Going Vegan at ‘Barrio Cantina’ – Food Truck Festival in Antwerp

If you’re close to Antwerp and still looking for something to do this Sunday, I might just have a fun foodie tip for you.

Last Friday opened its doors (figuratively speaking because there are no doors and no cover fee) Barrio Cantina, a food trucks and street food festival. Its being hosted at the Scheldekaaien in Antwerp which worked out as an amazing venue, adding a cool and trendy atmosphere to the event.
I was fed, had fun and took some photos – it’s been a while since I blogged over a food happening and this one was so unique I just had to.

My first contact with a food truck here in Belgium was a year go in Brussels when I met Jean-Baptiste from Keep on Toasting. Back then I remember asking myself why aren’t there more of these in here?
One year later and there’s a hangar full of the most exotic, visually attractive and creative food trucks I’ve seen and I was ready to try everything… everything VEGAN out!

Mission: Find me some vegan food at Barrio Cantina
I was already going with a bit of skepticism since street food tends to be fast and not usually vegan-friendly but I luckily found at least two spots I can recommend.

I didn’t have to walk long before I found Lulu’s Tribal Kitchen. I knew chances were really high that whichever vegan food I’d find would be from Asian origin and I was right.
This couple serves two plant-based options: Naga Dahl (lentils-based) and a mixed vegetables curry which I got treated to (thanks for feeding me!). Party in my mouth, rich in flavors, they do know how to spice up their dishes. The curry is served with some sticky white rice and you can top it with fried or chopped green onions.
Aside from the food truck, they also offer home cooking and catering services (and the sweetest and friendliest smiles). Find them on Facebook for more info: Lulu’s Kitchen.

Not really a vegan tip, but definitely worth mentioning…
After this plate I was in need of a drink when I came across a sign reading Tea Cocktail, I had to try this out, huge tea-lover right here.
There were the ladies from THEES pouring me a super refreshing iced tea blend with tons of cardamom which I totally adore (the full blend includes: hibiscus, cinnamon, cardamom, clove, orange and lemon).
If you can’t make it to the festival to try it out, they also have an online shop at thees.be and a store at the Mechelsesteenweg 161, 2018 Antwerp. (Facebook: Thees.be)

Aside from this vegan/vegetarian sneak peek, of course you’ll be able to find tons of other different foods: going from meat balls, fish burgers and hot dogs to insects in a stick! No kidding, there’s that too.
Barrio Cantina is still open today until midnight, so don’t miss this chance to check it out and try out everything your belly can fit.
Leaving you some more impressions, que disfruten su Domingo!

Going Vegan (Part 3): Vegan for a month, what now?

It took me at least two years to gather enough (cooking) experience, courage and information to help convince myself to become a vegetarian – but it only took six months to go vegan.

After having successfully adapted to a vegetarian diet, I thought to myself: “Why not go all the way out and try out veganism? You’d only have to give up a handful ingredients, can’t be that difficult”.
Not the best-founded argument out there, but this is what I kept telling myself before making the decision. Of course the fact that dairy products tend to feel heavy on my stomach helped, but I was struggling when it came to eggs. Once more I told myself it’s just one small thing to give up and if it doesn’t work out I can always go back to being a vegetarian.

This is when I launched my July Vegan Challenge and blogged about my experience.

Honestly, the transition felt pretty natural. If I observe my recipe posts before starting the challenge, they had all been vegan-friendly for a couple months, it’s like my mind was subconsciously asking or preparing for it.

The whole thing kicked off in an amazing way!

The moment I posted on my social media outlets that I was going vegan, I was flooded by supportive messages from regular followers as well as people I had never heard of before. It’s as if I had unlocked access to this lovely vegan people community and everyone was happy to welcome me and help me make this as easy and fun as possible.

Even though adaptation to this diet was pretty smooth, a couple things did slightly change (all in a positive way).

I was already a label-reading freak, but now I had to take it a lot further and polish my ingredients knowledge some more since now I had to filter out some things I didn’t have to before (planning on writing a post about label reading some time as well).

I now carry a lunch box with me most of the time just to make sure I have at least one proper meal when I’m planning on spending most of the day out (or at work). I prefer having something to rely on than leaving it to luck to find a restaurant serving vegan food (happy to see them slowly making an appearance on the map though). Fortunately, this has become a fun habit since I have to come up with meal ideas that I can easily carry.

My cooking has been injected a lot more colors and creativity.
I’m re-discovering vegetables and spices, some of which I had never used before. I’ve narrowed down the foods that I eat so better make the best out of those I still consume.

Fruit is where it’s at!
Sometimes I might be short on time to bake myself some vegan treats so I’ve noticed that I end up snacking a lot more fresh fruit (read bananas) which has resulted in a slight preference for these instead of pastries or other flour-based desserts.

This week marks two months and a half since I went vegan and I have no plans of going back. The stories and information I’ve shared over this Going Vegan series of posts are more than enough reason for me to keep it up. I believe that by giving up meat I’m contributing to make this a fairer world for every single creature living on it and that thought makes me quite happy.

Closing off the go green rambling – hope you enjoyed my testimony and found some interesting food for thought in it.
Now, let’s bring back the recipe sharing on my next post, stay tuned!

Read “Going Vegan” Parts 1 and 2 here:
1. (Part 1): From Omnivore to Vegan
2. (Part 2): Green Activism!