It is Veganuary! All over the world, the vegan message is being spread, for health, environmental and ethical reasons, and we at Follow Me are delighted to be a part of that. For that reason, we are honored to present a guest post by Corina Onet from Chef’s Pencil, about the rise of veganism in Iceland. We thank Corina for the wonderful article, and invite you to check out the study on Chef’s Pencil, about veganism in Iceland.
Iceland Tops World Rankings for Veganism Popularity
Veganism might not be something that you would usually associate with Iceland, so it’s a surprise to most that Iceland’s vegan scene is thriving. According to a recent study published by foodie website Chef’s Pencil, Iceland tops the world’s rankings for veganism popularity.
The study was based on vegan-related search data derived from Google Trends, a tool that lets you analyze the popularity of a search category – in this case, veganism (i.e. vegan recipes, vegan restaurants, vegan diet) – across the globe. According to Google Trends, on a per capita basis, Iceland outranks vegan powerhouses such as the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and even the United States.
So what is the story behind the data? Are vegan-related Google searches made out of curiosity or are Icelanders truly that much into veganism?
A Short Vegan History of Iceland
A few years back Iceland was pretty much a vegan desert, but that has started to change thanks to the efforts of some incredibly dedicated people. Meet Linnea Hellström, Head Chef and Owner of Veganæs, an all-vegan restaurant in Reykjavik and Ragnar Freyr, the creator of the Vegan Iceland app.
Yes, Iceland has a vegan app where you can check out all places serving vegan food on the island, including recommendations, reviews, and directions. The app is available for both IOS and Android and has over 3,500 active users.
Ragnar says that 160 restaurants are registered on the app and another 60 will be added soon. That’s an amazingly high number given the size of Iceland. The app started as a sole list on Medium.com documenting the vegan scene in Iceland, which grew in popularity and was turned into a highly useful app for the local vegan community and tourists visiting the island.
As well as Ragnar, Linnea Hellström has surfaced as one of Iceland’s most fervent vegan ambassadors. Linnea moved to Iceland from Sweden seven years ago, and back then Iceland didn’t have much of a vegan community. Linnea wanted to change that and she worked hard to convince many restaurant owners to add vegan dishes to their menus.
Linnea did a fantastic job, so much so that she led the opening of the first all-vegan place in Iceland – Kafe Vinyl (their menu changed recently and it’s no longer 100% vegan). Linnea didn’t stop there. She opened her own all-vegan restaurant called Veganæs, which serves some of the best vegan dishes on the island.
Let’s round up some of the best places for vegans in Iceland.
Best Vegan Places in Iceland
Address: Tryggvagata 22, 101 Reykjavík
For Linnea, vegan burgers are the holy grail of the vegan diet. Get this right and you will make your clients happy. And that’s what she did. This small vegan diner has the absolute best vegan burgers in town, according to Vegan Iceland app.
The most popular vegan burger on the menu is the Spicy Seitanic Black Bean Burger, which was named Best Vegan Burger in Iceland. So go to Veganaes to pay tribute to Iceland’s top vegan ambassador and eat the best burger in town.
Address: Bæjarlind 2, 201 Kópavogur
If you are into pizza, make sure not to miss this pizza joint in Kopavogur, Iceland’s second largest city. There are seven vegan pizzas on the menu, plus vegan breadsticks filled with vegan cheese.
Íslenska Flatbakan’s top seller is the “the fresh one” made with vegan cheese, dades, garlic, ruccola, red onion, tomatoes, and spicy vegan mayo, according to Valli Gunnlaugsson, the owner of Íslenska Flatbakan. The place offers a large variety of toppings for vegan pizzas, which is a huge plus.
Address: Laugavegur 20b, 101 Reykjavík
Gló has a few establishments on the island and one of their places has been turned into an all-vegan restaurant. It is located in a central location of Reykjavik. There are lots of dishes on the menu ranging from salads and soups to seitan burgers, as well as desserts such as vegan tiramisu.
Address: Grandagarður, 101 Reykjavík
How about a vegan ice cream? If you fancy one, head toward Grandi harbor. They always have a few delicious vegan ice cream options.
Address: Syðra-Laugaland efri
Akureyri 601 Akureyri
If you visit northern Iceland, check out Silva hráfæði. It’s a restaurant offering vegan and vegetarian dishes and has magnificent views of the Icelandic countryside. The menu includes vegan soups, tortilla, vegan burgers, as well as vegan curry.
Address: 1 2. hæð,, Veltusund 1, 101 Reykjavík
This is a tapas bar in downtown Reykjavik that offers lots of delicious vegan options.