Skåne’s capital city, Malmö, is a forward-thinking foodie hub that capitalises on its location between culinary trend-setting Copenhagen and Skåne’s fruitful larder. Not least when it comes to vegan dining, one trend that has really taken off in the city, particularly in the area around Folkets Park (People’s Park). Vegan restaurants, cafés and food shops have popped up all over in this part of the city, forming a tight-knit community of veg-focused entrepreneurs, each satisfying a different niche. There are even two food tours specifically catered to vegans in the city (Lotta Ranert’s self-guided Madamilen and Linda Dahl’s guided Matkaravan). Join one of them, or read on to follow your own vegan trail around Malmö with our pick of the city’s top plant-based spots.
LYRAN – for vegetarian tasting menus
While not 100% vegan, there’s definitely a focus on veg at this neighbourhood restaurant. Book a seat at Lyran’s six-person wooden counter and watch the chefs prepare pretty dishes in the small open kitchen. Jörgen and his team use ingredients from Skåne’s producers (funny cucumbers, pickled elderflower, beach rose and Swedish cantaloupe) to create imaginative dishes such as mustardy Icelandic sorrel leaf and muskmelon on Icelandic Viking bread, chargrilled leeks served with black garlic and gratings of local cheese, and tender slow-cooked beetroot in a smoky birch sap and floral wild beach rose vinegar.
SALTIMPORTEN – for trendy vegan options
The current go-to spot for trendy Malmöites is portside restaurant Saltimporten. Set in a former salt warehouse, stripped-back simplicity prevails. Brushed-oak tables span the width of the concrete room, a wall of glass gives views out over the water, while another wall is dominated by a concrete counter where you slice fresh sourdough while waiting in line to order from a choice of two daily lunch dishes – one meat, one veggie.
The vegetarian (often vegan) dish works just as hard as the meat option – think fine ribbons of celeriac laid on springy black quinoa with beansprouts and black sesame. Coffee from Malmö roaster Solde is on tap, and served in cute vintage teacups.
MAT & CHOKLADSTUDION – for vegan chocolates, cakes and desserts
Acclaimed Swedish pastry chef Joel Lindqvist uses this shop and studio as his very own chocolate lab to experiment with new flavours and trends. Joel is big on vegan patisserie and chocolates; try his super-smooth pralines made with sustainable Italian almond milk, palm-free soya and ingredients from within a 100km radius (don’t miss bonbons made with citrussy pine shoots, hand-picked strand by strand from the forest between Malmö and Lund). Aquafaba replaces egg white to create raspberry and chocolate macarons, and oat milk makes Joel’s vegan ice cream super creamy (or try blackcurrant and yuzu sorbet topped with crispy dark chocolate and dill).
Joel’s recently launched lunches are another must-do among Malmö’s foodies. There’s a focus on Skånian produce with an Asian flavour (think mushroom consommé with kohlrabi, carrot and celeriac noodles, topped with elderflower, pickled onions and puffed oats) and there’s always a vegan option.
FAR i HATTEN – for vegan pizza
This quirky space is a popular meeting place for Malmö’s twenty- and thirty-somethings. Far i Hatten has embraced the vegan movement with dishes such as aztec broccoli, sliced raw broccoli and broccoli pesto; rare cauliflower mushrooms with puffed wheat and dill; and even vegan pizzas topped with oat-based cream, vegan cheese, courgette and pistachios.
We sneaked into the back for a tour and saw neat rows of jars dedicated to pickling and fermenting vegetables from Skåne’s fertile natural larder. The chefs share these ingredients with mixologists to create Nordic cocktails such as gin fizz with raspberries, rhubarb and lingonberries.
JORD – for vegan brunch
Jord, meaning ‘earth’ in Swedish, is one of Malmö’s best specialist vegan restaurants. Stop by this light and bright corner café for one of its all-day vegan breakfasts beneath the warm glow of exposed light bulbs – hummus bowls with baked red cabbage and carrot topped with hazelnuts and herb vinegar, perhaps, pea pesto toast with pickled cucumber ribbons and chive, or granola bowls filled with blackberries, coconut shavings and mint.
Vegan bakes include raw brownies sprinkled with chocolate, cloves, walnuts and sea salt, and squidgy carrot cake; pair them with a silky filter coffee.
GRAM – for vegan food shopping
Though not 100% vegan, this food store has a low-waste ethos and many of its products are vegan. It is Sweden’s first packaging-free grocery store, and encourages shoppers to fill up their own containers with more than 200 Swedish products.
There’s a focus on low mileage, too – vats of Swedish quinoa and rapeseed oil sit above boxes of owner Joel Lindqvist’s broken cloudberry chocolate and reusable glass bottles of kombucha from the city’s own Roots of Malmö brand.
MÖLLANS OST – for vegan cheese
A cheese shop may seem an unlikely stop-off for vegans but Malmö’s Möllans Ost has a whole section dedicated to vegan cheese. Pad across its black-and-white-tiled floor to the far side of the counter to sample and buy vegan versions of smoked cheddar, parmesan and even a grillable halloumi alternative.
Fun fact: these cheeses are currently all Greek because, traditionally, members of the Greek Orthodox church don’t eat animal products on fast days but wanted non-dairy alternatives, so the country is ahead of the game in the production of dairy-free cheeses.
MINERAL – for vegan dining
This cosy restaurant and wine bar doesn’t shout about the fact that it’s 100% vegan but those in the know can enjoy hassle-free vegan dining here.
Colourful dishes include roast parsnip with yellow courgette ribbons, cashew ricotta and cucumber salsa with dill; buckwheat risotto with grilled Jerusalem artichoke, pickled carrots and grapes; and fresh corn polenta topped with mushrooms, tomatoes, pickled onions and a vibrant gremolata. Dessert may be pretty coconut panna cotta with freshly picked sea buckthorn berries, or pear with dark chocolate mousse, pine nuts and thyme.
MITT MÖLLAN – for one-stop vegan shopping
The final three vegan spots on our list are conveniently congregated under one roof at Mitt Möllan food hall, a 60s-era shopping mall in the Möllevången district that was recently reopened to house an impressive array of independent food producers. The food court offers everything from Indian food to ice cream, pizza to kombucha, and plenty of it is vegan. Take your pick from the stalls, then sit and eat at communal tables set beneath funky white lampshades.
1. SCANDWICH – for vegan sandwiches
The three Lind brothers got their idea to set up Skåne’s favourite sandwich shop after their Sunday ritual of creatively using leftovers from their family restaurant. This small shop takes the open sandwich to new levels by pickling, confiting, frying or baking Skåne-sourced ingredients.
The brothers bake their own sourdough then fry it (to make it super crisp) and top it with the likes of roasted corn, confit cabbage, asparagus and broccoli with tarragon “mayo”.
2. THE MASALA BOX – for vegan Indian food
Zainab specialises in Punjabi food but is influenced by cuisines from all over India and Pakistan, and will make most dishes vegan on request. Among her regular menus there’s plenty of choice for vegans, including pakoras and jalfrezi. If it’s on, don’t miss the potato and aubergine curry with vegan garlic naan.
3. KÖLD ICE CREAM – for vegan ice cream
Peter, the self-dubbed “glasstronom”, gives vegans an ice cream option beyond the standard sorbets, using coconut and cashew creams, made from scratch, in place of dairy. He is constantly inventing new vegan flavours, from the classic Swedish chokladboll cake (made using 72 per cent chocolate and a little coffee) to golden turmeric latte, and strawberry with vanilla and balsamic ripple.
For those who want a refreshing hit, sorbet choices include tart and zingy raspberry and hibiscus, mango spiked with lime and ginger, and pear with white wine and gingerbread.
If you want to check out vegan food outside of Malmö, Taste Celebration Residence in eastern Skåne offers an entirely vegan tasting menu.
Written by Alex Crossley