So you have dietary restrictions… now what?!
My nickname is Karrot (carrot + Kara = Karrot). How did this come about? Well, I have a lot of dietary restrictions that force me to eat really healthy, so much to the point that in high school I would bring vegetables for snacks during class while everyone else was eating chips or buying candy from the vending machine. Thus, I acquired the nickname Karrot.
I’m allergic to gluten and dairy, and choose to not eat meat. I’ve learned to live with my restrictions pretty well for the past five years or so in the U.S., however, moving to a country half-way across the world, where they don’t speak English, was terrifying for me. The first few weeks in Denmark were especially hard, because all the food in the grocery stores is in Danish, so I would spend an hour or so carefully reading and translating every label to make sure I could eat the food. I am now pretty well-adjusted, and Denmark has actually turned out to be a very accommodating city to all my dietary restrictions. Thus, I have put together a list of places to eat for those of us who may struggle with eating “normal” food, as my friends like to say.
If you live in a residential community or Kollegium, DIS gives students a food stipend card, the equivalent of about $600 USD, which only works at certain grocery stores. I mostly went to FOTEX when using this card, because FOTEX has a better selection of produce than Netto. Here are a few brands to look out for at the grocery stores. If you do not want to use the stipend card or don’t have one because you live in other housing, IRMA is probably the best grocery store to find allergen-friendly products.
- Bob’s Red Mill
- Fiber Husk
For dairy-free products, I usually get dairy-free yogurt (beware: it comes in a milk carton), cheese, and milk at FOTEX. I like soy products (soy in Danish is soja), so it is pretty easy to find. Additionally, if you are looking for vegan products, they are labeled “veganer” or “vegansk”.Gluten-free items will be labeled “gluten-fri”. Anything that says økologisk (organic) will typically also have gluten-free or dairy-free options as well.
Towards the end of the semester, I got sick of the bad produce at the grocery stores and instead was picking up my produce at the glass market. The glass market also has great fresh fish and meat (personally, I didn’t trust the fish at Fotex or Netto. But that’s just me).
- Thai and Chinese Market: has a lot of great cheap ingredients… such as soy sauce, rice paper, coconut milk, etc.
- Normal (the equivalent of Walgreens): the only place in Copenhagen that sells Cliff bars.
- Fotex and 7 Eleven: just recently started selling Kombucha.
- 7 Eleven: sells Ben and Jerry’s Non-Dairy ice cream! 7 Eleven is the only place I can find my favorite flavor, PB & Cookies.
- Organic Copenhagen: A very cute small organic store that just opened right by Nyhavn. A bit pricey, but if you’re looking for quality fruits/vegetables, organic coffee and wine, or other specialty items, go here!
- Natur Potek: there is one in Christianshavn, but another specialty food/bath and beauty products store. I found vegan Nutella here!
Now on to the good stuff, restaurants!
- Paludan Bogcafé – great food and lattes, have free WIFI for studying
- The Living Room – amazing elderflower tea & good non-dairy lattes, my favorite study spot
- Espresso House – best soy lattes
- Wecycle Copenhagen — has these great little raw energy/protein balls. I’ve found these all over the city but in random spots and they are one of my favorite snacks!
- Emmery’s – offer a student discount, but honestly, their dairy alternatives for lattes are not up to par.
- Studenterhuset – discount for students on coffee/tea, good study spot. However, it does turn into a bar at night (I found this out the hard way when I tried to study there around 8pm. It did not work).
- Roast Coffee Shop
- Cub Coffee Bar– all Danes, good black coffee, no non-dairy soy milk alternatives, but very hygge!
- Simple Raw
- Hope Organic – student discount
- NiceCream (vegan ice cream)
- The Glass Market
- Banana ice cream (vegan) — this stall is only open when it’s warm out
- Vita Boost
- Rizz Raz – vegetarian buffet. Honestly one of the best places I’ve eaten at.
- Bolton’s Food Court
- Reffen — I’ve gotten the pad thai and vegan tacos from here, and both were just okay. There’s a ton of food stalls, though, and most people love it, so it’s just a trial and error type of place!
- Tivoli Food Hall
- Cocks and Cows – best burgers (they have a great vegan burger and gluten-free buns) and, of course, sweet potato fries.
- Bowl Market CPH – best acai bowls
- H Kitchen – poke bowls
- The Organic Boho
- Feel Good Bakery – all gluten-free!
- Frankie’s Pizza – they have gluten-free crust
- Café Feel Good – amazing food! Pricey but so healthy and delicious
- 42 Raw
- Natur Torst
- Wolf and Konstali
- Garbanzo – Mediterranean style
- DEJ – gluten free/vegan pizza, brunch option on weekends
- Madeinitaly – vegan/gluten-free pizza by Nyhavn
- Thai Asien Take Away – best pad thai, cheap for the portion sizes
- Wok On
- Mama Wok Box
- Café Blá (Nørrebro) — all vegan!
I also follow various bloggers/Instagram/facebook pages that give me great suggestions for healthy food in Copenhagen. Here are a few of them:
Facebook: Gluten-Free in Denmark
Instagram: I ended up following a lot of student food blogs from kids I just met in the program. Also, for some classes they have to make Instagram/facebook pages that post about food/restaurants around Copenhagen, so keep a lookout for those (my semester, it was @dis.dishes). Students will usually post those pages in the class facebook group and they offer great recommendations!
Other good food Instagram’s I follow (not specifically related to Denmark), that I get a lot of recipe ideas and inspiration from:
- @thobrandt (I actually think the guy that runs this account lives in Copenhagen)
As much as it might be hard for me, I LOVE trying new foods and exploring new restaurants/coffee shops, so I will try to keep adding to this page until I leave Copenhagen (which is in a month, ahh!!).
Until next week, and keep eating well!!