…IDEAL for your next plant based culinary adventure.
Once upon a time, in the not too distant past, holidays abroad as a vegan were a conflicted affair. Finding a plant based meal at all, let alone a delicious one, could be tough. Various words denoting dietary requirements had to be memorised, often to no avail when delivered.
But how times have changed; the world is very much your vegan oyster now when it comes to eating fantastic meat and dairy free food globally. The best places to do so? In our humble opinion, these are 5 of the most vegan friendly cities in the world, IDEAL for your next plant based culinary adventure.
According to the excellent vegan and vegetarian restaurant resource app Happy Cow, London was the first major world city to top 100 totally vegan restaurants. Now, there are 152; again, a world beating number. That cheerful bovine software suggests that there are over 500 vegan or vegetarian friendly restaurants, too. Result!
Interestingly, it’s here in London that Pizza Hut trialled their first completely vegan menu, with KFC following shortly afterwards. Oh, and it’s not just the savoury stuff here that’s increasingly catering to the plant based people of the city. Check out our recommendations on the 7 best places in London for vegan sweet treats for more on the dessert side of things.
Hit any wet market in Thailand’s capital, and you’ll encounter the most amazing array of tropical fruit and weird and wonderful vegetables which you may well have never heard of, let alone tasted. One thing’s for sure; you’ll definitely want to try it all. Particularly novel to the Western palate are some of the country’s native fruits; we can’t visit Bangkok without seeking out durian and mangosteen. What’s more, the famous, fabulous Thai dessert mango sticky rice uses coconut cream for lusciousness and is 100% vegan.
Because the country is predominantly Buddhist, vegan options are available at most restaurants, even if the eatery isn’t vegan as a whole. Just look or ask for ‘jay’, meaning vegetarian. May Kaidee is a particularly famous veggie restaurant which also offers cooking classes in the plant based Thai culinary arts. With all that fresh produce, spice and funk, we couldn’t imagine a better cuisine to forgo meat and dairy. Hotel and holiday search engine The Hotel Follower seems to agree; their Global Vegan Index places Thailand at number one in the world.
Toronto has long been one of the world’s great vegan cities, and hosts Toronto Veg Food Fest, the largest event of its kind on the planet. Started in 1985 and going in its current, supersized state since 2014, the event now attracts more than 50’000 punters annually, with 120 stalls slinging the good stuff. Indeed, the festival, and associated Toronto Vegetarian Association, has been credited with advancing the cause of the plant based movement across America exponentially. Reason enough to visit this great city, we think?
It’s no surprise, really. Toronto’s food scene, in general, is a melting pot of different cuisines, particularly from Asian regions where healthier vegan options abound. People have been emigrating to Toronto for years (50% of the population there was actually born outside Canada), bringing their culture and cuisines with them, sparking a foodie scene rivalled by few other cities.
In 2016, Peta Asia named Taipei as Asia’s most vegan friendly city, and it’s easy to see why. A historic Buddhist tradition, an abundance of day markets selling the freshest tropical fruit and vegetables, and an inventive cuisine not heavily reliant on protein, all make for a superb destination for plant based diners.
The area around Dingxi Metro Station sees some of the best vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the city, but it’s one stop along, to Gutong, where you’ll find the city’s first and foremost vegan restaurant, Ooh Cha Cha (自然食古亭); a foodie trailblazer in the city, country and continent as a whole.
If you’re hitting the street in search of vegan friendly food, then Taipei’s iconic stinky tofu is hugely popular, and will satisfy that craving for dirtiness and funk in a dish. And perhaps the country’s most famous culinary export, milk and bubble tea, often uses non dairy milk powder or soy milk, with the famous pearls made from tapioca. Oh yes!
TEL AVIV, ISRAEL
Israel has the most vegans per capita in the world, with an estimated 8% of the population identifying as vegan; that’s 400’000 people in total, roughly. The culinary capital Tel Aviv, then, is a mecca for the plant based dieters among us, with at least 36 dedicated vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv. As a country, Israel has a reputation of being highly accommodating to vegan travellers, with Middle Eastern cuisine, and Israeli in particular, celebratory of freshness, vegetables and pulses. Hummus, falafel and lentils all find a home here, and some of the world’s best versions are found in Tel Aviv.
Tel Aviv’s vegan offerings aren’t restricted to highly nutritious plant based diets though, as Israel is one of the first countries in the world to host vegan versions of many well known and loved brands. Pizza company Dominoes, for instance, chose Israel as the first country to try out the vegan versions of their well loved pizza classics.
So, what are you waiting for? Open up that Skyscanner and arrive on an empty stomach, and you’ll be richly rewarded!