnitzel, and came with a salad, carrot, tempeh ‘bacon’ pieces and roasted yellow beetroot, some mayo and roast potatoes. There was enough food on the plate for both of us! The schnitzel were delicious, moist inside and crispy outside, just the right balance of oil-fried and light. The roast potatoes were the same. Fluffy inside and just crunchy enough on the outside, yet not at all oily (we later found out why).
The tortilla, like the schnitzel, was more than it seemed. Actually two tortilla, each cut in half and arranged in a cross, with rice and avocado in the middle and salad around each edge. The chilli filling was spicy with a slightly smoky flavour. It won’t win any awards for originality, but it was tasty and filling!
We got talking to couple who run the restaurant and they told us the secret of the roast potatoes. I can’t remember the exact method, but essentially the potatoes are roasted in water. I’ve never heard of it before (but then I’m not much of a chef, so that’s not surprising) but it really worked!
They told us that everything in the restaurant is made fresh from scratch… even the schnitzels are made in their kitchen from powdered wheat gluten. This shows in the quality of the food.
We were both too full for dessert, but as we were leaving for London the next afternoon, we were brought a complimentary scoop of chocolate mousse with hazelnut. It was very sweet and chocolatey! Top notch stuff.
Visit Veggies on Fire online
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