Is all the raving about the Vegan Junkfood Bar worth your attention? Medium’s food expert took the opportunity to explore.
I must admit this all took place very spontaneously. After getting out of a 4-hour long class on a Wednesday starving, we ran into our favorite spot near campus, which, unfortunately, was under construction. This left us with plenty alternatives though, as Amsterdam hosts many beautiful cuisines and culinary spots. And in the end we decided to put on our big girl pants while bravely walking towards the doors of this latest hot food spot.
If you are from Amsterdam and its surrounding areas, your ears must have become too immune by now to catch the repeating name of this one food spot. It has gone so far that the peculiar name of the place doesn’t even surprise you anymore; yes, correct, I am indeed talking about the Vegan Junk Food Bar.
A brief recalling to junk food pioneers
Now, let’s begin by breaking down the name, shall we? After all, the devil is hidden in the detail. Maybe not that well in this case, or is it? Thanks to the great influence of world leading Anglo-Saxon nations such as the UK and USA, the ‘junk food’ concept has become a part of the globe. Having access to numerous coastal areas, seafood was the primary ingredient of the British junk food, which later gave out a legend known as fish and chips, favorite of many, with the first shop opening in 1860.
Following World War I, automobiles became the must-have vehicles when racing up to the American Dream. And, of course, in this dream every little detail was tailored to the convenience and comfort of its holders; including the food. This marked the birth of drive-in restaurants and eventually the first hamburger chain in the world when the pioneer White Castle started offering high speed, high-volume and low cost burgers only for 5 cents, back in 1916.
Fast food versus junk food
It is very much understandable to associate junk food with fast food. Fast food basically stands for describing all food practices where the cost and preparation time is minimized while the consumer number is maximized. Unfortunately, this capitalistic logic of mass production is not famous for giving out the healthiest or top quality products, especially when it comes to food. The word that is thought to best describe the situation of the food would be junk food, a negatively connoted term to describe food with high calorie levels with respect to the sugar and fat values while significantly lacking healthy nutrients and essentials like vitamins or minerals.
The history of the two might lead to the perception that every fast food chain offers junk food and vice versa, but this is not quite the case here. But before that, let’s go back to our procedure.
Vegan: a carnivore’s dream?
Keeping up with the analysis; the last word to complete the name is VEGAN. But have I mentioned how I am not? Written in all capital letters, because I have been a carnivore since birth, having enjoyed briskets and pulled pork since the age of four.
It has been a debatable subject whether VJFB would be worth visiting for a meal experience among my friend group. For someone like me, an experimental person when it comes to food, investing is no issue. However, those who criticize the prices on the menu for being too high for a meat-subsidized burger also have a point. However, there is something those following that logic will never get to understand; it is all hidden in the taste.
Vegan Junk Food Bar stands for a vegan version of high quality comfort food. Even though the crispy sweet potato fries topped with scrumptious ingredients like guacamole, cheddar, fried onions might not be the most diet friendly option, it is definitely the best and ‘flashiest’ version of a junk food with the artisanal flowery decoration. You can relax knowing it will not be adding up to your collection of ‘soggy, sad and cold fries’-experiences. Plus, you still get your nutrients from veggie buddies such as carrots, cabbages, peppers and spring onions and tomato salsa offered in this pack.
Worried about the calories? Leave the Burger Experience for your next trial session, giving you more excuses to visit and embrace your inner vegan
Just take my advice and order yourself a “Flashy Loaded Kapsalon” from the Fries & Sides Menu where you can also see their nuggets, spring rolls, bitterballen, onion rings and even truffle fries listed! Worried about the calories? Then just leave the Burger Experience for your next trial session, giving you more excuses to visit and embrace your inner vegan.
There is something the reader should understand about me: I am not the average Jane who eats solely for the purpose of staying alive. Sure, I would if I was threatened with starvation, but apart from that I am very fond of food and the entire experience attached to a meal with the taste, appearance, ambiance and hospitality. Also I have been one of the biggest Burger fans having tried many beef, chicken and even fish-based patties. Now that you know all these essential details, you will hopefully read the following statement with some credence.
I have had one of the best burgers of my life at the Vegan Junk Food Bar and it did not even matter that it was vegan. That is how good my juicy “Notorious Sumo Burger” was! The double plant-based beef served with melted ‘cheddar’, fried onion rings, your essential veggie buddies, pickles, jalapenos and, last but not least, the divine and mysteriously fantastic VJFB sauce that deserves all the credits for making me fall in love with my lunch. Let’s not forget the importance of fresh, yet crispy buns, because how many times have we literally been heartbroken over mushed and saggy – to the point of turning into a sad pancake kind of burger – bun? Way too many times to count but that really is the least of my worries as I am genuinely racing, needless to say without an automobile and need for a pathetic drive in, to my next visit of VJFB at Marie Heinekenplein.
Have I heard you say “Shawarma”? Or is it some “Chick’n” you are craving for? No worries, it is all listed here! You can also enjoy a salad in the case of over-worrying yourself to starvation about calories. And for the carefree ones, they offer a mouthwatering selection of desserts; choose from “Pink Oreo Cupcake” or one of their ice creams based on coconut milk and free of gluten and soy going under the funky name “Professor Grunchschabel”.
It is okay to think you were eating art
To be completely fair, this is the location to go to in order to avoid the last crumbs of the fast food ambiance associated with this rock-star quality Junk Food Bar. Here you can enjoy the friendly table service and the cozy atmosphere, that’s still very pop-artsy with its flashing neon ‘VJFB’ sign and the vibrantly colored interior. As well as table seating, there is also a bar where you can enjoy your drink and get some culinary experience as you peek into the kitchen watching your artisanal comfort food come your way. I am obviously referring to their branch located near De Pijp as the one in the Staringplein just feels too serve-your-own style. However, it would be important to note that some items on the menu differ depending on the location.
To bun it up: yes, it is worth spending your money as a non-vegan in a Vegan Junk Food Bar. And yes, it is okay to admit how good your food was and to think you were eating art, because it is prepared and served for the sophisticated customer that knows she or he is worth enjoying the best, even when preferring sweet potato fries or shawarma over a tenderloin fillet.
A carnivore walked into a Vegan Junkfood Bar…
… and she fell in love with a plant-based burger.