Veganism is on the rise, not least in the student population on Haderslev campus. We met with two vegan students to learn more about local options for students on a plant-based diet — and for those of us who want to reduce our meat consumption.
On a sunny day in August, ESN representatives hosted a barbecue lunch on campus to welcome the new international class. The ubiquitous sausages were sizzling away on the grill, but alongside them were rows of golden corn on the cob. When asked to choose between a meat sausage or a vegan alternative ahead of the event, almost half of students had opted for the plant-based meal.
This should come as no surprise, as research conducted by retailer Coop and Vegetarforeningen found that 13 % of 15 to-34-year-olds in Denmark now stick to a vegetarian, vegan or flexitarian diet. But how doable is it to lead a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle in small-town Haderslev? We got the low-down from 28-year-old Gudjon, who studies sound design, and 22-year-old Hannah, who is training to become a teacher.
Question: There are no strictly vegan restaurants in Haderslev. Where might a vegan person go out for food?
Hannah: Pizza is a good option because the bread base is vegan anyway, so if you lose the cheese and choose a vegetarian topping then you’re good to go.
Gudjon: [Restaurant] Firenze does a really tasty vegetarian pizza with artichokes and peppers. Even without cheese it is delicious. Sushi is another go-to option because the vegetable rolls tend to be vegan also. Sushi Room and Mr Fish are both highly recommended.
H: I think generally restaurants around here are happy to make something specially for you if you ask for it. So there might not be any vegan options on the menu but they can tweak a dish and make it vegan for you if requested.
G: Yes, I found that, too..
H: Really though, the best place to eat vegan food in Haderslev is at my place, haha!
Q: Where does one pick up specialty vegan foodstuffs in Haderslev?
G: Nutritional yeast is number one and luckily you can order it from Matas.
H: You can? I get mine from Germany.
Q: What is it with nutritional yeast that is so awesome? I never tried it.
H: It adds this great umami flavour to any dish. I eat it every day.
G: Me too. I mean, I understand if people are put off by the name… ‘nutritional yeast’ sounds more like a disease than anything, haha! But it is a fantastic product. It has this cheesy, sort of savoury flavour that goes well with almost anything.
Q: Ok, but nutritional yeast aside, what other products do you buy and where?
G: Aldi has great tofu that is also budget-friendly.
H: I sometimes get frozen vegan pizzas from this brand called Naturli. You can buy them in Føtex or Meny.
Q: Is it expensive to follow a vegan diet?
H: If you stick with whole foods like vegetables, grains and pulses, then no. However, there are many ‘meat substitute’ products on the market, like vegan mincemeat, vegan sausages etc. and those are expensive. So, if you rely heavily on those kinds of products then the vegan diet is more expensive, yes.
Q: On a scale of 1–5, how vegan-friendly would you say Haderslev is?
G: I would say 3,5 because even though there are options for eating out in Haderslev, there is definitely room for improvement.
H: Yeah, I agree. Vegan food products could be more accessible, too.
G: One thing is the accessibility of foods, but I also think vegan-friendliness has something to do with how you are regarded by the community. And I feel that the attitude here is a bit like… ‘stop whining, we have always drunk milk here!’, you know?
H: In my experience, people are more tolerant of people with food intolerances (gluten intolerance, lactose intolerance) than they are of vegans. We are thought of as ‘extreme’. I don’t understand the antagonism against vegans. We are not harming anyone — on the contrary! We are only trying to do good towards the animals and the planet.
Q: What is your signature dish?
G: I make a nice pizza with thinly sliced potatoes on top. I also cook dhal very often. It is very easy to make and versatile, too — you can throw in any vegetables you have to hand. I find that vegan cooking is easier to freestyle than conventional cooking, because when you cook without meat or eggs there are no food safety hazards.
H: Yes! Case in point: I made these brownies today and technically they are under-baked because I left the oven too cold, but they are still delicious (my flatmate said so) and you can eat them without worrying that you will get sick as there aren’t any eggs in them.
Q: And what’s your signature dish?
H: I make the best vegan cheese sauce in the world!
Q: Really! What is it made of?
H: Plant milk, tapioca starch and…
Q: Wait, don’t tell me…
H: … nutritional yeast. Of course!
By Lisbeth Burich