A visit to foodtruck festival Barrio Cantina, Bruges

Barrio Cantina is a Foodtruck festival, taking place in several Belgian cities throughout Spring. After weekends in Ostend, Ghent and Antwerp, Bruges is the final stop.

Barrio Cantina, 2017 Bruges
Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
Barrio Cantina, Bruges

We had never visited Barrio Cantina before (it’s been organised every year since a couple of years), and it is not a vegan festival. But we wanted to discover if any of the foodtrucks offered vegan food at all! It was a glorious sunny weekend, and we decided to bicyle to Bruges with our tandem (a pic at the bottom of this post). The path along the canal Ghent-Bruges is a nice cycling trip (see a clip on my IG here).

The foodtrucks are stationned at the Koning Albert I park, which is in between the station and the city center, so a lot of tourists pass through the festival (the same park where two years ago the photo exhibit The Forgotten Animal took place). Admission is free. There were rails provided for bicycles,  and parked our tandem there.

parking for bicycles

We first took a tour of all the foodtrucks, to see what our options were. What immediately became apparent is that the focus is primarily on animal-based food. It had been a while since I’ve seen so many pieces of animal flesh piled together, being cut up, grilled, roasted. The stench of the barbecue smoke was at times nauseating 😦

Ugh, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
More ugh 😦 Barrio Cantina, Bruges

Some trucks had vegetarian options, but of course often with cheese and eggs in the wrap, hot dog or burger.
We only saw two foodtrucks, where vegan food was advertised as such (I think they were from the same company, as they had similar style and logo): Alma Libre and Mo Mo’s. 

Vegan Food at Alma Libre, Barrio Cantina, 2017
Vegan Food at Alma Libre, Barrio Cantina, 2017
Vegan Food at Mo Mo’s, Barrio Cantina, 2017

This is what we ate at Barrio Cantina:

Vegan Taco from Alma Libre, 6€ and Fries 4€ from Hieper de Pieper, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
Fries from Hieper de Pieper (baked in sunflower oil), no vegan sauce though
Vegan dumpling from Mo Mo’s, 6€, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
Couscous with veggies from O’tagine, 6,50€, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
couscous at O’tagine, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
Fresh juices from The Healthy Truck, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges
The Healthy Truck, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges

Another option would have been the rice noodles with tofu curry from Banh Mi, but we were already satisfied.

tofu curry with noodles, Barrio Cantina 2017 Bruges

Some more possibilities for vegan food (options which possibly can be veganised?) pictured in the photos below.

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But as already stated, most foodtrucks didn’t have any vegan options (or possibly veganisable). I asked at the fries stall in which oil/fat the fries were baked and got an explicit ‘animal fat’ reply (dude, it’s not something to be proud of). The ‘veggie balls’ from Balls ‘n Glory contain both eggs and dairy. Also didn’t find any vegan ice cream or other desserts.

A glimps on what was further on offer at Barrio Cantina (NOTE: beware images of flesh in the second slide show)

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There was plenty of seating place to take a rest and relax. At the entrance was also a play ground for children, with an air jumping castle and balloons. There was a fair amount of people visiting, but it never felt over crowded, with enough breathing space on the grounds.
Toilets were also clean and tidy.

It was nice that there were at least some vegan options at Barrio Cantina, but all in all options were really limited, and not really worth the trip. It’s a bit of a dilemma, if vegans don’t frequent such events and keep asking for vegan options, the offer will of course never increase. But as the majority of the foodtrucks offered animal based meals, it was also very confrontational and unpleasant to watch and smell. What a contrast with the images of The Forgotten Animal, that were on display at exactly the same spot two years ago …

The Forgotten Animal, 2015 Bruges

There’s still a long way to go … 

Foodtruck festival Barrio Cantina, location
Koning Albert I park
Bruges

websitehttp://www.barriocantina.be/

after the festival, we stopped by at one of the most photographed spots in Bruges: The Rozenhoedkaai, with the Belfry at the back

One Comment Add yours

  1. karengadient says:

    Last week, we were in Portland, Oregon. Lots of food trucks. Quite a few with vegan options, but still not many in the main areas downtown. Yet, our trip to one (http://www.homegrownsmoker.com) was amazing, simply amazing. And the busiest one in the group of trucks at that location–which gives me hope. 🙂

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