Being vegetarian or vegan often becomes a little bit harder when abroad. When faced with a meat-eating culture and a language barrier, it’s downright difficult.
Here we look at the 10 easiest and the 10 most difficult destinations for vegetarians.
Portland, Oregon, United States
Portland’s food culture reflects its progressive, artistic and green-thinking philosophy. Bridgetown is the standout U.S. city for vegetarians and vegans (only San Francisco comes close).
Through labeling and food standards, vegetarianism is enshrined in British law (to our knowledge, India is the only other country with such laws). There are many choices and high standards. London has the best choice of vegetarian restaurants, while Brighton is second.
Green, red and massaman curries can all be ordered mangasawirat (vegetarian) or jay (vegan). Look out for the annual Vegetarian Festival in Phuket, where the only blood spilled is that of Taoists practicing self-mortification acts in honor of their gods.
Tel Aviv, Israel
A high proportion (some estimate a third) of restaurants in Israel are kosher. Why is that good news for vegetarians? Kosher laws stipulate meat and other dairy products must not be mixed, meaning many establishments are pescetarian by default. Be sure to try the falafel, hummus and bourekas.
Yes Italians love meat and fish, but there are almost endless vegetarian variations of pizza and pasta-based dishes. Strict vegetarians should be advised Italian cheeses aren’t vegetarian.
Tamil Nadu, India
Estimates say a little less than one third of Indians are vegetarian. It’s no exaggeration to say food without meat and fish is readily available everywhere. A green circle next to the word ‘Veg’ marks those restaurants that are suitable for vegetarians (a red ‘Non-Veg’ sign is for those that serve meat – some restaurants have both). Don’t miss masala dosa or thali.
Veggie versions of Malaysian, South Indian and Chinese dishes are here in abundance. In some cases they are fused with the indigenous Nyonya cooking style. Expect plenty of tamarind, lemongrass, galangal and coconut.
It may be the home of pig’s blood, chicken feet and shark fin, but in the last 10 years Hong Kong has begun taking vegetarian and vegan diets seriously. Locals call Cantonese meat-free food “healthy.” Thankfully such options are much more tasty than such a categorization would suggest. The safest bet is to eat at one of the city’s many vegetarian restaurants.
In respect to multiculturalism, Toronto is spoken about in the same breath as London, New York and LA. The city’s diversity is reflected in its food offerings. Practically all of the world’s best vegetarian cuisines are available here in more than 150 veg-friendly eateries spread across the city.
You’d be hard pressed to find a menu in Crete (even at the smallest of family-run joints) that didn’t have a number of tasty veg dishes. Here, it’s all about eggplants, zucchini, herbs, potatoes, tomatoes, olive oil, feta cheese, hummus and tahini.
BETTER FOR MEAT LOVERS
Of course, there are exceptions even in these meat-loving locales below! HappyCow.net lists vegan, vegetarian and veggie-friendly eateries in many places throughout the world, including the places we’ve listed here.
This legendary port city is awfully fond of its seafood.
Land of the goulash, Hungary’s known for its hearty foods…literally and figuratively.
The Chinese love a bit of tofu. They enjoy the texture it adds to their beef dishes.
Argentineans like their food like their wine – blood red.
If a pig doesn’t eat meat, then by extension bacon is suitable for vegetarians. So goes the logic for some Bavarians.
It may be home to 3.7 million people, and Japan’s second largest city, but veggie-friendly it is not.
Busan, South Korea
The, “vegetables are what they feed animals before they kill and serve them” philosophy is well entrenched in South Korea.
Dallas, Texas, United States
Texas is the self-proclaimed “beef capital of the world.” Need we say more?
Vegetarianism is pretty much a foreign concept for Cubans – slowly creeping in, but far from established.
What’s that lurking in your “vegetable” pho? Probably more than just vegetables.
Written by insider city guide series Hg2 | A Hedonist’s guide to…
(Main image: SweetOnVeg)