Managing specific dietary needs while studying abroad can be a challenge as products and stores vary from what you are used to in your host country. While living in Denmark, generally expect to go shopping in multiple stores to find what you need, especially if you are on a limited budget. The cheapest grocery stores (Netto and Aldi) do not always have those specialty products you are looking for.
Copenhagen offers options for vegetarians and vegans – use this as a guide to get you started:
Guide to Grocery Shopping
All products in the supermarket are in Danish, so use this as a pocket vocabulary reference to find your grocery store basics. And when in doubt, ask questions – the vast majority of Danes speak English and will be able to help you out!
The symbol for organic foods is easy to spot:
Look for the red label and the word økologisk and KRAV if in Sweden.
(often part of a compound word,
such as ‘svinekød’ or ‘oksekød’)
|Casein / Mælkeprotein||Casein / Milk Protein|
|Laktose / Mælkesukker||Lactose|
(sometimes just ’grønt’)
- Dry beans & lentils
A very large variety of dry beans, grains, and the like can be found in the many small greengrocers throughout the city, especially just outside of the city center in Nørrebro, Vesterbro, Østerbro, and on Amager. You can recognize these places by the racks of vegetables and fruits outside of the shop
Soymilk is now regularly available in all of the following grocery stores:
Føtex, Irma, Rema 1000, Super Best, Super Brugsen.
In addition, about half of the city’s cafés have it available for coffee, including the chain ‘Baresso’
- Tofu and Tempeh
Some of the largest grocery stores, such as Irma, sell tofu, however it tends to be very expensive.
It is best to buy it at Asian specialty shops, which are scattered around central Copenhagen and in Nørrebro.
Recommendation: Den Kinesiske Købmand
- Imitation animal products (soy yogurt, meat substitute, etc)
These can often be found in the high-end grocery store Irma as well as in health food stores.
Recommendation: Helsam City located next to Torvehallerne (the Glass Markets)
- Many spices that aren’t available at grocery stores can be found at Dhadra Food Store, Nørrebrogade 60, 2200 Copenhagen N.
Recommendations for Specialty Product Shops
Note: To find any of the following on a map, go to krak.dk and click kort. Type the place in the box labeled Søg efter product, firma, person. Once you have the address, go to Rejseplanen (in English) which will give you directions using public transit to get anywhere.
- Urtehuset sells specialty products including, gluten-free, dairy-free, sugar-free and a variety of other options. They also carry the popular U.S. specialty brand Bob’s Red Mill.
- Torvehallerne is a gourmet indoor market located next to Nørreport Station. Here you can find specialty cooking products, a variety of ingredients, and prepared food that facilitates many dietary restrictions. Items here will be priced higher than in the supermarket, so check your local grocer for supplies before shopping there.
The absolute easiest vegetarian food to find everywhere is falafel, a fried mix of chickpeas and spices. Look for small restaurants that advertise ‘Shawarma’ or ‘Kebab.’ Note that there is usually a yogurt or crème fraiche based sauce, so if you don’t eat dairy then you should ask for it without the dressing.
Cafes and Restaurants
- 42 Raw is a café located in inner city Copenhagen that specializes in raw food – i.e., food which has been heated to 107 degrees Fahrenheit – or 42 Celcius
- Chilimili is a café where you can find 25 different freshly made salads, as well as wraps, sandwiches, and soups. They offer food for both vegetarians and meat eaters. They have two locations in the inner city.
- Atlas Bar is located a street away from DIS Copenhagen. Although not a vegetarian restaurant, they have a huge variety of delicious vegetarian plates. The prices are mid-range
- Morgenstedet is a vegetarian restaurant in Christiania. Note: They only accept cash
- Estin is open for lunch and sells vegetarian salads. They are located near Nyhavn
- Raw & Rustic – Urtehuset’s Café is located in Frederiksberg, and offers specialty food options including a selection of raw, vegan, and gluten free alternatives
Vegan and Gluten-Free Bread and Pastries
- Naturbageriet offers vegan cakes and pastries along with organic and some gluten-free breads, located next to Nørreport Station
- Located behind Nørreport Station is The Vegan Shop
Resources in Malmö
If you happen to be traveling to Malmö, there are a number of resources for vegetarians and vegans:
- Vegegården is a Chinese vegetarian restaurant in Malmö with a large variety of vegan food, including dessert.
- Astrid och Aporna is an inexpensive organic vegetarian food store.
- Vegan Malmö is an online guide to vegan resources in Malmö.
It’s only in Swedish, so Google Translate may be useful.
- There are also many Asian restaurants offering a large amount of vegetarian options and well-stocked Asian food stores around the Möllevångstorget, a square which is a three-minute walk from the Trianglen train station (Smedjegatan exit). Also in the neighborhood is Glassfabriken cafe which is fully vegetarian and vegan friendly.