One of the sunny last days in August Rob and I took a day trip to Gothenburg, actually we spent eight hours there on our way to my hometown, and I recorded what we got up to so that I could share this mini guide of a vegan Gothenburg with you all. We ate a lot of good food, shopped a little, walked around a lot and rode the tram. All the good things in life that is! (Well at least some of all the good things in life).
Maybe I should have called this an 8 hour guide to Gothenburg but that seems a little strange as I think most of those of you out there planning to visit Gothenburg will be there for longer. At least I hope you will because it is a wonderful city and I would recommend it to all my friends, including you guys out there. Some things I like about Gothenburg is that most things are in walking distance, and if they are not you can catch the tram which I much prefer to both the underground and buses. It has some lovely architecture, not that I know much about that subject, and to me it has a mid-1900s charm about it; old signs, squat houses and road side cafe tables. People are also generally quite friendly in my experience, at least when the sun is shining.
Now let me recommend to you six places that we had the time to squeeze into that short visit. They all brought me a lot of joy and I hope they will do the same for you if you decide to check them out on your visit. Enjoy! x
In the midst of Gothenburg, some snaps from around and in the middle of Haga, Annedal and Masthugget.
STOP 1: SAIGON FOOD
Since moving away from London and to the country side I’ve been missing Asian supermarkets, luckily I found an excellent one a five minute walk from Gothenburg’s central station in shopping center Nordstan. Saigon Foods have quite the number of Asian countries’ foods represented under one roof and it was not a problem for me to find what I was looking for! I found the Korean food aisle bought some gochugaru, a red chilli powder, and as soon as I got home made my own kimchi which is now waiting for me to devour it.
They had heaps of dried foods as well as a large freezer section, a chilled corner with fresh produce and even some utensils and tableware. I might not have been to that many Asian markets, non actually in any Asian country to be honest, but this is one of the best stores I’ve visited. I didn’t just come home with my new found love gochugaru but also picked up some gochujang, a Korean red pepper paste, some tapioca pearls that I intend to use in a coconut milk pudding, some kombu sea vegetable for making stock and cooking with my beans, a little bowl to replace one that Rob dropped and a snack of a black sesame soya milk and a Vietnamese flat donut. And if you ever find this black sesame soy milk, the brand is Vitamilk but on the carton I think it was written in Thai, you must must must try it! It was sweet and malty and the perfect treat after a couple of hours on the train. I just wish we had bought a whole case of it.
If you live in Gothenburg, enjoy various Asian cuisines and have never been to Saigon Food I’d urge you to go. Right now. Ha. No but it really was such a welcomed treat for me to wander around looking at all the foreign, to me, items and dream about what I could try at home with this or that.
1, Saigon Food Asian Supermarket. 2-4, Tyska Bron.
STOP 2: OPEN NEW DOORS
at Tyska bron 1
Finally I made it to Open New Doors after following its journey on social media since its inception. I had hoped that my first encounter with this collection of restaurants would be were it all began in Tokebo but when we decided to visit Gothenburg I couldn’t wait any longer so had to check it out. And it did not disappoint! Since Rob and I had just eaten a flat donut we decided to share the Skagenmacka and some kombucha. The sandwich inspired by a Swedish sea food classic was amazing! It really had that sea food flavour from sea vegetable ‘caviar’ and nori seaweed and instead of the traditional shrimp additionally there were chunks of tofu that seriously could have fooled me to think it was the real deal.
It was lovely to be able to share a Swedish classic with Rob who is slowly learning about all our funny traditions and brown food. But I shouldn’t really mention that latter thing in the same paragraph as speaking about Open New Doors because this raw food restaurant has the whole colour spectrum on offer. Next time I visit I will have to try the cakes because they are beautifully made and looked so delicious. If only I had skipped that donut thing I was thinking as I finished our sandwich but one thing that is traditional about Open New Doors is their portion size, Swedishly generous. No complaints here!
Skagenmacka and interior at Open New Doors.
STOP 3: KALE’I KAFFEBAR
at Kyrkogatan 13
The third mark on our map was Rob’s coffee spot which he of course researched well before picking and as we walked up to the coffee bar which actually isn’t much like a bar at all. I should have thanked him for taking me to such a beautiful place, even though I have no interest in coffee. The place looks straight out of a trendy magazine with lots of white, trendy looking coffee on wooden shelves, fresh produce lying about and beautiful light. The best part was probably the backyard which to my delight is shared with a lovely looking juice bar and a record store.
But it wasn’t just the lovely atmosphere and decore at Kale’i that made me happy but they actually had a vegan sandwich on the menu, gluten free bread and I’m quite sure there were more things eloquently scribbled on the menu that could at least be ‘veganised’. The staff was friendly and accommodating and the coffee came with oat milk if asked for. Coffee itself got a thumbs up in the end!
If I lived in Gothenburg I could see this as being a regular fika spot with friends, if only they had a vegan cookie. Maybe I’ll have to write them an encouraging note before I visit next and hopefully they’ll hear my prayers.
Kale’i Kaffebar interior and backyard.
STOP 4: THRIVE
at Södra Allégatan 11
After three food related stops on our little tour it was time for some shopping. Again I was very excited about where we were going, since Thrive is another place I’ve been following since before there were any shelves on the walls on social media. Now you’re probably wondering; ‘but what is this mystery place called Thrive?!’. Let me tell you! Thrive is a sustainable fashion store which cater to both those of us who enjoy the feminine and the masculine. With two separate rooms, and one to join them together in the middle, the owners of this trendy place pick the best of the best when it comes to sustainable clothing.
There is everything you need and a little more. There are colourful items of course but for those of you who are like me there’s also a generous selection of black to suit your soul. Just kidding! But there was a great selection of basics in neutral colours which to me is very important for a clothing store, that’s after all what those other more exuberant items go over/with in my world. But I’d say there was something for everyone in the store.
Thrive is not completely vegan, although very vegan friendly. However after speaking to one of the owners, who by the way will be able to explain to you all about sustainable fashion so if you’re curious come prepared with any issues you might want some clarity on, I found out that they are heading towards a fully vegan store. They’re even hoping to become PETA certified in the future.
Of course I didn’t leave empty handed from this gold mine but walked away with one of the two styles of VEJA shoes that are vegan, a pair of MUD denims and a black hemp crop top from RCM Clothing. Rob got nothing but a happy girlfriend!
1-6, Thrive Sustainable Fashion Store. 7, Coconut ice cream from Happy Vegan supermarket.
STOP 5: HAPPY VEGAN
at Olivedalsgatan 2
Having had such a successful clothes shop I was finished with that department for the day (probably for this year in all honesty) and quickly went back to food. Of course! It was time to visit Gothenburg’s newly opened vegan supermarket Happy Vegan! They were still not officially opened when we came to visit and were still stocking the shelves from many a box occupying a corner of the rather tight shop. Even if the store seemed a little small for a supermarket it seemed the carry all the things I could have wanted to find, except for fresh produce which I think we’ll still have to get elsewhere.
There was basic dried foods like grains, beans, nuts and seeds as well as chilled items such as a wide variety of tempeh, tofu and meat substitutes. There was frozen foods and ice cream and chilled plant milk and other dairy substitutes. There was even pick and mix, the holy grail of Swedish supermarkets. A good selection of other sweets and chocolate were there too.
If you are staying in Gothenburg or visit for a longer period of time you should definitely come support this awesome initiative and enjoy being able to pick up anything in the store without reading the label!
Feast at Blackbird Vegan Kitchen and Bar.
STOP 5: BLACKBIRD VEGAN KITCHEN AND BAR
at Stigbergsliden 3
Our final destination was Blackbird for an early three course dinner. This I think was a great decision because; food! We ate chilli ‘cheese’ balls, bibimbap with homemade seitan and delicious tofu, tofu ‘ribs’ with the creamiest mountain of potato salad as well as an ice cream delight which was a cookie base, a peanut butter caramel layer, vanilla ice cream and chocolate coating. If I could use emojis now it would be the stunned one with it’s mouth wide open, preferably with its hands on its cheeks. It was pure indulgent deliciousness from start to finish. Just have a look at the photos and you’ll understand why the trucker’s daughter who fell in love with Korean food a little while ago was so happy.
All of this in a punk paradise setting with Bob Dylan at a volume where you could actually hear what he was singing. People watching was great and there were three ‘rooms’ which made the restaurant feel cosy and not too crowded even though it was full pretty much from when we walked in until we walked out. There’s not much more to say except for; if you’re not too precious about your waist line and put more value in indulging in classic comfort food made with a lot of grace once in a while this is your place!
Ps. The burger looked pretty good too.
1, View across the water from Majorna. 2+3, Trams at Centralstationen.