Hi everyone! Not everyone knows this about me, but the past couple of months my eating habits have changed drastically, since I am switching from a vegetarian to a vegan diet. I have not eaten meat or fish for almost four years now, and could not imagine ever going back. When I was in England for my Erasmus, I forced myself to eat vegan whenever I had the opportunity, and realized that this was easier than I thought it would be. Many restaurants had vegan options and vegan grocery shopping was an easy task. I think I can say that England is definitely ahead of Belgium when it comes to vegan food, especially since it has become sort of a trend, with a lot of celebrities opting for a plant based diet and vegan youtubers making ‘What I eat in a day’-videos. When I had to return home, I feared that it would be very hard to stick with my good resolutions. I knew that compared to what I was used to in England, the range of vegan products in the supermarkets would be limited and that some traditional (read: old-fashioned) restaurants don’t have anything fully plant based on their menus. That’s why I decided to do a little research and try out some supermarkets I would not normally go to, in order to find out what they have to offer. I came to the conclusion that a lot has changed already and is still changing when it comes to plant based food. Apart from checking out the supermarkets, I went through the online menus of all the places I used to go to in my university town Ghent, to see what I would still be allowed to eat as a vegan.
I’m glad to say that, although at first it seemed like cutting out dairy products would be a hard task, it’s actually not that hard to find vegan products and dishes, as long as you know where to go. That is why I decided to make a sort of guide for all of you who want to give “veganism” a try. Since it would be too long otherwise, I decided to divide this “guide” into two parts. In this blog post, part 1, you can read about some breakfast and brunch hotspots that offer vegan drinks and dishes, whilst in part 2 (that will be online soon) I will give you a list of vegan hotspots for lunch and dinner.
BREAKFAST & BRUNCH
As you might know, one of the things I really like to do is go out for breakfast in the city. It has become my favourite meal of the day since I started to experiment with smoothie bowls and oatmeal, and I definitely do not want this to change simply because I can’t eat eggs or drink milk anymore. These are a few of my favourite spots to go for breakfast:
Gui-I – St Pietersnieuwstraat 97
Gu-i offers smoothie bowls (which is a concept that is quite new in Ghent), smoothies, juices, and toasts. One of the smoothie bowls is an acaï bowl which I highly recommend. This hotspot opened its doors only a few weeks ago but it’s already a favourite of mine. Since it’s only a 1 minute walk away from my school, I like to go here in the morning to start my day with a smoothie bowl.
O’yo – Brabantdam 82
At O’yo you can find healthy lunches and all-day breakfast. They have a lot of vegan options like pancakes, avocado toast, vegan salad bowls, and vegan pastries. What I also like about this place – apart from the amazing food and the cosy interior – is their coffee and hot chocolate. They have a lot of different flavours and toppings to choose from. Try the “Bounty Hot Chocolate”, for example: hot chocolate made of coconut milk and coconut flakes and dark chocolate as a topping. It’s delicious!
Pain Quotidien – Kalandeberg / Korenmarkt
I’m not sure whether it has been like this for a long time or if they just changed their menu, but Le Pain Quotidien has A LOT of vegan options. Apart from oatmeal, fruit salads, vegan blueberry muffins and chia seed pudding, they also offer a full vegan brunch!
Madam Bakster – Brabantdam
Madam Bakster could not be missing in this list since everything they offer here is plant based (and guilt free). They are mostly known for their delicious vegan pies (try the one made of avocado!) but they also offer breakfast: rice pudding, pancakes, and apple crumble are a few examples.
Stek (Nederkouter) and Gust (Annonciadenstraat) also have some vegan options.
When you’re looking for a coffee bar as a vegan, the first thing you should check on the menu is whether they have plant based milk, unless of course you like your coffee black. Except from the places I mentioned above, there are a lot of coffee bars in Ghent that offer this.
OR – St Pietersnieuwstraat
People who know me will not be surprised that I put this one first, since it’s my absolute favourite place for coffee. Many locals claim that OR serves the best coffee in Ghent, and I agree with this. If I’m not wrong, they unfortunately do not have almond milk or coconut milk, but they do have soy milk.
Pain Perdu – Walpoortstraat 9
I’m glad to say that Pain Perdu has almond milk as an option to have in your cappuccino, so for people who don’t really like the taste of soy milk, I recommend this place! Personally almond milk is my favourite when it comes to plant based milk.
Full Circle Coffee- Zuidstationstraat 5
I discovered this coffee bar only recently, but I’m happy I did! The place has a nice interior and yes, everything is plant based here. At Full Circle they also have oat milk, which a lot of people seem to like.
Peaberry Coffee Bar – Limburgstraat 24
As I had seen a lot of people posting Instagram stories with a take-away cup they bought at this coffee bar, I wanted to give this one a try. Happy I did, because I ordered an iced coffee with coconut milk and it’s by far the best I have had so far!
(note: If you like iced coffee, the one they serve at Vooruit in the summer months is also really good!)
In part two, I will tell you more about some of my favourite vegan places to go for lunch or dinner in Ghent. I hope you enjoyed this blog post and found it useful, whether you’re looking for a few nice hotspots in Ghent or considering going vegan. 🙂