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Vegan

Food, Travel

Vegan in Dubrovnik – A Guide

July 25, 2016

Being vegan or vegetarian in Croatia isn’t very common. In fact, when some of my (Balkan-based) family learned that I was vegetarian they didn’t believe me, and definitely didn’t believe that I would even survive. 10 years later, most of them have somehow grasped it, but depend on me eating cheese, eggs and such instead. So if you’re a vegan, you’re a rare kind. Traveling in Croatia as a vegan is not the easiest, but luckily it’s getting easier and easier – especially in the more popular tourist destinations. Dubrovnik is one of the most popular destinations in Croatia and once you visit you will see why. It’s a wonderful, beautiful town. Being vegan in Dubrovnik might not be the easiest thing, but I was there just a few weeks ago and did some research on the vegan food scene. Here’s my guide to visiting Dubrovnik as a vegan:

  • Stay in an apartment or a good hotel

When we were in Dubrovnik we stayed in a wonderful hotel that had some options for vegans during breakfast, but not much else. They had rice and soya milk, sourdough bread (which is made with no animal ingredients), lots of veggies and fruit, marmalade and so on. If you’re planning to stay in a hotel, do check in advance what they offer. However, a cheaper alternative to staying in hotels is booking an apartment with a kitchen. I find this option makes me feel more like a local than a tourist and you can often get great tips from the hosts. Try AirBnb, Booking.com or hotels.com (yes they have apartments too!). When you rent your own apartment with a kitchen you can make your own breakfast and on-the-go lunch as well as the occasional dinner. Not only is this a cheaper alternative than eating out all the time (believe me, I’ve learned the hard way!) but you can ensure that your food is vegan. Plus all the veggies are so much more delicious when they are grown in Croatia.

  • Nischta

Nischta is one of my favorite restaurants! Not only in Dubrovnik but one of my all-time favorites. I’ve written about it here before. The menu is vegetarian and vegan and most of the vegetarian tems can be ordered vegan, which is great. The food is absolutely delicious and the staff is really friendly. It is located on one of the small streets, parallel to the main street in the Old Town, Stradun. Make sure you book a table ahead if you’re eating dinner there though, as it is often fully-booked during evenings.  I could eat here every single day, but beware it’s closed on Sundays.
Where: Old Town, Prijeko bb
More information an d menu on website.

vegan in dubrovnik

Bowl with rice, veggies and tofu

  • Marco Polo Restaurant

Marco Polo is a regular restaurant but also serves vegan food. There’s a vegan salad with apples, walnuts, and cranberries, a tofu steak with wok vegetables, and wok rice noodles with veggies and soya sauce. Although I unfortunately didn’t have time to visit the restaurant, I hear it’s very good. We did walk past it and it looks very nice so I definitely recommend coming here if you’re visiting. Plus, it’s perfect if you’re with a meatie who craves something other than veg food.
Where:  Old town – Lučarica ul. 6
More information and menu here

  • Bio&Bio

Bio&bio is a health store with shops throughout Croatia and makes it that much easier to be vegan in Dubrovnik! The Dubrovnik shop is located a bit outside of the Old Town but you can easily walk there or take the bus from Pile gate. Here you’ll find lots of vegan food – vegan snack bars, plant-based milk, patés, tofu, seitan “meat” and other vegan items. Shop ’til you drop and go cook yourself a lovely meal before you head out for the evening.

Where: Vukovarska 36, Dubrovnik (walk there or take the bus from Pile gate to the Tommy centre). You can buy tickets on the bus.

  • Be nice and ask!

Most restaurants who don’t have anything for you on the menu will make something just for you. They are used to tourists and you’re probably not the first vegan to walk into the restaurant, so don’t be afraid to ask. I normally ask the host/hostess before entering if they have anything I can eat and if they don’t, they often say which dishes the chefs can make for you. If they don’t have anything, well, at least you’ve let them know there’s a demand for it.

  • Farmer’s market

Buy fresh, locally grown vegetables and fruiton the daily open farmer’s market in the Old Town. Get there early and buy everything from juicy, ripe tomatoes to herbs and olive oil at better prices than in the supermarkets. There’s also a farmer’s market in Gruz (by the harbour in Dubrovnik) but it’s also a fish market so be prepared to see a lot of dead fish 😉 .

Dubrovnik farmer's market

Gruz farmer’s market

I think that covers it for now, but as soon as I hear more about new vegan-friendly places I’ll make sure to add them here – do let me know in the comments if you’ve found a good restaurant or shop with a proper vegan selection. So as you can see, although Dubrovnik isn’t covered with vegan restaurants on every corner, being vegan in Dubrovnik can definitely be done with some research and planning – and preferably a small kitchen.

Motivational

Cutting down on meat? A few things we need to discuss…

February 9, 2016

Following countless documentaries about how meat affects our planet, how badly animals are treated, and how bad it is for your health, I’ve noticed a huge interest in reducing meat intake or taking steps to vegetarianism or veganism. Needless to say, I’m thrilled about this trend. Finally even Denmark, the land of pig meat production, is following the trend and I no longer feel like the weird Swedish (feminist) vegetarian at parties and dinners, constantly being interrogated and/or mocked about my choice not to consume meat. I gave up meat almost ten years ago and it’s something I am very proud of. Why proud? Well, cutting meat out of my diet was a hard choice because I truly loved the taste of meat. However, at some point I realized that I am not entitled to another animal’s flesh simply because I think it tastes good and I quit cold turkey (pun intended) overnight. Since then, I’ve become more aware of how many things actually contain animal derived ingredients – my favorite candy, many cakes, makeup, shampoo…oh and chicken/fish stock in basically every thai restaurant I’ve been to. I had no idea about this before I started. I did no research whatsoever (which is very unlike me, nowadays I research restaurants, books, movies, clothes, hair spray…basically everything else) and so had no clue about all the extra stuff. Truthfully, I think knowing all of it would have put me off going vegetarian at the time, so I am glad that I took it in steps and realized that while I did give up meat and fish, I did not give up good, tasty food. I learned along the way, even if it took me a few years. And this is exactly my point – you don’t have to do it all at once and there are no rules to stopping eating meat.

Of course, I would love it if everyone stopped eating meat, but I also realize that’s not feasible for everyone. In the veg*n communities that I am part of, there are so many questions from people on how to do it right: “But what about medicine, can we consume that despite it being tested on animals?”, “If I go vegan do I have to throw out all of my leather shoes and bags?”, “Can you be vegan and still go horse riding?”, “Can you be vegan and have a cat/dog/rabbit?”. And of course, we can discuss these things from a personal and ideological level but there are really no rules for you, unless you really want to wear the label of being a vegetarian or vegan.

However, you don’t need to have a label and call yourself a vegetarian or a vegan to cut down on meat (and/or eggs and dairy) and you don’t necessarily need a guidebook on how to “do it right”. It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. If you’d like to cut down on meat, then do that. If you’d still like to wear your leather shoes while chewing down a vegan burrito then do that – it’s better than if you were eating a chicken burrito after all. You can skip meat on Mondays and Thursdays or all together. The important thing is that you don’t just do nothing at all, because you can’t commit to an all vegan lifestyle, which I can see a lot of people are doing.

“But if I stop eating meat, I would be a hypocrite to wear my old favorite leather shoes, and if I give up meat then I would be a hypocrite to eat eggs because male chickens die, and if I stop eating eggs, then what about milk? And if I stop consuming milk, do I have to throw my wool jacket out?” But I repeat; It doesn’t have to be all or nothing. Maybe one day you’ll take more steps towards a vegan lifestyle and maybe you won’t. Because let’s be honest, cutting out everything at once is no joke. It takes research and willpower. If you don’t have the motivation to become veg*n, you might just think it’s all too hard and go back to your old ways, but remember that every meal counts. Every meal that you try to cut down on animal products is great, even if it isn’t your every meal.

I know that many veg*ns are frustrated that the rest of the world doesn’t seem to care about animals dying, pollution etc. and the reality is that we can’t expect everyone to care. We can only lead by example and inspire others to do the same, but ultimately it’s an individual choice and it is better to do something than to do nothing at all. After ten years of being a vegetarian, I’ve faced criticism from both avid meat-eaters who think I’m down right stupid and naive (“But what if you were stranded on an island and there was a pig/chicken/cow?“), and vegans who claim I might as well eat meat because vegetarianism doesn’t change a thing. Except it does. Every single meal is a choice that makes a difference – some more than others, but it is still a change.

deserted-island1

“But what if you were stranded on an island with a pig?” is one question I don’t want to hear again.

 PS: I’m not particularly into tofu, and you don’t need to be either!