Happy September! The 2nd VeganMoFo post is about our first week + vegan eats in Valencia, Spain (August 19 – 24, 2013), including some sightseeing spots. We didn’t eat out during our first week, and we will eventually before we leave. We discovered many vegan products at the Spanish groceries and health food shops, plus our flat has a kitchen.
Day 1: August 19, 2013
This was our first day in Valencia, Spain. I remembered the intense heat waves, and some nearby shops were closed in August due to the holidays. We rented a 2-bedroom flat for a month off the main busy street and the flat included all utilities. I thought it would be interesting to share the flat we’ve stayed at. If you are interested in the flat, shoot me an e-mail.
Evening view from the flat’s balconies, notice the busy traffic on the main street, and of course a selfie portrait
Daytime view from the flat’s balconies
Living/Office Area with Balconies. It can be pretty hot near the balconies.
Here’s what the hallway looks like, toward the living area.
We were a bit tired on our first day, plus the weather was pretty hot and humid. The Wi-Fi was down for 24 hours and we discovered an amazing Spanish grocery store, “Herbolario Navarro” without the use of Internet, plus it wasn’t mentioned in Happy Cow Valencia.
Our favorite groceries are Herbolario Navarro, Ecorgánic Ecomarket, and El Corte Inglés. They carry a great selection of vegan and vegetarian products including local brands, you can view our list & extensive review here.
Other common Spanish supermarkets are called, Consum and Mercadona. You can get basic goods, i.e., cheap water bottles, juices, gazpachos, cereal, cleaning products, etc. there including these vegan goodies below:
Mercadona: Bombon Soja de Chocolate Sin Lactosa (4 Unidades). Vegan and Gluten-Free Chocolate Popsicles. I thought they were pretty cool, but too heavy for my sweet buds. They reminded me of frozen chocolate mousse.
Mercadona: Vasito Soja Sin Lactosa, Sabor Chocolate, Coco y Limon (Ice Cream Cups, in Chocolate, Coconut and Lime). I love these little vegan and gluten-free ice cream cups. My favorite is the Coconut and the texture reminds me of a frozen whipped cream/mousse. Miam miam
Rat Penat (in Valencian means Bat): Famous mascot representing Valencia CF. I love the graffiti in Valencia, some are pretty disturbing or unique.
Day 2: August 20, 2013
Crossing the big street, Gran Vía Ramón y Cajal, next to Plaza de España. Also, there’s an awesome vegan-friendly grocery called, “Ecorgánic” on the big street, too, view here for more information about the grocery.
We explored a neighborhood near Estación del Norte (the North Station), which is a main railway station in central Valencia next to the Plaza de Toros de Valencia and the city’s bullring. I despise the bullring a lot!
Estación del Norte (The North Station): You will see loads of tourists coming in and out. This is the busy tourist street.
In the neighborhood near The North Station, we discovered several Asian supermarkets and Chinese/Spanish locals. Did you see The North Station (railway station) on the left photo (photographed above)? The neighborhood is pretty close to the station, right?
Yuen Tong Supermercado Asiatico (read my review here) is my favorite Asian supermarket in central Valencia. There is where I found my bloody Sriracha! I used it for everything else, go Sriracha!
Every Tuesday morning , there is a market in the streets between metro station Plaza España and metro station Xativa. Here you will find a large variety of products like clothes, kitchen equipments, shoes, towels, and much more. This market is near the Asian supermarkets.
Very awesome artwork and a random Asian restaurant near our flat.
El Corte Inglés: We found a bag of vegan and gluten-free potato chips with sea salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar. It didn’t taste sour, but mostly salt and pepper. I like my chips salty and sour, maybe I like the British versions.
El Corte Inglés is the biggest department store group in Europe, we went to two locations. For an extensive review on El Corte Inglés, view here.
Day 3: August 21, 2013
We walked further to visit the Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa), an indoor public market which is very close to a vegetarian restaurant, Restaurante Copenhagen and the centre. The market offers all kind of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other non-edible products or services (flowers, shoe repair). They open Mon-Sat until 2pm. There is another public market called, “Central Market” (Mercado Central) in the centre. We found the Ruzafa Market to have a more local crowd, whereas the Central Market (Mercado Central) was largely filled with and marketed towards tourists.
Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa): Plaza Barón de Cortes, 25, 46006 Valencia, España
Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa): Fruits & Vegetables Sections
Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa): Christmas melon (piel de sapo) and regular watermelons
Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa): On the left, Christmas melon (piel de sapo) and regular watermelons, and on the right, a beautiful presentation of fruits & vegetables, makes you want to shop right away!
Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa): massive Valencian tomatoes and sweet pumpkins, all the produces look so massive.
Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa): Red pepper
An interesting neighborhood near the Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa)
Lovely artwork in an interesting neighborhood near the Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa)
We came back and made ourselves a hearty pasta dish: vegan caracoles pasta with jarred roasted red peppers, maldon salt, Merula Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Parmela’s newest pesto parmesan (I brought it with me to Spain). You will see loads of jarred and canned sweet red peppers in the Spanish groceries…and I’m not a fan of these.
I have never tried the caracoles pasta before. They remind me of cones. Vegan caracoles pasta with jarred roasted red peppers, maldon salt, Merula Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Parmela’s newest pesto parmesan (I brought it with me to Spain).
We tried two amazing Spanish extra-virgin olive oil products: Merula and Au. I love the chemistry element, Au used for the product, “gold.” We love the Merula Extra Virgin Olive Oil for its rich, sweet buttery flavor and great for dipping, and the Au for its peppery tones, perfect for garnish, but not for dipping. View our review here on the Spanish olive oil products.
Day 4: August 22, 2013
I love my Stella McCartney vegan zebra-print woven espadrilles, perfect for Spain + some cool yellow door
We found a really lovely neighborhood near the centre: La Gran Via and it is very quiet and serene. It reminds Doni of Nice, France, or a bit of Parisan feel.
There’s a walking park in the neighborhood called, “Gran Vía del Marqués del Turia.”
Loving Hut is also located in the neighborhood, unfortunately it was closed for the holidays until September 9th. Keep in mind that some restaurants and shops close in August for the holidays.
Day 5: August 23, 2013
We have decided to be tourists today (not really) and visited the Ciutat Vella area within walking distance from our flat. We dropped by the Mercado Central (Central Market), the touristy public market. I like the Ruzafa Market (Mercado de Ruzafa) that we went on Day 3. I would go there before the Mercado Central (Central Market) to see the difference.
Mercado Central Valencia (Central Market): Plaza Ciudad de Brujas, S/N 46001 Valencia, open Monday – Saturday 7:30 am – 2:30 pm
Mercado Central Valencia (Central Market): Fresh produces + tomatoes for gazpachos
Mercado Central Valencia (Central Market): Colorful plums
Panaria Bakery is a Spanish bakery chain, you will find them in nearly every other street in Valencia, Spain. I eat their bread (round and baguette) almost every day, except for their pastries and buttery bread.
loads of travel photos around the Ciutat Vella area
After a long day walk, we made ourselves some vegan sandwiches with melted Cheezly cheddar, NaturSoy tofu salami, GranoVita garlic mayo, lettuce and tomato.
Day 6: August 24, 2013
We didn’t really do much that day except for grocery shopping (view our list of our favorite groceries here). Please note, in Spain, most groceries and department stores are closed on Sundays (I know, crazy, right?), except for the Asian supermarket I’ve mentioned in the starting post.
We had the opportunity to try Spain’s seasonal Piel de Sapo (also known as Christmas melon). Piel de Sapos are one of the most widely grown melon cultivars in Spain. The melon has a pale greenish flesh very similar to that of a honeydew. We got it for €1.44 and it was pretty delicious. At the lack of a better comparison, it is kind of like a sweeter, softer honeydew melon.
The Piel de Sapo is very easy to slice, but also very juicy when ripe so it can easily become a sticky mess if you aren’t careful.