Beyond Shoots And Leaves: 5 Countries To Visit If You’re A Vegetarian

Beyond Shoots And Leaves: 5 Countries To Visit If You’re A Vegetarian
Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Travelling here is easy-peasy

Bhavika Govil
April 12 , 2019
05 Min Read

Only a few decades ago, travelling as a vegetarian meant succumbing to a meal of plain rice lathered with pickle or making do with a bag of potato chips to fill your stomach. The rise in health awareness has led to an onslaught of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the world, and made travel for non meat-eating travellers a lot more fulfilling (quite literally). Go through our list of vegetarian-friendly countries where you can book tickets to neither a care and nor a worry.

Israel

Hummus and pita--you can't say no to 'emIt can’t be easy to be the vegan capital of the world, but Tel Aviv, Israel’s largest city and capital, has embraced its roots and shoots well in the past nine years. The population in this Israeli capital, today, has the highest percentage of vegans in the world. While it helps that some traditional Middle Eastern staples such as hummus, pita and falafel, baba ghanoush are vegetarian-friendly by default, it’s interesting that a lot of upcoming restaurants are international in cuisine with influences from many other countries and cuisines. According to the vegan and vegetarian-restaurant finder, Happy Cow, Tel Aviv itself has 31 vegan-only restaurants, 29 vegetarian restaurants and over 138 than are vegetarian-friendly.

P.S. Dominos began serving vegan pizza using cashew cheese in Tel Aviv first in the world—so you can have your comfort food, and eat it too.

Italy

Travel to Italy for their gnocchi and pizza--all gloriously vegetarianBeing ‘vegetariano’ in Italy is a piece of cake, or more appropriately, a slice of pizza. Italian food bases itself heavily in breads, flour, cheese and polenta, so dishes like the Margherita and Marinara pizza, many kinds of pasta, gnocchi, and risotto often come prepared with no meat or ‘carne’ in them or can be requested to be made that way. While different regions in the country have their speciality—the southernmost Sicily and Sardinia are known for the seafood, northern parts of the country for red meat, Emilia-Romagna region of its parma ham and Parmigiano Reggiano, Naples for the birth of the pizza, among others. But each menu, particularly the antipasti (appetiser) and primi piatti (first course) along with dolci (desserts) will have vegetarian, and some times, vegan options for you. Buono appetito!                    

India

Deep-fried vadas are a part of South Indian cuisineIndia has a smorgasbord of cuisines—each more flavourful and diverse than the other—and moreover, it is the ideal location for a vegetarian traveller. While there are many religions practiced here, there is a large part of the Hindu community that is vegetarian-eating. Along with that, its agrarian economy has also led to a diet that is centred around vegetables. In the northern belt—Punjab, Delhi and surrounding states, there are many North Indian preparations of dishes such as matar paneer (cottage cheese with peas), baingan ka bharta (made from aubergine), bhindi (okra), among others. Most of the street food, chola bhatura, chola kulcha, gol gappe, sev puri, aloo tikki, kachori, and more are vegetarian snacks. Both Gujarat and Maharashtra have options for vegetarians (the former is the most veg-friendly state and Maharashtra is relient on its breads or pav-based dishes). In the southern states of India, dishes are rice-based such as idli, dosa, uttapam, appam, In the Northeastern part of India, the food is more pork and meat-centric, but you get dishes based on lotus stems and bamboo shoots. In fact, you even get Jain preparations of food in the Gujarat and which often include no onion and garlic. In short, you couldn't have more to eat than here.

Taiwan

This may come as a revelation but the Asian country of Taiwan, to the southeast of China, is one of the easiest places to visit as a vegetarian traveller. With a culture that is deeply rooted in Buddhism, vegetarianism is embraced as a common concept in most of Taiwan. Most important markets, train stations, popular areas have at least one all-vegetarian or vegetarian-friendly restaurant—and there are even extensive vegetarian buffets,  dim sum counters, and even an all-Vegan supermarket in capital city Taipei. As per Happy Cow, Taiwan has over 920 listings for both vegetarian and vegan-friendly options. So you could get a bowl of delicious veggie soup, have different kinds of hot pots and noodles with vegetable curries or pick a different cuisine altogether. Taiwan is the place to go meat-free.

USA

USA is full of small vegan establishments such as thisVegan doughnuts, an all-avocado bar quirkily called avocaderia, sushi pizza made of tofu—you name it, the USA has it. The United States has some of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world, starting with LA, and going up to New York, San Fransisco, and even Portland, Oregon, as per PETA’s list for 2018. Even if you haven’t taken up the no-dairy life, vegetarian options which were once far and few, are easily available in USA. For one thing, the sheer variety in cuisine available in restaurants—Mexican, Italian, Indian, Asian, Middle Eastern, and of course, all American is astounding—there’s plenty vegetarians can feast on from them.

Someplace else:

 Nepal is known to be a treasure trove of vegetable-based foods; the UAE and the Middle East has many appetizers and small courses that are vegetarian by default (think dips and vine wrapped rice); Singapore is a very international destination with vegetarian/vegan restaurants in hip neighbourhoods; and travelling in the UK is manageable as well. Although vegetarians are cautioned against South America, you’ll find many potato and quinoa based dishes in Peru. Berlin in Germany is famed for its burst of veganism, and further up in Stockholm and Finland (especially Helsinki), if you plan in advance, most restaurants can prepare vegetarian dishes for you.


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