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It’s been a while since my last vegan travel post, but here it is, and it’s about how to be vegan in Brussels, Belgium. By now you already know that my favorite place to look up vegan and vegan-friendly places when traveling is HappyCow. And there are quite a few listings for Brussels.
The obvious favorites in Brussels are waffles, fries, and chocolate, so I was hoping to find vegan versions of them. As we only spent one night in Brussels, it wasn’t possible to try out a lot of places, however.
Unfortunately, some of the stuff that I had found online wasn’t open by the time we arrived Saturday afternoon. Due to the city’s role as the de facto capital of the European Union, the city is a lot busier during the week than on weekends. I was a bit disappointed, but these are the things that make you go back to a place, right?
Vegan Chocolate in Brussels
We did, however, manage to go to a place for excellent Belgian chocolate. Laurent Gerbaud is a chocolatier with a sweet little place not far from the Old Town. Upon entering, the owner himself greeted us. He later also cleaned our table. Refreshingly down to earth.
I had my first ever vegan hot chocolate with soy milk. Of course, due to the dark chocolate, it was quite bitter, a bit too much so for my taste. But it was lovely to be able to sit outside in Brussels on the last weekend of winter. With a hot chocolate, not at all missing out on things non-vegans do. After the hot chocolate, we looked around the lovely store where they had many different chocolates on display.
I purchased several vegan ones that I ate when we got back to our apartment. And let me tell you, they were miles ahead of any other chocolate I’ve ever had. Vegan chocolate from a Belgian chocolatier is exactly as good as one would hope. As of 2020, it appears that about 90% of the chocolates by Laurent Gerbaud are vegan. So this is the place to go if you’re a vegan in Brussels.
Rue Ravenstein 2d. Open Monday to Sunday 10:30 am to 8 pm.
Vegan Food on the Go in Brussels
The next day, on the way to the airport we stopped by the train station to get something from a chain called EXKi. They specialize in organic fast food and have a few vegan options. I got some nice sandwiches with green lentil paste for the trip. Definitely a great little snack to have during the day.
There are several EXKi stores all over Brussels. And since they’re a chain I expect the options and service to be pretty similar in all of them. So as a vegan in Brussels this is a quick option when you’re out and about. Sometimes, fully vegan places are not easy to come by. Check out my seven tips for vegan travelers to help you with such situations.
Gare du Midi. Open Monday to Friday 6:30 am to 8 pm and Saturday and Sunday 7:30 am to 8 pm.
If you think that doesn’t sound like a lot to eat on a weekend I have to make a confession. There was an accidental slip-up. I was sure that fries are vegan so I went along when my partner found a popular place for fries. The line was really long which seemed to confirm the positive reviews. So we patiently waited in line. I ordered fries without any condiment because I wasn’t really in the mood to ask if they had vegan options. What can I say? My first Belgian fries were really good, although the portion was much too big.
Unfortunately, when I got back from Brussels I found out that Belgian fries are usually not vegan. I sent a message to the place we got our fries from, and they confirmed that they use beef fat. This goes to show that you can’t trust your common sense to figure out if something is vegan. If there’s no vegan label be sure to check with somebody before ordering.
I know there are some vegan eateries in Brussels that make vegan fries. But as of 2020, there doesn’t seem to be a fully vegan place that specializes in fries. Please let me know if there is one!
Vegan Waffles in Brussels
I didn’t find any options for vegan waffles in Brussels either. But lucky for you, a vegan waffle shop opened in December 2018! The place is called VeganWaf, and although I was in Brussels before they opened, I want to mention them here for all the people looking for vegan waffles in Brussels.
You will also be able to find some cafés that offer vegan waffles. But in terms of a vegan place that only makes waffles, this seems to be the place to go. Their reviews on HappyCow are pretty good so I know I’ll try their waffles once I make it back to Brussels. It’s good to know that if you’re a vegan in Brussels you can find one of the most popular Belgian food item.
To Sum Things Up
This trip wasn’t as vegan-friendly as I expected it to be. I had thought being vegan in Brussels would be similar to other Western European cities. But I think due to the fact that we were only there for a weekend which is a quiet time for Brussels we missed out on a lot of options. I’d love to check out the city and all its vegan spots during the week.
But with that said, I have to say that the chocolates really made up for everything. They were so good, and my only regret is not having bought even more!
What about you? Have you ever accidentally eaten something non-vegan expecting it to be vegan?