17 Great Places To Visit For Veggie & Vegan Travelers
Being a vegetarian is becoming easier and easier all the time as more products become commercially available and more shops, and restaurants cater to your needs, but travel can offer up a problem depending on the availability of certain foods and the cultural approach to cuisine. However, that doesn't mean it is impossible.
Here we look at a few amazing places for vegetarian and vegan travelers to make sure you can get the most out of your vacations without having to compromise your lifestyle.
1. Austin, Texas - USA
Texas is one of the last places many people think of when they are considering vegan-friendly places but Austin is the exception to the rule as it has opened itself up to lots of vegan-friendly restaurants in the past few years with an explosion of vegan eateries in under a five-year period, so much so that, in 2013, PETA named the city the most vegan-friendly in the entire nation.
Granted, Austin does not have the highest concentration of Vegan restaurants in America but it is a food scene that is on the up and continuing to grow, and it even hosts an annual Veg Fest. Combine that with its unique and amazing music scene and why wouldn't you want to go there?
2. Glasgow - Scotland
The friendliest place for Vegan travelers in the UK, Glasgow's veggie scene is pretty darn good which is, perhaps, not too surprising considering that the city has a history of radical politics, innovative live music and bar-based socializing. The Merchant City area has a range of fantastic eateries and cuisines from across the globe that cater to the non-carnivorous.
The main shopping areas also serve up some delightful options regarding tea rooms and pun-grub that can be scoffed by the veg-heads out there.
Singapore is renowned for its food scene with fantastic hawker markets flogging street food and up-market restaurants for the well-to-do, it has all bases covered, and this includes vegan-friendly. Malay, Chinese and Singaporean cuisine all use a lot of Tofu while Indian dishes also cater to the vegetarian and it just so happens that these are all the largest populations in Singapore.
With whole districts devoted to just restaurants and food shops, you are bound to find something that suits your dietary requirements.
4. Tel Aviv - Israel
Middle Eastern cuisine has long been veggie friendly with its propensity for use of lentils, and hummus that bring about mouth-watering dishes such as falafel and veggie shawarma. However, in Tel Aviv, this has gone even further with around 1 in 20 residents describing themselves as a vegan, which has even led to local pizza chains like Domino's having a vegan option on their menus.
There is an ecology project in Tel Aviv that teaches urban dwellers how to live a sustainable and green lifestyle in the heart of the city and these lifestyle choices are taking off.
5. Taipei - Taiwan
Should you see a sign that looks like a swastika reversed on shop windows and restaurant fronts in Taiwan, do not be alarmed as it actually pre-dates the co-opting of it by far-right groups and is a Taoist/Buddhist symbol of peace and is used to denote vegetarian or vegan-friendly restaurants throughout the city.
The fact that you will see this sign everywhere shows how prevalent vegan eating is, and the Chinese symbol 'su' is also used a lot to denote this. Street food vendors and restaurants all have this sign, and the options are plentiful and delicious.
6. New York City, New York - USA
New York is one of America's most diverse cities in terms of history, ethnic communities and cuisine and being one of the most multi-cultural places in the world helps it cultivate many flavors. Raw restaurants and vegan bakeries are all the rage at the moment in the hipster areas of the city while the healthy and clean eating trends have helped solidify the market for veganism in NYC.
You can pretty much find anything you want in New York if you are prepared to search it out.
7. Portland, Oregon - USA
Portland has long been America's city of 'weird', and as such it has clung to and celebrated alternative lifestyles openly, and this includes veganism, which also relates to the city's green ethos. With a wealth of vegan, vegetarian, organic and fair-trade eateries and food stores, even the mainstream stores (the few that are around) have to offer similar options to compete in the area.
There is even a vegan mini-mall as well as it being a city for local produce and artisanal foods, so there is much quality stuff to get your hands on too!
8. Chennai, India
Being a predominantly Hindu nation with large portions of the population being Buddhist as well, around 40% of India's populace is vegetarian, and the country as a whole is widely considered the ancient birthplace of the movement, and so the whole country is pretty easy going for vegetarian diners.
Chennai, however, is where it all comes to a head with many restaurants proudly displaying the label “pure veg” on their doors which means all food served is both egg- and meat-free and South-Indian cuisine typically utilizing rice, legumes, and coconut milk. The variation of food is immense and satisfying, and a typical thali (a platter with curries, rice dishes, and bread) will set you back less than a latte from Starbucks.
9. Chiang Mai - Thailand
There are vegan restaurants everywhere in Thailand due to its significant population of Buddhists, and typically these are 'jay' restaurants that serve basic selections in a buffet style. If you want grander and more varied options of vegan food, then Chiang Mai is the place to head with salad bar concepts, organic farm-to-table, Japanese macrobiotic and all sorts of other vegan dishes readily available.
Even the non-vegan specific restaurants usually have a great range of vegan options with some restaurants even having their own organic farms.
10. London - UK
Once named the world's most vegan-friendly city, London is like New York in the sense that if you want it, it can be found and its size, scale, and multicultural makeup mean that nearly any cuisine on the planet can be found there. Neal's Yard, in between Soho and Covent Garden, and the Seven Dial's areas are both full of amazing veggie only restaurants and raw food eateries.
Hipster districts like Hackney and Bethnal Green also have a wide array of veggie restaurants, and it is the law that every pub, bar, restaurant or cafe have at least one veggie option! The famous Borough Market allows for some of the best fresh produce to be bought as well as some fantastic quality street food and stalls.
11. San Francisco, California - USA
San Francisco was the first city in the nation to adopt Meatless Mondays enthusiastically, and AT&T Park, the home of the MLB’s San Francisco Giants, was the first major sports facility to provide produce for concession stands as well as an educational organic garden for kids. This approach to healthy living and sustainable consumption is a staple of the city by the bay, and on any given day of the week, you can find a farmer's market open somewhere.
These options often come in a range of cuisines including modern takes on classic American fare such as burgers and hot dogs as well as Asian, Mexican and plenty other food styles.
12. Seoul - South Korea
Temple food is an entirely vegan cuisine found across South Korea as it was born out of Buddhist beliefs and Seoul still has plenty of fantastic spots to pick this up. These beliefs have also led to the proliferation of most menus having large swathes of vegetarian options but be careful as some dishes, such as bibimbap, may contain fish or spam but will still be listed as vegetarian as many don't consider it meat. Be sure to ask your server just to be certain.
Visitors can also hook up with groups like the Seoul Veggie Club and the Seoul Vegan Potluck Group who will gladly tell of the best places to chow down on some plant-based goodness.
13. Vancouver, British Columbia - Canada
Vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free and raw foodies are all in for a treat should they find themselves in Vancouver with many places serving sturdy and filling meals aimed at helping those who need the energy to climb the surrounding mountains with many of them being seasonal menus stuffed with locally sourced produce.
Raw and vegan are both very attractive lifestyles in the city, and the food options reflect this accordingly.
14. Amman - Jordan
The mezze cuisine of the Middle East makes finding veggie food in Jordan a cinch, and the Bedouins in the area have also managed to push forward a diet of fresh fruit, flatbreads and easy to make stews with falafel and hummus also being common staples.
Salads with natural dressings like lemon and olive oil are extremely popular with the whole country being a comfortable place to be veggie.
15. Kuala Lumpur - Malaysia
The capital of Malaysia a melting pot of cultures from India to China which goes some way to explaining the hundreds of veggie or vegan specific restaurants that dot the city streets not to mention the numerous vegetarian hawker stalls as well.
Many Chinese restaurants will sell mock-meat versions of their most popular dishes so as to cash in on the vegetarian ringgit being spent.
16. Berlin - Germany
Beer and bratwurst don't lend themselves to veganism easily, but Berlin is more than just these archaic stereotypes (although, undoubtedly you can still get some excellent beer and bratwurst should you want it) and actually goes above and beyond in providing for veggies.
Some places even exclusively sell 'ugly' veggies in an attempt to cut down on produce waste.
17. Mumbai - India
Home to the largest vegetarian population in the world, Mumbai has it all as almost every restaurant, food stall and caterer will have a wealth of veggie options. Vegans be wary, though, as Indian vegetarians are mostly lactovegetarians, meaning they don’t eat meat, eggs or fish, but they do consume dairy.
That said, there is still plenty about with black rice risotto being popular and dairy free kulfi and gelato options abound.