Travelling as a Vegan? These Are the 7 Countries to Visit
This post first appeared on Intrepid Travel.
It’d be unrealistic to expect France to fully do away with its beloved butter.
The French have made their culinary name with the help of all things dairy: from their cultivation of uncontested cheese to a classic crème brulée. But, with vegan diets becoming more common on a global scale, travellers are starting to look for an alternative. And not just in the City of Lights. Sure, you can find a vegan spread almost anywhere (online hub HappyCow is a great resource when you’re on the road), but you’re often on your own when it comes to deciphering that menu.
If only there was a guide to the best vegan-friendly countries around the world…
You wouldn’t necessarily think that Italy boasts many vegan eat-out options. But you’ll be happily surprised. Unlike the french—whose cooking centres on butter, milk and animal fats—the Italians are famous for using olive oil as the basis for nearly all their cooking. Prega il Signore! (Praise the Lord!)
Bread dipped in olive oil: This Italian staple can become a vegan’s staple too if all else fails. Many Italian restaurants and eateries serve bread, olive oil and salt on their tables (complimentary, or for a sneaky charge).
Pasta: “Primi Piatti” is where you will find the pasta section on the menu. Like most places, fresh pasta is made with eggs, and dry pasta isn’t. To ensure you are ordering vegan-friendly pasta, order the dry “secca” pasta. No doubt, there will be tomato sauce or vegetables you can ask them to throw on top. Or you can always order olive oil and capers to be drizzled over!
Pizza: Italian pizza dough is vegan. Most Italian pizza toppings aren’t. If you’re ordering pizza in Italy ask for it without cheese. It’s not as uncommon as you’d think! Just expect a few pained looks from the waiter as you ask him to remove the prosciutto, speck and ham. Italian pizza marinara is always a vegan-friendly option, but you can also ask for mushrooms, artichokes and olives to be sprinkled on top. Yum!
Gelato: Yes, vegan-friendly gelato options are available from most independent gelaterias! So when you’re travelling in the midst of summer in the powerful Roma heat, don’t be afraid to order a “senza latte” (no milk) ice cream, or sorbet.
Now we are done charging up (and carbing up) in Italy, it’s time to hit up La Rambla in Barcelona.
La Rambla is a street in central Barcelona that boasts a famous and diverse food market. Mercat La Boqueria is a vegan’s nightmare in many ways, because of the substantial amount of animal-related products being sold and (often) prepared before your eyes. But once you get past the onslaught of fishmongers and butchers, there is light at the end of the tunnel. Light in the form of fruit, vegetables, vegan lollies, juices and shakes for you to devour.
According to one humorous writer of Lonely Planet’s World Food Guide To Spain (2000), Spaniards have always considered “a dead pig to be a vegetable.” However, between 2011-2014, the amount of vegetarian and vegan restaurants popping up all over Spain rose by 94%. And if that doesn’t say Spaniards are beginning to define dead pig as “less vegetable” and more “dead pig,” I don’t know what else does.
Not far from southern Spain in the north of Africa lies a haven for vegans. It’s particularly wonderful for raw vegans who want to consume fruit, nuts and veg by the kilo (and for very little money). One suggestion when travelling to Morocco is to find accommodation that has breakfast and dinner options. Some riad managers will go above and beyond to cater to your every need. If you are this lucky, you’ll be waking up to tables overflowing with figs, wild dates, nuts and all types of fruits. You’ll also be going to bed with a stomach full of steamed vegetables, rice, and a vegetable tajine (without the honey).
It seems the average Berliner actually ditches the bratwurst and embraces the celery stick. Berlin has been rated as the number one city for vegans on HappyCow. In 2014 it even opened a chain of completely vegan supermarkets called Veganz. I’m pretty confident we can attribute this animal-free trend to one thing: Hipsterz.
Ethiopia, India, Taiwan
In Ethiopia, India, and Taiwan, religious values and traditions translate to a bevy of good, hearty, readily available vegan dishes.
In Ethiopia, a largely Orthodox Christian population, Lenten fasting time (of all animal products) has led to many dishes being inherently vegan year round. Ethiopian dishes usually feature grains, spices and wats (stews and curries), so your vegan needs will be pretty well taken care of.
In India, it is estimated that one-quarter of their 1.25 billion population is vegetarian. So vegan meals are not hard to come by. (Especially because many practice Buddhism, Hinduism or the Jai faith where killing is looked down upon or prohibited.) Try the masala dosas (a sour lentil pancake dish) and some veggie samosas!
With over 1,500 registered vegetarian restaurants on the small island of Taiwan, the country is fast becoming a vegan tourists’ paradise. A large proportion of the population follow Buddhism, and the Taiwanese culture really embraces veganism, ecological and organic living. In fact close to 93% of secondary schools are beginning to adopt “meat free” days for their lunches.
Find out more about the delicious world of food travel.
This post first appeared on Intrepid Travel.
Are you a vegan traveller? Where is your favourite place to travel?
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- Travelling as a Vegan? These Are the 7 Countries to Visit - June 21, 2016