I Went To Helsinki To Try The McVegan Burger | Travel

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McVegan Burger Helsinki

Okay, so I didn’t exactly book a trip to Finland specifically to try their vegan McDonald’s burger (it was actually so that my mum could meet her pen friend – how cute?!), but it was certainly high on my list of priorities when we got there.

It didn’t take long to find of course and was all sorts of mind blowing. Just seeing something called ‘McVegan’ on the menu felt so bizzare when in the UK all we can manage is a dry bean burger without mayo. It tasted amazing too – from what I remember, it was pretty much identical to a ‘normal’ Big Mac, with vegan mayo and sauces thrown in. Pretty sure I’ve been craving this ever since!

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I know that the subject of eating in McDonald’s at all can be quite controversial in the vegan community, however personally I am a firm believer of supply and demand. Yes, in an ideal world I would love to be able to buy my food and eat solely from local, independent vegan stores and restaurants who hold the same values as me. Unfortunately, that is almost impossible right now, for geographical reasons as well as the cost involved. The best thing we can all do is to show demand for vegan options where we can. We’ve seen over the last few years how much this has affected the vegan food market – it’s expanded so rapidly and it keeps on going. There’s a vegan option in most restaurants now and supermarkets are expanding their plant-based ranges weekly. These little choices we make each day are truly making a difference, and if that means by purchasing a McDonald’s every so often then so be it.

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As well as the McVegan, there seemed to be absolutely loads of vegan options in and around Helsinki. Even in the local supermarket opposite our air b’n’b I found vegan magnums, Oatly ice cream, ‘pepporoni’ pizza, seitan sausages and more. We actually ate dinner in the flat most nights because it certainly isn’t a cheap city, however there was no shortage of vegan cafes to enjoy in between touristing. Their go-to dairy alternative seemed to be Oatly, which was more than fine with me!

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Aside from eating, we spent most of our time on foot walking around and taking in the city. It’s such a clean and chilled out place – especially compared to somewhere like London. Meeting my mum’s pen friend of over 40 years (yes, really) was amazing and she told us all about what it’s like to live there. I would adore the long summer days when the sun literally doesn’t go down but not sure I could handle the dark winters! Most people have saunas in their homes (we had one in our air b’n’b – bonus!), which I suppose helps a little bit.

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Tallinn, Estonia

We also had time to visit Tallinn, Estonia for the day and we spent our six hours in Old Town, which was absolutely stunning. It is like as a fairytale come to life, with stone buildings, cobbled streets, colourful walls and tall spires. Certainly the most beautiful town I have ever seen. For lunch we stumbled across a cosy vegan restaurant, V, where I enjoyed some delicious tacos. I even found a vegan bakery and couldn’t resist a chocolate cinnamon bun for the ferry home.

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I loved my five days in Finland so much and would absolutely go back again, even if just to taste that delicious McVegan burger once more. However if they could bring it to the UK that would be even better! Here’s hoping.

💚🌱

A Long Weekend In Dublin | Travel

Wicklow Mountains
Wicklow Mountains
A Long Weekend In Dublin – Wicklow Mountains

During the last Bank Holiday in May I was lucky enough to spend a long weekend in Dublin, Ireland’s largest city.

I had visited once before but not as a vegan. In fact, this was my first time abroad since joining the V Gang. I was excited but nervous! Soon enough I realised there was no need to be though as before we even boarded the plane I found a delicious breakfast at Gatwick’s Grain Store Cafe & Bar. All I had to do was swap my eggs for more beans (because there’s no such thing as too many beans, right?)

Grain Store & Cafe breakfast
A Long Weekend In Dublin – Grain Store & Cafe breakfast

Being a city, there is obviously a huge number of chain restaurants and shops around Dublin city centre, making things much easier. I enjoyed a Nando’s (veggie burger, no mayo), Papa John’s (veggies, no cheese), pasta from Zizzi’s new vegan menu and more Tayto crisps than I can count.

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Aside from the well-known chains however, I was pleasantly surprised by what I could find. Walking round the side streets we stumbled across Cornucopia, an adorable veggie cafe with a delicious and cheap vegan breakfast. I’d have loved to have eaten here more than once if we’d had the time.

Cornucopia breakfast
A Long Weekend In Dublin – Cornucopia breakfast

One thing that I did notice about breakfasts was that baked beans were not a thing. In England, if you go anywhere for a hot breakfast you’re bound to find beans but not in Dublin it seems! Our hotel had limited vegan options but I brought some soya cartons in the local Spar so I could have some tea and cereal, which made a huge a difference. Veggies and toast became my staple breakfast for the weekend.

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A Long Weekend In Dublin – Adapted hotel breakfast
Breakfast at Metro Cafe
A Long Weekend In Dublin – Metro Cafe breakfast

As the soya cartons demonstrate, if there’s one very important thing I’ve learnt in the past year it’s that preparation is key. One day we took a trip to the Wicklow Mountains which was incredible but I made sure I took my own snacks – Pringles, rice cakes and Nakd bars, the usual vegan life savers. The country pub we stopped at for lunch in the middle of nowhere was unsurprisingly not vegan friendly but they had chips and chips are great, especially after you’ve been walking all day.

Pringles at the Wicklow Mountains
A Long Weekend In Dublin – Pringles with a view

Arguably the most exciting thing I found whilst walking through the city streets was a sign for vegan donuts. Don’t worry, I had to do a double take too. Naturally, I had to go in and buy three – just to keep demand up y’know. I can confirm that they were INCREDIBLE. The Rolling Donut, I salute you. Oh how I wish we had these in England.

The Rolling Donut
A Long Weekend In Dublin – The Rolling Donut

Even long weekends go far too quickly for my liking and before I knew it it was time to leave one of my favourite cities. My first experience as a vegan abroad was an extremely successful one and it just made me love the place even more. I hope it’s not too long before I can visit again.

I love everything about this city; the food, the friendly people and the amazing views. I’m just still trying to decide whether it’s a good thing that whiskey and Guinness are vegan. My heart says yes but my head definitely says no.🌱