The final stop on our little tour of Ireland was Galway, we only had 24 hours in the city but we made the most of it even though it rained nonstop! We checked out the museum, the Spanish Arch and medieval city wall, walked the riverside walk to the cathedral and explored Galway's cute winding streets.
Our first meal in Galway was dinner at Da Tang Noodle House. We both love Chinese food and although this restaurant isn't veggie they had an impressive selection of vegan options. We were a little apprehensive before we arrived as nothing was marked with a V on the online menu. Veg friendly dishes were marked on the in-restaurant menu though and there was even a little something about accommodating vegans on there. We may have ordered so much food that we had to be moved to a bigger table!
We ordered the Smoked Tofu & Coriander Salad from the starter menu which I loved.
We hadn't quite expected it to be so heavy on the coriander but thankfully it's a flavour we both like and we really enjoyed it, I'll definitely be trying to recreate this garlic & rice wine vinegar dressed salad at home.
We chose two side dishes. The Stir Fried Pak Choi in a ginger and scallion sauce...
...and the Oriental Mushrooms and Tofu in a garlic black bean sauce.
We were surprised by the amount of mushrooms in the Pak Choi dish and the lack of them in the Mushroom dish! We enjoyed both, I liked the flavours of the Pak Choi's ginger and scallion sauce best whilst Nick preferred the garlicky black bean tofu. We ate rice noodles and white rice alongside our dishes as unfortunately the homemade wheat noodles at Da Tang are made with egg.
This next dish was kind of a mystery to both of us, we didn't really realise that we hadn't ordered it until it'd been on our table for five or ten minutes and by then we felt weird about sending it back so we ate it. We don't particularly like soup so unsurprisingly we didn't love it.
If you do like soup and you're in Galway we're 99% sure that it's the Fresh Tofu Soup Noodles and it certainly wasn't bad, for soup. We think we got it instead of the Fresh Tofu & Mixed Vegetable Sauce Noodles we ordered which would have had a delicious yellow bean sauce. Damnit! We really need to work on our assertiveness!
We also tried the Sizzling Vegetables described on the menu as "fried tofu and cashew nuts in a ginger and scallion sauce".
We both thought that this dish was just okay, not our favourite but certainly not bad. We really liked the way the tofu had been cooked and I loved the mushrooms.
If we'd have been in Galway longer we would definitely have made a return visit to Da Tang Noodle House. I would have loved to try the tofu & mixed vegetable noodles and I would certainly have ordered the garlicky pak choi and coriander salad again. I also just noticed that Da Tang have recently opened a takeaway specialising in Vietnamese, Thai, Malaysian and Chinese cuisines. Here's the menu, if you check it out let me know how it is.
The next morning after a lazy breakfast of leftover food from the cottage eaten in bed at the hotel we wandered around town in the rain. I was craving hot chocolate and we decided to check out Butler's Chocolate Cafe on the off chance that they'd have something vegan friendly.
Sadly no vegan hot chocolate was to be found but they did make me a great decaf soya latte with hazelnut syrup which kept my paws warm as we wandered around the Saturday market.
We spotted some promisingly vegan friendly stalls like Govindas and a nearby falafel stall.
I just love how carrots look with their tops still on!
There were plenty of vegan options at this hummus, pesto & olive stall too. Every label had a full list of ingredients, perfect for the vegan traveller, and there were plenty of stalls dotted around selling wonderful looking fresh bread.
We took photos at the market rather than trying anything because we were working up an appetite for lunch at Quay Street Kitchen. We'd popped in earlier to ask about their vegan options and whilst we waited for someone to come over I spotted some very well worn copies of Veganomicon and Vegan Eats World! Just seeing these in an omnivorous restaurant gave me faith in their vegan options and unsurprisingly we weren't disappointed.
We both ordered the Vegan Wave Fish Fingers which were served with home-made tartar sauce, skinny fries and organic leaves.
This beautifully presented dish certainly lived up to expectations. The chips were fried until they had that perfect bite to them, the tofu was coated in a wonderfully crisp batter, the tartar sauce was tangy and I even ate the salad! The only thing I would have done differently was to up the kelp content of the beer batter as I could hardly taste it.
By the end of our main course we were stuffed but couldn't resist splitting a red velvet cupcake.
It was a delicious end to the meal, the cake itself was dense but light and the fluffy buttercream on top was beautifully sweet.
We really enjoyed our meal at Quay Street Kitchen and if we'd have had more time I would have loved to try their Vegan Burger, Vegan Breakfast or Wild Mushroom Crostini, yum!
To end our trip we went for a drink at craft beer bar Salt House. We mainly picked this place because they have a beer menu on the website meaning that I wouldn't have to be that annoying dithery person at the bar franticly typing drink names into Barnivore but it also turned out to be one of the cutest pubs I've been to in a while.
I drank a beautifully crisp pear cider from New Zealand which was an excellent choice although not a very Irish end to the trip!
I loved our Irish adventure! It seemed so ridiculous to have a country so close but to have never been there. I also loved getting to spend every day hanging out with Nick and excitingly it's only a month tomorrow that we're leaving for Seattle to begin my journey to Vida Vegan Con. I literally couldn't be more excited!