February 2019 Update:
After reminding my barista every single visit of how necessary it was to offer other plant-based milk alternatives at Starbucks in Dubai it finally happened in 2017! Starbucks now also offers almond & coconut milk in the UAE and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. However there are still many vegan food options that are unavailable at Starbucks in the UAE but are available in the US or Europe.
Ever wondered what you could snack on while enjoying your favorite coffee or tea at Starbucks? There are more than 50 (!!) Starbucks in Dubai so you basically have always one around the corner – no matter where you are. I just love to come there because it’s one of the places in the entire world that wherever I go – I know what I get! I think that I don’t have to mention that you should order your coffee with soya milk (unfortunately there are no other non-dairy milk options at Starbucks in the Middle East yet) – but how about all these fancy toppings you can go for?
My standard coffee is a soya latte with cinnamon (and I’m so addicted that there’s no need for me to verbally place my order anymore when I come to the Starbucks next to my workplace). But you can choose all kind of syrups like vanilla, caramel or hazelnut (and the seasonal gingerbread, toffee nut and cinnamon syrups as well). To ensure your coffee or frappuccino is vegan you should avoid whipped cream, java chips, pumpkin spice (only available in fall), chai syrup (contains honey) and the white mocha at all, since these are not de facto vegan. On days were I’m just up for a warm drink and tea seems too boring I can recommend a soya hot chocolate! Obviously all juices and smoothies are totally fine as well and during summer I actually have their Verry Berry Refresher or Soya Strawberries and Cream Frappuccino (no whipped cream) often!
But what to do if you end up at Starbucks and are starving as well and a coffee is just not going to be enough? First of all I find it really convenient that they’ve got small dark chocolate bars, which are vegan, and so I end up having that as a start most of the time. Some other snacks they offer are mixed nuts and dried fruits. If you feel like having something fresh then go for the mixed cut fresh fruit salad! But if all of your friends are having one of their delicious cakes or muffins fresh fruits and one chocolate bar is not going to be enough to satisfy you! After having been to Starbucks almost daily for over six months in Dubai I had the idea of asking for the allergen information for all of their food and found exactly what I was looking for – my not so healthy but vegan alternative at Starbucks when everyone around me is having a slice of cake: the sugar donut!
It’s vegan, sweet and a super nice treat! If the donut is too much for you though – while studying the allergen information I spotted that the shortbread cookies are vegan, too! Secretly I was hoping for the Oatmeal Cranberry Cookie to be vegan as well, but apparently it’s not and I’m excited about the other options I came across anyways! Looking forward to explore any new drinks / snacks I come across at Starbucks and will keep you updated on if there are any new vegan options!