Hello there. We wanted to write a blog post so we can update you on some of the things we have been working on for the past few months, and also to say welcome to 2019! We think it’s going to a year where we find ourselves with even more vegan options to choose from in stores and restaurants, and we also have a sneaky suspicion that loads more people are going to start eating more plant based (and maybe even go vegan) this year too! Last year veganism was a hot topic in the Norwegian and international press, and as well as a lot of sensationalistic articles, and dumb clickbaity stuff, there was some genuinely interesting debate around the way we treat animals, and the benefits of a vegan diet on health and the environment. We were lucky enough to be interviewed for Aftenposten’s Innsikt magazine in November’s special vegan issue, and we must say we thought it was such a balanced and well rounded piece of journalism. We hope to see more stuff of this journalistic standard when the topic of veganism is broached in the media in the future.
Vegan Norway is an app designed by me (Sally) and coded by the lovely and talented developer: Christian. Every Sunday we meet up somewhere in Oslo (usually at a place we are thinking of adding to the app) and work on all the tech stuff we need to do. This work ranges from boring stuff like figuring out the costs of running the app on our servers, to really fun stuff like designing and developing new features. The list of features we want to include in the app is so long, and seeing as there is only two of us we have to be strict with our time, and really prioritise what to work on next.
Top of our priority list is making it easier to find different kinds of places. With so many places in our app now, we know it can be difficult to choose which place to go to, or find somewhere that has something specific on the menu. So, a while ago we made a list of tags that relate to cuisine type (for example: Indian, Morrocan, or Italian), specific ingredients or dishes (like tofu, burgers, or sushi) and even stuff like whether a place has wifi or gluten free options.
We started to work our way through our database of hundreds of places, adding the appropriate tags to each place and ‘beefing’ up our metadata, and then we begun to work on how this new data can be translated into a filtering feature in the apps with some initial designs and sketches.
Before that feature is ready though, we saw a quick way to improve the filter feature in the current app. Soon we will release a new version with two new ways of filtering the map/list of places. One of them is for checking out new and updated places which is particularly useful for people who just want to try out all the new vegan friendly restaurants on the scene. The other one hides all the places that are currently closed from your results which we think will definitely come in handy when you need to find somewhere that does a vegan kebab at 3am!
We are almost ready to release this feature to our beta testers, and if it all checks out ok, we can put it out there in the wild! We hope you like it and find it useful, we think it makes finding places to eat and shop even easier.
There are quite a lot of new places in the app, almost too many to fit into this blogpost, so we thought we would highlight three of our faves. We would like to add here that we get so many tips about places with vegan options in Oslo, but not so many in Bergen, Trondheim or Stavanger. So if you live in those cities and know we are missing places from our app, please let us know!
Vegans are in for a massive treat when they come to visit U'MAMY. They have created a bunch of vegan dishes inspired by traditional tastes. On the menu you will find aubergine dish inspired by the flavours of picked herring with marinated onions, plum and mustard seeds (89,-), and another dish inspired by smoked salmon blini (95,-) which includes roasted and smoked carrots on a blini with sunflower sour cream! You can also get vegan 'meatcakes' served with potato cakes and a rich tomato sauce (169,-) and a delicious wiener schnitzel served with potatoes and cabbage for 159,-. For dessert try their millet cake which is served with plums, soy milk and vanilla. Delicious!
Oslo, Bergen & Stavanger
Waynes Coffee is a nice Scandinavian coffee chain, we think it's a good place to pop to on your lunch break, or to catch up with friends at the weekend. They have a range of plant milks with which to make cappuccinos or lattes here including oat, soy and coconut, as well as a bunch of other juices and drinks to choose from. They have recently started to include vegan wraps, bagels and salads which include Oumph as the protein! The selection may vary from day to day, but they always try to have some vegan options on offer. Personally, we are big fans of Oumph! Its a vegan protein made from sustainably sourced soy and we think it's got a great taste and texture. If you have never tried it before, maybe give it a go!
Is this the best falafel in Oslo? It might just be your favourite once you try the King Falafel Spesial; a falafel wrap which also contains aubergine, hummus, and vegan dressings (75kr) They only use vegan dressings here actually, so whatever you order you are safe! You can also order hummus by the box here, and it’s so cheap: - huge box for only 120kr.
I’ll get to the point and try not to make this too mushy or personal; I’m pregnant! Yep, there is going to be a little Vegan Norway baby! My partner Nick and I are so looking forward to welcoming the new addition to our family, and have been preparing for it for a long time. So if you have noticed that we haven’t been as active on social media and stuff, now you know why. It’s been a bit tough to deal with the morning sickness and exhaustion that pregnancy brings so I prioritised updating the app over social media, and will probably continue to do the same during my parental leave, I’ll always prioritise time with my family first, but post when I have the energy and time.
I’m really happy to say that so far I have had a normal and healthy pregnancy and I’m expecting (and hoping for) things to continue that way with the birth and beyond! I have found that my doctor and midwife have been very supportive and positive towards my vegan diet throughout the pregnancy and have found that trusted medical resources such as Hepla, Helsenorge and the NHS all have resources for veggie mums like me on there.
For any other vegan parents, or vegan parents-to-be out there in Norway I would really recommend joining the Facebook group ‘Vegansk Barneprat’. I have found it to be a really good resource where vegan and veggie parents discuss everything from where to buy baby appropriate vitamins, to what the most eco-friendly brand of diapers are.
I’m looking forward to 2019. It’s going to be a really good year!