Punk on the Road: Amsterdam Edition

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We all know why you’re thinking of travelling to Dam… for the museums, architecture, and some good old canal tours. So to fuel you through all that sightseeing – because obviously that’ll work up an appetite… some may say it’ll give you the munchies – I’ve hunted down some awesome vegan food joints (joint? what? me? NEVER.) for you to enjoy while visiting one of the most goddamn beautiful cities in the world, and reviewed my top three favourites.

Dophert – Spaarndammerstraat 49-H, 1013 ST Amsterdam

 

Dophert is a cute little cafe near Westerpark. It’s 100% vegan and 100% worth travelling to even if it’s out of your way because they serve up some DAMN FINE food. I struggled to find a decent vegan breakfast in Dam until making the pilgrimage to Dophert.

Stacked blueberry pancakes with agave syrup: These pancakes were fluffy and filling and perfectly golden in colour. It definitely would have been better with more fruit in and around the pancakes, and personally I prefer maple syrup over agave, but overall this sweet sticky stack of pancakey goodness was fucking ace and I actually struggled to finish the whole thing.

The Ultimate Classic Chocolate Milkshake: Let me being by stating a shocking fact: I have not had whipped cream since going vegan 2 and a half years ago. So understandably, I lost my fucking SHIT when this bad boy was put in front of me. It was like something out of a 1950’s American Diner – it was fucking beautiful and chocolatey, piled high with whipped cream, and it even had a goddamn maraschino cherry on top (which I was way too excited about and ate before taking a photo…). And – of fucking course – it tasted as good as it looked.

No-Tuna Sandwich: Breakfast was so good at Dophert I returned for an early lunch the next day. Being too much of a lazy sack of crap, I have never attempted chickpea tuna myself. Dophert’s take on it was good but not quite as fishy as I expected, and to be honest the colour really threw me off. But that didn’t matter as it had thick crusty bread and some nice salady shit to pull it all together, making it overall a decent choice.

Vegan Junk Food Bar – Staringplein 22, 1054 VL Amsterdam

 

The VJFB is near Vondelpark – which you should totally check out, btw – and has been causing a storm on social media. I mean, fucking obviously! Just look at that monstrous burger!

Original VJFB Burger: Hands down the best “beef” patty I’ve ever had. It was thick, juicy and the perfect texture. It came on a soft seeded bun, with shitloads of salad and THREE types of onions on top – crispy, red, and spring – which was all fucking ace but did not make for a structurally sound burger. Be prepared to go a little bit she-wolf while shovelling this beauty into your gob. The cheese, THE FUCKING CHEESE, ugh it was so gooey and amazing… that and the sauce really pulled the whole thing together and made it one of the most omni-friendly burgers I’ve tried.

Parm A San and Truffle Fries: Hooooooly fuck what do we have here?! In theory these should be the TITS but the overpowering truffle flavour and the fact that the “parmesan” is nooch makes it all a bit of a fucking calamity. Don’t get me wrong, it’s tasty but the overwhelming stench of truffle and nooch sticks around for a long-ass time…

Crunchy Golden Seaweed Nuggets: THIS IS THE BEST THING I HAVE EVER PUT IN MY MOUTH (INCLUDING MULTIPLE EX-BOYFRIENDS). They’re crunchy on the outside, soft and fishy on the inside with a cod like meaty texture. The sea weed sauce is like tartar but BETTER and works perfectly and basically I would live off of this shit if I could.

Mediterranean Cheese Spring Rolls: My brain could not even comprehend what the fuck these were but my stomach was a big fan. Think mozzarella stick on the inside, spring roll on the outside… With the sweet chilli dip it’s like the weirdest but most fucking awesome fusion that really shouldn’t work but really fucking does.

Loaded VJFB Fries: Okay so at this point I’m thinking that fries may be the downfall of the VJFB. The “shawarma meat” is well spiced, and it tastes and feels like kebab meat. Good so far, right? TIME TO TEAR THE FUCKER DOWN. The whole thing was wayyy overloaded with sauce – we’re talking barely any non-soggy fries – and piled up with huge chunks of onions and jalapenos that made everything hard to get at. You don’t get to appreciate each element because it all mooshes into a soggy saucy calamity. Overall it was a pretty sloppy mess.

The Dutch Weed Burger Joint – Nicolaas Beetsstraat 47, 1053 RJ Amsterdam

 

The Dutch Weed Burger Joint is also near Vondelpark, and based all around the use of sea weed and algae as ingredients in their kick-ass vegan junk food. Yeah, you heard. SEA weed. So don’t get your stoner hopes up.

The Dutch Weed Burger: Very different from the VJFB burger but so damn good in it’s own way. The burger was juicy, full of flavour and tears apart in a way similar to pulled pork. It’s rounded off with a decent amount of salad and the best fucking sauce you will ever have, all resting between a green-tinged bun. It holds its shape, it’s a decent size, and there’s no cheese but that’s because it doesn’t need it to be a fucking awesome burger. Less omni friendly than the VJFB burger for sure, but still meaty enough. It’s just the pale and shredded texture of the burger that gives away the game.

Large Fries:  HOLY FUCKING SHIT THESE ARE AMAZING FRIES. Seriously, the best fries I’ve ever had. Granted they are inexplicably tiny in size but they are just perfect in every other way. Dipping them in the weed garlic sauce transports you to a place where Nazis aren’t taking over the US and everyone on earth gets a free puppy.

Weed Garlic Sauce: This sauce. Holy crap. It’s mayonaisey, flecked with sea weed and has a punchy garlic taste that isn’t overpowering. It doesn’t sound much but try it yourself and you’ll fucking see that this shit cannot be missed.

So, there ya go: a little taste of Amsterdam done vegan. Go on… book your flight, get some Euros, and tell your mum you’re going for the “cultural experience”. Good luck finding a vegan space cake though…

G x

GranoVita Organic Herb Pâté

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Contains: “sustainable” palm oil, nuts, soy

Free from: wheat

You know shit’s fucked up when shoving a tube down the throat of an animal to fatten up its liver to be blended up and spread on toast is seen as a reasonable means of providing a staple food product to a middle class household.

Yeah, I used to eat that shit. And it took me a while to realise that if you have to stop yourself thinking about what your food really is to be able to put it in your mouth and swallow then MAYBE, JUST MAYBE, you shouldn’t fucking eat it.

So, while it took me a while to get into veggie pâté, I have some strong feelings about why everyone – duck stuffers included – should shut the fuck up and embrace it with open arms (and mouths).

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GranoVita’s pâté is thick without being chunky, packed full of bomb-ass herbs without the feeling of grazing on your front lawn, and it’s got a nice mild but distinct taste that doesn’t punch you in the mouth with garlic.

The downside: the bastard fucking thing is IMPOSSIBLE to get out of the tube. I had to go on Tinder and look back at the wildly inappropriate and sexually aggressive messages I’d received from thirsty fuckboys to fuel myself with enough rage to Hulk-smash the tube into submission. And when you do get it out of the tube, it looks a little bit like bird shit (ah, sweet irony). One tube costs around £2.75 which is pretty reasonable for the amount you get plus the added workout plan…

My advice: ignore the appearance and the fact you broke a sweat trying to access your afternoon snack, grab your crackers, and enjoy feeling like a middle class housewife nibbling on leftover hors d’oeuvres from your most recent dinner party.

Look, this pâté isn’t supposed to pretend to be the blended up organ of a dead bird. It is very obviously a veggie pâté, BUT that doesn’t mean omnis can’t enjoy it. And if they slag it off because it’s “weird vegan shit” just remind them that eating plants is way less fucked up than their weird carnist shit.

Alternatively, punch them in the jaw and don’t invite them round for fancy-ass food ever again.

  • My Rating – 4/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: Holland and Barrett, other health/alternative food stores

GranoVita Mock Duck

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Contains: wheat, soy

Free from: nuts, palm oil

When I opened my can of mock duck, I experienced a feeling of complete and utter repulsion that until this day I thought would be reserved for the unlikely event of Boris Johnson dropping his trousers and sexually propositioning me.

Splaying the clammy, flesh-toned”meat” on my kitchen counter and being faced with lumps, bumps, and questionable smells reinforced my feeling that this situation was going to be equally as nauseating as a face-first experience with whatever is concealed under BoJo’s Calvins.

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“Hey babe, come here often?”

This shit is way too realistic in texture and appearance for me. It made my stomach turn. A duck may not have died for this, but a piece of my fucking soul definitely did.

BUT because I am obviously hardcore as fuck and because science, I tried a piece before cooking it (which according to the tin is a totally recommended serving suggestion).

Here’s my serving suggestion: DON’T.

Eating it cold is like a physical representation of the feeling you get when you find out Trump is president or the UK voted to “leave”… it’s sad, sickening, and hard to swallow. Fortunately, unlike the American or British public, mock duck managed to turn it around and not be a complete fucking tragedy.

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Once you get past wanting to hurl while you pull apart the larger pieces into shreds, the mock duck is fucking delightful.

It browns up really nicely in a wok and takes on the flavour of whatever you cook it in. I went for soy sauce, agave, garlic and sesame seeds and chucked it all on some wheat noodles, which tasted pretty damn good for a 5 minute fuck around in the kitchen.

It tastes good, but you definitely couldn’t fool an omni with this. The texture is good but not a perfect imitation and the flavour of the “meat” alone gives it away. At £2 for two VERY small portions it’s not worth getting into the whole “murder tastes better” debate.

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  • My Rating – 3.5/5
  • Omnivore Score – 0/5
  • Overall – 3.5/5

Find this product at: Holland and Barrett, and other health/alternative food stores.

Booja Booja Hunky Punky Chocolate Ice Cream

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Contains: Nuts

Free from: Soya, Palm oil, Wheat

Booja Booja – the bourgeoisie choice of non-dairy ice cream. For the price of a small pot – pictured above – you could buy 4 pineapples, 2 avocados, 7 deck chairs, the Oval Office, and 18,000 sweatshop made Nike Airs but I digress. In all seriousness at £2.99 a pot and around £6 for a typical ice cream tub, you’re better off looking at Alpro. That said, this week we’re going for “Hunky Punky Chocolate” (what else for the JunkFoodPunks).

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This ice cream does pay off in its texture, that much is certain. There’s a depth to it, layers of creaminess, richness, the taste of poverty, tears and a delightful softness to it. It’s light, it’s fluffy and it’s definitely got the right density to it for a decent ice cream replacement. It’s just got that substance to it that enriches the flavour and adds a chunkiness to it. In fact, if I’d say, it’s actually creamier and thicker than most ice creams I’ve had but it doesn’t detract from it at all.

With all that thicc texture we also get a tonne of flavour. Think of the most pure Belgian chocolate you can. Double it. That’s the level of taste you can expect from Booja Booja. I like to think that they put a lot of money in R&D and I’m actually paying for some scientist to make my shit more chocolatey. Altogether, this has easily been one of my favourite ice creams I’ve had – dairy or none.

There’s a couple of notes worth finishing on with this product. Firstly, it’s delicious. That’s undisputed but for a few pounds less I feel Almond Dream or Alpro would hold up well enough to overcome the fact I’m buying pots of Booja Booja on finance. Secondly, their flavour range is… somewhat limited. It’s actually boring. Sure it was chocolatey and I’m sure their vanilla is more vanilla than real vanilla but that’s all there is to it. None of Ben & Jerry’s funtime cookies and cream or anything.

  • My Rating: 4/5
  • Omnivore Score: 5/5
  • Overall: 4.5/5

Find this product at: Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Morrisons, Holland & Barrett and various health food stores.

 

Linda McCartney Pulled Chicken

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Contains: wheat, soya

Free From: palm oil, nuts

Seeing as Ryan loved Linda’s shredded duck so much I thought fuck it, the chicken must be just as good.

Opening the packet I thought “well, this is some flaky bullshit right here”. I thought they fucked up, that instead of moist and tender chicken shreds I had been sold some frozen fish food. Then I shut the fuck up and got my wok out (cheeky).

Because science and the fact I almost always snack while cooking, I tried a plain piece of chicken once the shreds had started to get hot and were just beginning to get a little bit of a brown crisp going on.

Fuck me for ever doubting Linda McCartney when it comes to pulling vegetarian meat (behave).

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The texture was spot on. This stuff would be perfect for burritos and risottos alike. It carries quite a lot of moisture in itself so don’t be a jackass like me and think it’ll totally work in a Thai green curry. That shit did not end well and looked more like the aftermath of a heavy night of boozing than an appetising Asian meal… but at least it tasted good so it wasn’t too monumental a fuck up.

As far as feeding it to your omni friends, it would be a really good way to introduce them to the concept of eating vegan food and not being a fucking asshole about it. And in classic Linda style, it’s good value for money at £2.50 a pack. So even if your friends are assholes, at least you didn’t break the bank trying to feed them shit that won’t give them heart disease.

  • My Rating – 5/5
  • Omnivore Score – 5/5
  • Overall – 5/5

Find this product at: most supermarkets and Holland and Barrett.

Cauldron Vegan Sausages

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Contains: Soya, Gluten

Free from: Nuts, Palm Oil

Everyone’s favourite tofu people. I’d actually been warned heavily against these beforehand which I think is why they pleasantly surprised me (like you know when you have to downplay your bedroom abilities so when it comes to it, anything’s good? No? Just me? Shit.). Well for £2.50 for a sixer, it’s probably not the worst idea to give them a shot if you want a switch up from the everyday Quorn and Free From.

 

First thing I noticed is they’re chorizo red. That’s not meant to be an arty term, they’re the spicy, blood red of your favourite Spanish sausage. Does this mean it’s spicy? Are we in for a treat? Have we found another holy grail? No. What we have found, however, is a proper vegetable sausage – one where you can see the vegetables that actually make it up. You bite into it and it… well it turns to a mush. It’s not necessarily a bad mush, but it’s not got the substance or thiccccness you’d associate with a good sausage. One thing I noted was it was saucy (ooh-la-la?), not that it was gushing (violent retching noises.) but it holds liquid inside which I think is why it has that soft bite to it.

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Taste. The taste isn’t actually all that bad but the only thing I can liken it to is baked beans in sausage form, a beanie banger if you will. I’m sure we’re all fans of the good ol’ sausage and beans but it really limits what it pairs well with. Baked potato (as I had it)? Ace, tip top, number one sausage. Pasta? Eh… Rice? Gag. The sausage juice is somewhat tomatoey as well which really locks in that baked bean taste.

I would say you could definitely feed this to an omnivore but never pass it off for a sausage. A baked bean submarine maybe but not a chorizo. It actually scores fairly low in the omnivore department because it just doesn’t have the texture, doesn’t have the taste but aesthetically? Sure.

  • My Rating: 3/5
  • Omnivore Score: 1/5
  • Overall: 2/5

Find this product at: Ocado, Tesco, Sainsbury’s Morrisons, and various health food stores.

 

Tesco Free-From Millionaire’s Dessert

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Contains: palm oil, soya 

Free from: nuts, wheat

I SAID I WAS DONE WITH TESCO’S CHILLED DESSERTS. WELL, GUESS WHAT. I FUCKING LIED.

And you know what?

I’M GLAD I DID.

I have pretty much hated all the chilled desserts Tesco have pumped out because they all taste overwhelmingly of coconut and that shit does not fly with me.

THIS, however, is a game changer.

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It doesn’t look like much, but this NON-COCONUTTY coconut-based dessert is rich, smooth, and has the perfect chocolate:biscuit:caramel ratio. The top layer of dark chocolate mousse is dense enough to make you feel like you didn’t pay £1.50 for three unsatisfying spoonfuls of pudding, but light enough that you forget that ONE POT CONTAINS 59% OF YOUR DAILY SATURATES (!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). FIFTY FUCKING NINE. I know we’re the Junkfood Punks but WHAT THE HELL, TESCO?!

The biscuit layer is exactly the same as that of Tesco’s Free-From Cheesecake. It is still that weak, crumbly chaos we have come to expect; the difference here is that because it isn’t supposedly a weight-bearing “base” you can look past its structural insufficiencies and just enjoy the flaky shortbread as it is.

At the very bottom of this child-size pot you’ll find the salted caramel sauce. It’s alright.

Seriously the caramel sauce is just kinda… caramel sauce. Like, great, you remembered to put it in AND it doesn’t taste like coconut but I’m not giving you a round of applause for something painfully average. It’s not quite as “luxurious” and “indulgent” as Tesco’s marketing team would have you believe.

All in all, I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and actually really enjoyed this dessert. Nice one, Tesco. But still, at £1.50 a pot and with 59% of my daily saturates in one serving, I think I’ll just skip dessert and go straight to the wine instead.

  • My Rating – 4/5
  • Omnivore Score – 4/5
  • Overall – 4/5

Find this product at: Tesco.