Melbourne: Must Do’s For 20-Somethings

FeaturedMelbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

A 20-Something Travel Bucket-List for Melbourne, Australia

Visiting a city like Melbourne can be really overwhelming if you’re pushed for time. With its fantastic coffee culture, quirky hidden bars and an ever-growing calendar of events to go to, it’s easy to see why Melbourne’s voted one of the worlds most livable cities time and time again. After having lived and worked here for a few months on my Working Holiday, I’ve totally fallen in love with the lifestyle here. However, if you don’t have quite as long to explore, I’ve written this list of things you absolutely must do if travelling to Melbourne.

1. Eat cheap Dumplings in Chinatown

You haven’t done Melbourne until you’ve ordered a plate of steaming hot dumplings in Chinatown. Thanks to the cities huge Chinese population, there are countless places to eat dumplings throughout the city and they needn’t cost more than $10 a portion. Steamed, fried, pork or prawn, whatever your favourite, be sure to treat yourself to some of these delicious balls of dough.  Aside from Chinatown, you could also give the dumplings at Shandong MaMa Mini a go and tick off food and an iconic Melbourne Laneway all in one sitting.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

2. Watch a Movie on a rooftop (or in the Botanical Gardens)

I was going to try and pick just one of these quirky cinemas to suggest in this post but I just couldn’t pick. Firstly there’s the rooftop cinema, located on the top floor of a tall building on Swanston Street. With its deckchairs, cocktail bar and fantastic city views, this impressive place would be an ideal place for a date that dreams are made of.

Secondly, the Moonlight Cinema is another fantastic outdoor cinema, only this one is located in the heart of the Botanical Gardens. Ideal for a chilled evening with friends, this cinema is only around for the summer and shows well-known movies every night. Be sure to bring a picnic mat, some blankets and plenty of snacks.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

3. Spend Wednesday evening at the Queen Vic Night Market

Wednesday nights in Melbourne are for the Queen Vic Night Market. During Summer this popular Melbourne market extends its opening hours and packs full of street food vendors, boutique stalls, live music and other pop-ups. There’s an eclectic mix of food showcasing the best of what the city has to offer with everything from Polish dumplings and mini pavlovas to halloumi fries and juicy bao buns to choose from. Be sure to grab a Gin and Tonic from one of the pop-up bars and get stuck in.

4. See the Weekend off at a Day Party

Saturday nights are for going, Sundays are for day parties. Day Parties are a big thing at the weekend in Melbourne and are essentially a continuation of Saturday nights fun. Bottomless brunch, Aperol Spritzes and live music are essential. The most famous of all weekend party destinations? The ESPY, with weekend brunch from 10 and the best of live music gigs most evenings.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

5. Bring a book to the State Library of Victoria

The State Libray of Victoria is one of my favourite places to spend a quiet afternoon in the city. This beautiful building is well known as one of the most photogenic places in Melbourne because of its stunning interior. It’s free to enter and with its wifi and plenty of desk space, there could be no nicer place to bring a book and relax.

6. Have a drink on all floors of the Carlton Club

The Carlton Club is one of those Melbourne Bars that I’ll never get bored of. Located right in the heart of the city, the Carlton Club has loads of differently themed quirky bars on each floor. From the Carlton bar with its eclectic decor of huge wild animal sculptures to the Hasti Bala jungle themed room, this crazy place isn’t your usual spot for Friday night drinks. My favourite is the Palmz rooftop bar on the top level with affordable drinks and crazy views of the city skyline.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

7. Be a hipster in Fitzroy

Located just a short tram ride out of the city centre, Fitzroy is a must visit area in the city when it comes to eating and drinking. Known as the cities hipster area, Fitzroy is a popular place for 20-Somethings due to its many bars, vegan/ brunch style restaurants, its vintage clothes shops and vast street art. Popular places include Veggie Bar for vegan/vegetarian food, Naked in the Sky rooftop bar, Lune Croissanterie for the worlds best croissants as voted by Time out and Industry Beans for coffee.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

8. Get a Flat White Coffee

Melbourne is infamous for its love affair with coffee and it’s true when they say that it’s hard to find a bad cup of coffee in the city. The city is packed full of Independent speciality coffee shops and there’s hardly a Starbucks in sight. To order your coffee like a Melburnian ask for either a Flat White (with milk) or a Long Black. You can check out my list of favourite Melbourne cafes here. 

9. Indulge your sweet tooth at Brunetti

Ask a local where to get the best cake in Melbourne and they’ll give you one answer: Brunetti. Set up in Melbourne in 1985 by an Italian family, Brunetti has been serving up the most delicious and aesthetically pleasing cakes and pastries in the city ever since. Now the Italian cake shop has expanded to several locations over the city but its exceptional quality of cakes is still as highly regarded. So, whether it’s cheesecake, cream cakes, fresh pastries or tarts, if it’s dessert that you’re after then it has to be Brunetti.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

10. Philip Island Day Trip

Most people do the Great Ocean Road from Melbourne but another day trip that in my opinion is even better is Philip Island. This gorgeous island is located just 140km from the city and offers spectacular scenery. Spend the day driving around, taking coastal walks, stopping off at secluded beaches and spotting wild kangaroos. Philip Island really is a taste of the real Australia and the ultimate city break.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

11. Take your Insta’s at the Brighton Beach Bathing Boxes

While St Kilda Beach has got all the atmosphere, it’s hard to beat the colourful bathing boxes located on Melbourne’s Brighton Beach. Each unique in their own right, these bright little beach huts offer an explosion of colour on this sandy Melbourne beach making it easily one of the most photogenic places in the city. The best way to get there is by train from Flinders Station and then you can take the short coastal walk to St Kilda after and tram back from there.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

12. Hit the Arbory Afloat for Cocktail O’Clock

Arbory Afloat is one of my favourite Melbourne Bars. Located on a raft right on the river, this pop-up part of the Arbory bar is the nicest place to spend a sunny afternoon in Melbourne. It’s free to enter and offers affordable drinks, great music and unbeatable views of Southbank. Aperol Spritzes are obligatory.

Melbourne: Must Do's For 20-Somethings

13. Have the best Pizza in Melbourne at Lygon Street

Lygon Street in Carlton is Melbourne’s Little Italy and home to some of the best food in the city. Take a stroll along this street and be transported to Italy as you pass numerous Italian eateries offering alfresco dining and past locals tucking into mouthwatering plates of spaghetti. Lygon street is, of course, infamous for having the best pizza in the city with the best out of all of them being DOC Pizzeria. This popular eatery offers the very best artisan pizzas as well as a mozzarella bar in which you can sample cheese from all over Italy. (If you’re after something sweet for dessert, Pidapipo nearby has the best gelato in the city including Nutella sauce on tap).

I hope that this post has given you some Melbourne related inspiration. There are endless things to do in Melbourne as a 20-Something and even after spending a few months here, I’ve not covered half of the thing on my list. Stay tuned for more Melbourne related posts coming up on the blog soon.

What are your favourite things to do in Melbourne? Comment below to let me know. 

 

A 20-Something’s Travel Guide to Noosa

travel guide Australia noosa 20 something

Think long and hard; What’s your favourite place that you’ve ever been to while travelling? Chances are it wasn’t a typical ‘bucket list’ destination or even somewhere that you’d particularly wanted to go before. It might be the dirtiest Asian city but for some reason you found yourself amongst the chaos, or it might be the smallest beachside town with nothing to do but the people you met there really made it special.

Great places aren’t just great because of what’s there: You might be in the most beautiful place in the world but for some reason you’re just not feeling it. That’s why one person might love a place and the next person hates it.  To put it in a nutshell, it all comes down to a place’s vibes at the time that you’re there and for me, there were no bad vibes in Noosa.

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

Where is Noosa?

Noosa is a small beachside town on Australia’s East Coast. It’s often referred to as Byron Bay’s classier sister so think, chilled bars, fancy restaurants, speciality cafes and bohemian style shops. What I really liked about the town was its natural beauty. The beaches are stunning and there’s a fantastic coastal walk and other walking trails that you can do so it’s the perfect balance of civilisation and escapism. I’m not going as far to say that it’s my favourite place that I’ve been to but it was a place that I really felt connected to, primarily because I went into holiday mode there so spending a few days walking, swimming and loosening my budget was a nice little break from just being a ‘backpacker’.

travel guide Australia noosa 20 something

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

Noosa National Park Coastal Walk 

There’s not really a lot to do in Noosa so I won’t write a whole, ‘things to do post’. But like I said, the coastal walk through the national park is fantastic and really worth doing: Don’t let the hot weather put you off. The walk is around 7k in length is paved most the way so it’s really easy to do in flip-flops. There are loads of lookouts and opportunities to stop along the way so bring your swimming stuff and some lunch and make a day out of it.

My highlights included Alexandra Bay which is a really lovely, long beach to chill on and also spotting wild dolphins swimming from one of the viewpoints. We had planned on going to the Fairy Pools too, which are little tidal pools that you can bathe in, but we somehow managed to walk past them and were too tired to turn around. Ce’est la vie.

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

 

travel guide australia noosa 20 something

Other suggestions for Noosa: 

Accommodation: We stayed in Nomads Hostel in Noosa. It was really good with a nice pool, bar/club and its only a 10 minute walk from the bus station and 10 minutes from the beach.

Veggie/vegan food: 

Grill’d: Grill’d do fantastic veggie/ vegan burgers with vegan cheese, mayo etc and it’s fairly cheap for food out.

Acai Brothers: I only stopped here for coffee but there grab and go acai bowls looked great for to take to the beach.

A taste of Spice: This restaurant didn’t look like much from its decor but it was such a hidden gem. It’s an Asian fusion restaurant serving takeaway and dine in food with really cheap prices. The veggie Pad Thai was one of the best I’ve had outside of Thailand.

 

Goc Ha Noi Review, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Goc Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Goc Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

Goc Ha Noi in Ho Chi Minh City is a cafe that really stands out from the crowd. Located at the end of a little alleyway, stepping into this cozy Vietnamese tea room and coffee shop is like travelling back in time. Everything here is happily stuck in the past from the old photos on the wall, to the furnishings and the traditional tea and coffee menu. It’s like visiting your grandmother’s house, only Vietnamese style.

The Location

The cafe is located at the end of an alleyway in the tourist centre of Ho Chi Minh city at 165/3 Bui Vien Street, Pham Ngu Lao Ward.

The Decor 

Goc Ha Noi’s decor is old-fashioned Vietnamese style. The staff are absolutely lovely and the cafe has a really relaxed, low-key vibe making it feel really homely. Everything is a little mismatched from the black and white photos on the wall to the bookshelves and all of the little seating areas. It’s surprisingly spacious inside and packs quite a few seats in making it the ideal place to spend an afternoon.Goc Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City VietnamGoc Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City VietnamGoc Ha Noi, Ho Chi Minh City Vietnam

The Menu

If you’re after a traditional Vietnamese egg coffee (which is so much nicer than it sounds) then this cafe is the place to get it, however they have lots of other drinks too like Vietnamese milk coffee and teas. You can also get pho soup there and surprisingly, a lot of things on toast. I went for the iced jasmine tea set which came with a selection of traditional Vietnamese cakes including a really tasty little bean cake, something the lovely woman who ran it told me she used to have at her grandmothers when she was younger but it had fallen out of popularity now.

The Prices 

Prices in this cafe are very average for a place that’s aimed at tourists with drinks prices being around £1.30 for a coffee or 40,000 dong and food starting at 50,000/ £1.60.

https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Restaurant_Review-g293925-d11827161-Reviews-Goc_Ha_Noi-Ho_Chi_Minh_City.html

Nola Cafe Review, Hanoi, Vietnam

Featured

Anyone that knows me will be aware that I am a huge coffee addict. I love going to cafes and taking the time to meet a friend or spend an hour by myself enjoying a coffee and slowing down. Having a coffee feels indulgent but not excessive, it adds structure to an empty day or reflection in a busy one, it picks you up, it calms you down, it’s a chance to be social or to get lost in your own thoughts and wherever you are in the world, no matter how different the place is, a coffee shop is a coffee shop and that’s a comforting thought.

I’m writing up a list of reviews on my favourite coffee shops that I’ve been to around the world for a new section on my blog so here’s the first one: a review of quirky Vietnamese Nola Cafe in Hanoi. Hope you guys enjoy reading about these cafes as much as I did visiting them.

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe Hanoi

Nola Cafe, Hanoi

I didn’t realise how big of a thing coffee was in Vietnam before I went but this South East Asian country is the ultimate destination for coffee lovers with no end of intriguing and alternative coffees and an endless choice of quirky cafes to drink them in.

In a city as wonderfully chaotic as Hanoi, coffee shops are the one place you can go to escape from the madness and I don’t think I found another place on my trip that was as serene and tranquil as Cafe Nola. Hiding in plain sight with an entrance through a narrow alleyway in the heart of Hanoi’s Old Quarter,  I would have easily missed Cafe Nola if I hadn’t been looking for it.

The Location

Nola Cafe is located at 89 Pho Ma May, Hang Buom near the Hoan Kiem lake. It’s probably best to plug the address in Google Maps as it’s tricky to find.

I’d read about this cafe in my Lonely Planet guidebook that I’d been religiously carting round the country with me so I assumed that the cafe would be full of guidebook loving travellers but I was the only person there.

The Decor

If like me, you’re partial to posting a few Instagram’s then the arty decor of this cafe will win you over. Undoubtedly, getting up to the actual seating area of the cafe was a bit of a workout as I had to climb a steep, narrow flight of stairs to get there but once I did it opened up into a beautiful, wild overgrown garden and outdoor seating area covered with multi coloured patterned umbrellas, little lanterns and dotted with mismatched furniture.

Despite it’s location in the centre of the city, all of the noises integral to the city like beeping motorbike horns were silenced and all I could hear were the sounds of birds chirping.  As someone on their first solo backpacking trip, this little sanctuary was just the mental escape that I needed for an hour or two from the fast paced city.

The Menu

Cafe Nola offers food as well as drinks on its menu however it caters for tourists and food prices are higher than you’d pay in most restaurants and the food is less authentic so I’d recommend coming here just for coffee. Its drink selection is very westernised serving all the usual coffees that I’d have at home like a Flat White, Long black and cappuccino’s as well as smoothies and cocktails. I went for a black coffee and an iced sweet jasmine tea.

I preferred traditional Vietnamese coffees: they’re much more interesting, (you can read more about them on my coffee guide) but this cafe is more about the aesthetics (Let’s be honest, a cafe tucked up and alleyway with colourful umbrellas as a ceiling is always going to be aimed at photo seeking travellers, right?)

The Prices

Prices are high by Vietnamese standards but low in comparison to the UK with coffees averaging £2 and food around £3-£4 a dish.

Wagamama Brighton: New Vegan options

Wagamama is always a go to when it comes to eating dinner out with my friends because be it options for vegans, veggie, fussy eaters or carnivores, it’s one of the few places that is guaranteed to suit us all.

Yesterday was a rarity because me and my best friends were not only all back in Brighton at the same time but we also managed to coordinate a free evening so we decided to celebrate with a dinner trip to yours truly.

When it comes to eating I usually try to support independent businesses but I make an exception for Wagamama because its fusion Asian menu never fails to disappoint and in all honesty, I’m a little stumped when it comes to finding independent restaurants that are open for dinner in Brighton as most of my go-tos are brunch/ lunch places.

While I have my firm favourite dishes (the Raisukaree curry and the Yasai Yaki Soba noodles) I’ve made it my mission to work my way through the menu and when I was agonising over my options last night, what really stood out was the huge selection of vegan options on the menu.

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New vegan Cookmama

Wagamama has always had its fair share of veggie/vegan dishes; the Yasai Yaki Soba noodles, the Yasai Katsu Curry and the Kare Burosu Ramen but now on the Brighton menu are three new options.

The Cookmama

The dish that I was really drawn to was the Cookmama. Consisting of curried Udon noodles, with shichimi-coated tofu (oh wow) and crispy coconut ‘bacon’ (double wow) served with broccoli, cauliflower and shiitake mushrooms, the Cookmama was absolutely incredible and totally vegan. Apparently the dish is a product of a collaboration with king cook of the vegan restaurant, CookDaily in London so it was highlighted on the menu with a little star making it seem extra special.  For £9.50 the Cookmama is really good value and with the crispy tofu, it doesn’t ‘taste vegan’ so even the most carnivorous of people would love it. If you’re not a fan of spicy food then ask for it to be made a little milder as it is quite hot.

The Vegatsu

Also new to the menu is the vegatsu, a vegan Katsu curry which uses seitan ( like tofu) coated in crispy panco breadcrumbs and topped with the Katsu sauce so unlike the Yasai version which is based on fried aubergines and sweet potato, it’s a lot closer to the traditional chicken dish.  Personally I’ve never fancied the Katsu but I really appreciate that the restaurant has worked so hard to get an authentic vegan version of one of their most iconic dishes. This dish costs £10.75. 

The Harusame Glass Noodle Salad

If the hot weather has you wanting something a little lighter then Wagamama’s other new vegan dish, the harusame glass noodle salad might be for you. I first discovered glass noddle salads in Thailand in which thread thin rice noodles are mixed with fresh vegetables, sauces and served cold making for a really refreshing dish. The Wagamama  version is mixed with tofu, kale, edamame, adzuki beans, mange tout and carrots which looked really good and is definitely next on my list. This dish cost a reasonable £9.50

Overall I was really impressed with the new veggie/vegan options on the Brighton menu. Of course I can only vouch for the Cookmama (I had to fill out a little form after I  my meal and it was all 5/5s for me) so If  you’ve tried one of the other two options then let me know your thoughts.

Why Greece Is Great For Vegan and veggieTravellers

The Best vegetarian and vegan dishes that you need to try in Greece

Iman, Spanakopita, Gigantes and Gemista: Greek cuisine is one that’s packed full of Mediterranean vegetables, oil, beans, pulses and bread, making it one of the easiest countries to eat vegetarian or vegan in Europe.

You might think of the country’s meaty dishes when you think of Greek cuisine however Greece actually has tons of plant-based dishes too. Last summer I went Greek Island hopping ( I apologise that I’ve only written this post now) and when it came to eating we found it was the vegetarian dishes that were the tastiest, healthiest and also the cheapest.

Here are some of my favourite veggie and vegan dishes in Greece

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Humble beginnings:  The Greek salad (veggie)

Don’t ever think that a greek salad is boring. In Greece, a country where the tomatoes are so sweet they make a fantastic meal on their own when drizzled with olive oil and salt, a real greek salad is something else. There’s nothing I love more than ordering a big bowl of it with freshly chopped veg, salty capers, a glug of extra virgin oil and a big slab of feta on the top.

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Iman Baylidi

Imam Baylidi (Vegan/Veggie) 

The story behind the Imam dish is that an Islamic leader, an imam, tried the dish when visiting  Greece and it was so good that he fainted after he ate it. (I’m not sure if that’s true but either way I am a massive fan of this aubergine based dish). To make it large juicy aubergines are stuffed with tomatoes, onions, herbs and spices and then baked in a hot oven with loads of olive oil (Extra helpings of bread to mop up the juices is essential). It’s either served plain (vegan) or topped with feta.

Spanakopita and Tiropita (Veggie/ Vegan option)

Spanakopita is one of my favourite meals ever and it’s really cheap one too. This spinach and feta pie is a bakery staple and a big slab of this makes an ideal breakfast or lunch and will never set you back more than a couple of euros. The traditional version comprises of spinach and feta mixed together and binded in crispy filo pastry. Other variations include the nistismo version without cheese (which is totally vegan!) or Tiropita (just plain cheese and saves the awkwardness of having spinach stuck in your teeth maybe?)

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Gemista and Gigantes (vegan)

Gigantes (vegan)

Gigantes are traditional Greek baked beans (although they’re much better than tinned Heinz ones- sorry guys). Giant white beans are cooked in a rich tomato sauce with loads of diced vegetables and served with bread. In their traditional form these are completely vegan although some places add meat so just be sure to double-check.

Gemista (stuffed peppers) (vegan or veggie)

Gemista are essentially greek stuffed peppers and it is one of my favourite dishes to order in Greece as it’s really healthy, filling and generally very cheap. My favourite version is the traditional vegetarian/vegan one in which the peppers are stuffed full of a tomato flavoured rice, chopped vegetables and herbs. Some versions of gemista do contain meat so just make sure before you order.

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Pastitsio slice

Pastitsio (veggie)

I have memories of visiting my family in Cyprus when I was younger and tucking into a great big stodgy slab of cold pastitsio and I guarantee you that once you get the taste for this dish you’ll get what I’m talking about.  Pastitsio is a little like a hybrid between a Greek moussaka and a mac and cheese. It’s made out of tubed pasta (that looks like long macaroni tubes) and is baked with a white sauce flavoured with nutmeg before being cooled and cut into big slices. One of my absolute favourite dishes.

Vegetarian Moussaka (veggie)

Moussaka isn’t all about the meat you know. Most restaurants that I’ve eaten at do a vegetarian version of this greek staple dish and to be honest I think the substitution of vegetables for meat brings a welcome change to what can otherwise be quite a heavy dish. For the vegetarian dish, mediterranean vegetables are baked in the oven with a layer of tomato sauce and bechamel sauce on top. (A little like a lasagna but without the pasta).

 Aubergine Saganaki  (veggie) 

I got so obsessed with this meal in Greece that I kept making  it constantly when I got home. This dish comprises of melt in your mouth aubergines that are pre-cooked in olive oil and then layered with feta cheese and rich tomato sauce and baked in the oven. I don’t know if life gets much better than this with a glass of wine.

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Revithia sto fourno

Revithia sto forno (Vegan)

This greek dish of baked chickpeas isn’t widely known outside of the country however it’s a really good vegan dish to order when you’re out and even recreate at home as it only has a few ingredients: Chickpeas, olive oil, onions and rosemary which are all baked together in the oven and served with bread.

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A plate of Mezze

Mezze 

I love Greek Mezze. It’s the perfect solution to my food indecisiveness. You can order it in pretty much most restaurants and it comprises of lots of small dishes that you pile on your plate and eat with lots of bread and oil and the best thing is, there are loads of vegetarian options.

Veggie/ Vegan Mezze dishes you have to order: 

Dolmades (vegan): Dolmades are made by picking vine leaves and then stuffing them with tomato flavoured rice. They may sound a little odd but believe me, good dolmades are out of this world.

Kolokythokeftedes (Zucchini balls) (veggie) : I fell in love with these when I last had mezze in Greece and I couldn’t believe that I’d never had them before. For these soft courgette is mixed with salty feta and rolled into small balls and fried.

TomatoKeftedes (vegan or veggie):  Similar to above but with tomato instead. Also fantastic.

Saganaki (veggie) : Saganaki is the most self indulgent mezze dish and I can hardly resist ordering it every time it’s on the menu. For this,  salty Kefalograveria cheese is fried and served with lemon juice.

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Dips

‘Hold the Taramasalata’

Dips are big business in Greece and almost all of them apart from the pink coloured taramasalata (made with fish roe) are veggie. Here are some of my favourites.

Tzatziki (veggie) : What is a meal out in Greece without starting with a plate of tzatziki? I totally overdose of this garlic yoghurt and cucumber dip when I’m in Greece so much so that I’m usually already full by the time my meals comes. Real greek tzatziki made with thick greek yoghurt is so much better than the watery shop bought stuff you get at home.

Hummus (vegan): What vegan doesn’t love a plate of hummus? Luckily Greeks do too and you can usually find this on the menu in restaurants or at deli counters for a cheap lunch.

Olive tapanade (vegan) : Another vegan dip I love this fantastic puree of black kalamata olives spread on hard rusks or rustic village bread.

Fava (vegan): I laugh about the time when at 18, me and my friend found ourselves in a far too fancy restaurant and I pretended to totally know what the waitress meant when she asked if we liked Sanatorian fava.  However it turns out I really do like it and the great thing is it’s totally vegan. This popular dip is made by blending soft fava beans to a smooth paste (until it looks a little like hummus).

Melitzanoslata: (Vegan) This traditional Greek aubergine dip is completely vegan and a really great way to incorporate another vegetable into your diet. Aubergines are grilled until soft and then mixed with roasted garlic, lemon and seasonings.

 

 

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Sweets

Who needs to eat meat when all the fantastic sweets in Greece’s bakeries and restaurants are there to indulge in? I’ve listed a few of my favourites but feel free to check out my guide: Foodies guide: What to eat in a Greek bakery if you want to know more.

A couple of my favourite sweet treats are:

Baklava (veggie): Sickly sweet, fragrant, flaky and so indulgent, baklava is the ultimate sweet treat and there are so many variations on it. My favourite are the large triangular slabs made with layers of filo party binded with pistachios and drenched in honey and orange syrup.

Halva (Vegan or veggie): This sweet can be bought widely throughout Greece and the best thing about is that most versions of it are vegan (just be sure to double-check the ingredients). Traditionally halva is made from tahini, pistachios and honey so it’s free from refined sugar and actually a good source of protein too.

Loukamades (veggie): These are one of my guilty pleasures particularly if I’m visiting  Athens (where there are lots of vendors selling them with coffee). Loukamades are a type of mini round donuts served drenched in honey syrup with cinnamon and nuts or chocolate. Once you get the taste for them it’s impossible not to go back for more!BAF1DED7-C6E4-4497-9BC2-1A04AE7EF526.jpeg

There are many more vegan and vegetarian Greek dishes but these are my favourites and probably the most easy to find.  I really wanted to write this post because after searching on the internet I found it interesting that a lot of people still seem to think that veggie and vegan food is hard to come across in Greece.

I hope that I’ve shown you that finding plant based food is actually effortless and you can find plenty of options in any taverna or bakery so you don’t have to go and search out specific vegan friendly places either.

 

Amazing Veggie Food You Have To Try In Tulum, Mexico

I loved Tulum in Mexico so much, partly for its beaches, partly for the bike rides, partly for our hostel but overwhelmingly for the food. 

Before we got to Tulum we were a little disappointed with what Mexico’s Yucatan peninsula had to offer. After a week of travelling around Cancun and Playa Del Carmen what we’d seen of Mexico had in all honesty seemed a little tacky, Tulum had a lot riding on it.

Tulum: Sure it’s not that culturally enriching and it’s not that cheap but Tulum is one of the most hedonistic and bohemian beach side towns that I’ve ever visited and I loved it from the get go. Split into the main beach area and the town, days in Tulum are best spent renting bicycles and cycling along the beautiful beach road overgrown with greenery and spending your days hopping from one beach lounge to the next and of course eating, lot’s of eating.

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Ahau beach bar

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If like me, you’re an absolute sucker for every cafe and restaurant with food that promises to ‘nourish your body’ and swings to sit on while you drink green juice then you’ll find yourself in paradise in Tulum.

The best places to eat at in the day are the beach bars along the main road strip, and there’s plenty of them to choose from. Here are a few of my favourites.

The Raw Cafe at Ahau Beach Bar

Probably the most zen of them all is the Raw Love Cafe at Ahau Beach Bar. Just minutes walk away from the beachfront this cafe has everything from superfood smoothie bowls like the ‘chocolate dream’ with cacao, banana, maca, vanilla, dates and coconut milk to maki rolls, coconut milk lattes and raw desserts. (Everything on the menu is gluten-free too) .We both got two of the raw vegan cheesecakes, passionfruit and lime and strawberry and white chocolate flavour. Sure I would have loved a slab of normal cheesecake but like I said, I’m a sucker for all this stuff, and occasionally I like to indulge myself and buy into the dream.

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The Raw Love Cafe
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Vegan cheesecake? Yes please

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Taqueria La Eufemia

One of the best places we ate at was at the taqueria at La Eufemia beach bar. This taco restaurant was always packed but for good reason: The taco’s were incredible.

Like most places in Mexico, you order per taco, starting from just 20 pesos each ($1.30) each and I’d recommend ordering 2-4 depending on how hungry you are. We tried the veggie one, prawn and the grilled fish (which was my favourite). When the tacos came we went up to the bar and helped ourselves to toppings choosing from fresh herbs, onion, guacamole, fresh tomato sauce or sour cream. We also loved the fish ceviche (a salad with chopped white fish and vegetables) which was so fresh and citrusy.

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Pasha, Turkish and Arabic Cusine

One restaurant we stopped off at was Pasha and there couldn’t be a more ‘tulum’ restaurant than this. We had to pull up our bikes and stop for food here when we saw the hippie decor and low seats in this Turkish restaurant and it’s a good thing we did because the food was incredible.

There are tons of vegan and vegetarian options here and I could have eaten everything on the menu all day every day. The mezze platters looked especially fantastic.  Pasha does quite possibly the best falafel I’ve ever had as it was so fresh and fragrant. I went for the falafel pita which was fantastic. It came with tzatziki but you could have just substituted this for another dip to make it vegan.

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Amazing falafel at Pasha

Prieto cafe 

There are great restaurants and cafes everywhere in Tulum, not just at the beach. I loved Prieto cafe in the main town which we stopped in for coffee a couple of times. They did fantastic coffees and the Iced chai latte with coconut milk was particularly good.

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You really need to rent a bike to get around in Tulum. Unless you want to pay a small fortune and actually stay in one of the beach bars then you’ll end up staying in the main town which is really the best place to be in the evening anyway.

The other option is to take a taxi but it’s much more expensive and one of the most fun things was just cycling along the beach road and stopping off whoever we saw somewhere that looked good to eat.

I hope that this post has given you a taste of just how foodie a place Tulum is. Know any other fantastic vegan and vegetarian places in Tulum? Be sure to let me know.