Vegan Nom Noms Travels: Riga, Latvia

Oops, it’s been ages since I posted! I blame the full-time job again. I’ve mostly been in Berlin or visiting places I’ve already gone or blogged about, but I decided to check out a new place over the spring break holiday: Riga, Latvia!

I also couchsurfed for the first time in aaaaages and it was awesome! I’m totally reinspired, thanks so much to my lovely host! I was lucky enough to be hosted by another queer vegan in a 7-person vegan flatshare in Riga. There were lots of awesome people, good food and adorable cats involved. The benefit of having a vegan host is I immediately learned about the goldmine of vegan chocolate in Latvia. If you’re heading there soon, keep this post handy for your shopping!

One thing I found interesting about the architecture in Riga is that there’s a bunch of these wooden country house style houses between the regular city buildings.

IMG_6640Riga LAtvia Wooden Houses - Vegan Nom NomsWooden houses in Riga

Riga Latvia Wooden Houses - Vegan Nom NomsAnother wooden house mixed between the regular buildings in Riga

Okay, now you have the setting (sort of). Let’s talk about the food. First, the Central Market. I got really excited that I could buy knitted socks made by grannies there for €10 each (not pictured). Let’s talk about that.

Riga Central Market

Riga Central Market Peanut Halvah - Vegan Nom Noms

My greatest discover was peanut halvah. Holy crap, it’s good. I’m sure they have it somewhere in Berlin too, but I didn’t notice it until my host pointed it out. I’m not sure into regular halvah, so I never would have considered it. This stuff tastes like softer butterfinger filling (or chick-o-stick). So yum. I got the kind with extra peanuts in it, but they had ones with raisins and stuff too.

Riga Central Market Vegan Eggplant Rice Noodle Rolls - Vegan Nom NomsMy host also pointed out these eggplant rice noodle roll ups. They were yummy and vegan!

Riga Central Market Pickled Things

There is lots of picked stuff to be had! I got some pickled string beans that were yummy. There was tons of different picked cabbage, one that was curry-flavored too. They’ll usually let you try it if you ask nicely (or gesture nicely).

Riga Central Market Russian Pastry Place - Vegan Nom Noms

Another good tip from my host was this Russian pastry stand. They have two filled savory pastries that are accidentally vegan. A spinach and a pumpkin one. We got the spinach.

Riga Central Market Russian Spinach Pie - Vegan Nom NomsAccidentally vegan Russian spinach-filled pastry

IMG_6662Dark chocolate bar with toasted hemp seeds

There’s a cool guy with a stand with hemp products outside. The dark chocolate bar is vegan and it’s filled with toasted hemp seeds. Make sure not to get the white chocolate by mistake. I never had toasted hemp seeds before, but they are yummy!

Not-pictured: My host also took me to get some Kvass. This is Russian (Riga’s population is 40% Russian and it shares a border with Russia). This is a non-alcoholic drink that’s like a semi-sweet beer. I wasn’t into it from the description, but I actually really liked it and it wasn’t *too* sweet. I think it would be really nice to sip on a warm day!

Restaurants and Cafes

MiiT Cafe

Address: Lāčplēša iela 10

So I started a programming course on Coursera and it has a lot of homework. I needed somewhere to get it done, and I was recommended MiiT Cafe. Not only do they have free wifi with no password and outlets, they have great coffee, lots of table space and vegan food! You need to ask what’s vegan because it’s not labeled, but there’s a lot and they speak English and definitely know what vegan is. I liked that there were other people on laptops and a back room away from the hussle and bussle. They also do brunch on Sundays, apparently with lots of pancakes!

MiiT Cafe Riga Latvia Vegan Sandwich and Bounty Bar - Vegan Nom NomsVegan food from MiiT Cafe

It was the morning before lunch so I just got a hummus sandwich that also had avocado and this vegan bounty bar that was awesome. There were two types of vegan brownies and a raw peanut butter cake the day I went too. They also had vegan porridge from different grains (rice, quinoa, etc.) and different types of non-dairy milk (even oat and quinoa milk!). My bill for the sandwich, coffee and bounty bar came to €8,10 total.

MiiT Cafe Riga Latvia Aeropress - Vegan Nom Noms

You can choose from different types of coffee: aeropress, pour over, chemex, french press, etc. Their coffee comes from Five Elephant in Berlin, funnily enough. I’ve been debating whether I want to buy an aeropress for ages so I got that to test it out. Yum yum! I asked for oat milk with it, which they happily gave me.

Fat Pumpkin

Address: Grēcinieku iela 25

This place was all vegan and had a ton of burgers. It’s in the touristy Old Town area so it’s a bit more expensive (for Riga). I got the fishless burger. It was delicious, but I didn’t think it tasted like fish. The patty was soft, but tasty. The inside isn’t especially cozy, but the food was good. I’d go back for more food, hopefully without a screaming child in the restaurant the entire time.

Fat Pumpkin Fishless Burger Riga Latvia - Vegan Nom NomsVegan fishless burger and fries with vegan mayo from Fat Pumpkin

Fat Pumpkin Tiramisu Riga Latvia - Vegan Nom NomsVegan Tiramisu from Fat Pumpkin

I was already stuffed, but I had to try the tiramisu. I think it was entirely raw, definitely not a traditional tiramisu with lady fingers and stuff, but it was also super tasty. My juice, burger with fries and dessert came to around €18,00.

Rama

Address: Krišjāņa Barona iela 56

If you’ve ever been to a Hare Krishna restaurant, you no what to expect. The food is really cheap here and all-vegetarian. Not everything is vegan. The person working the counter spoke no English, so use the point and choose method here. I just said vegan (vay-gan) and shrugged towards the food. You can choose between a big tray and a small one. I pointed at the trays and waved my hands manically to signal “big”. It worked. They also have a lot of tea and some desserts.

Rama Restaurant Riga - Vegan Nom Noms

Bulgar, veggie dish, some soy meat in a sauce and a potato pancake. I think this was all less than €3.

Places I didn’t make it to

I was only in Riga for three nights, so I didn’t make it everywhere. Some other places my host recommended were Stockpot, a restaurant with vegan options and for a fancy dinner a place called Tiirs that has vegan options. There’s also a raw food place called Raw Garden (watch out for honey)

Supermarket

Dabas Stacija

Address: Lāčplēša iela 17

I stumbled upon this little natural food shop while wandering around and only popped in quick. My surprise, they had an entire case with every type of vegan Violife cheese! Rest-assured, your vegan cheese craving can be satisfied even in Latvia.

Vegan Chocolate Guide

Okay, the moment you’ve been waiting for…vegan chocolate! The major brand is Laima and they sell stuff in regular supermarkets and have their own shops, just google it. Here’s some pictures and descriptions of what’s vegan so you can find it yourself!

Laima Latvia Vegan Candy - Vegan Nom NomsMy vegan chocolate haul from the Laima chocolate shop

        Laima Vegan Aerated Chocolate - Vegan Nom NomsChocolate with air bubbles in it, there’s a darker version too

Laima Diana Vegan Jam Chocolates - Vegan Nom NomsDiana – these are chocolate-covered jelly candies

      Laima Black Balsam Chocolate - Vegan Nom NomsBlack balsam-filled chocolates – it’s the liquor Riga is famous for

Laima Vegan Chocolate Truffles - Vegan Nom NomsTrifele – chocolate truffles, no explanation necessary

Laima Rigonda Vegan Hazelnut Chocolate - Vegan Nom NomsRigonda – a simple chocolate bar with hazelnut pieces

Laima Vāverīte Vegan Hazelnut Candies - Vegan Nom NomsVāverīte – crumbled hazelnut praline filling

Laime Vegan Serenade Candies Latvia - Vegan Nom NomsSerenāde – fruit jelly, apricots and nuts, unique and delicious!

Laima Ritz Vegan Peanut Butter Candies - Vegan Nom NomsRīts – peanut praline yummmm

Laima Vegan Chocolate Latvia - Vegan Nom NomsThey also come in medium size and regular chocolate bar size

Riga Vegan Rose Cookies - Vegan Nom Noms

Not chocolate, but these rose cookies are also vegan. I didn’t try them, so let me know how they are if you do!

There you have it, more proof that I am a food tourist! I definitely recommend Riga though, go forth and explore!

 

Want more travel? Check my Vegan Travel page for a list of everywhere I’ve been!



  1. I loved Riga, it was so unexpectedly beautiful! I especially loved the old wooden buildings and the Art Deco area. Great vegan finds, especially at the market – it’s awesome you had a vegan host to show you around!

    caitlingu / Reply
  2. Funny, I’ve been to a Hare Krishna restaurant but it seems nothing like what you have been to. There is one in Philly but it looks like an all vegetarian diner, faux meat sandwiches, burritos, fries, cakes, normal American food. You can hardly tell it is related to Hare Krishna except for the space next to it is where they pray (or meditate- not really sure) and I know they will give you a free meal if you join one of their sessions. I don’t think they promote it much, just my one friend is really friendly with store owners and got invited once. She went got her free meal, and didn’t join. XD

    onesonicbite / Reply
    • I’m curious what the one in Philly is called!

      • Govinda’s Vegetarian- it is one of Philly’s first vegetarian/vegan places. They all vegetarian with lots of vegan options (they will ask which type of cheese you want for example) If you google it and find their website- don’t be fooled, the place isn’t a fancy sit down place. It is very laid back, you can see the grill where they cook the food. They also have baked good from Vegan Treats.

  3. Riga central market seems a heaven for vegan and all those photos of food looks so stunning. Have fun

    Steven / Reply

Leave a Reply