8 Great Countries for Traveling Vegetarians Slideshow
Having embraced everything from soy to the raw food movement, Canada’s cities are often naturally vegetarian-friendly, without having to try too hard. Restaurants like Rawlicious and Fressen are all leading the charge in Toronto, while Annapurna and Café Deux Soleils are veggie favorites in Vancouver. With their tofu scrambles and a mushroom spinach wrap, Halifax’s Satisfaction Feast is another great example of Canada’s hippie and veggie-loving culture.
London’s food scene has enjoyed a pioneering overhaul the last few years to rid itself of its long-standing bad food reputation. No longer just the capital of fish-and-chips, London is now home to fantastic healthy and organic restaurants of all flavors offering veggie cuisine worth lining up for including Itadaki Zen, Mildred’s, and Saf. Outside London, head to The Waiting Room in Stockton on Tees or Demuths in Bath.
Whether you head to Thailand during their annual Vegetarian Festival (pictured) or not, the country is very welcoming to vegetarians. Restaurants like May Kaidee’s, Tamarind Café, Chiang Mai’s popular Riverside Bar and Restaurant, and veggie stalls at various food markets in Phuket and Bangkok are all veggie-havens. Ever-present ingredients like lemongrass, lotus stems, and cashews make Thai dishes some of the healthiest and most flavorful around.
Cities across the U.S. have adopted all sorts of veggie and health-conscious movements from macrobiotic diets to raw food and veganism.
Los Angeles: Real Food Daily opened multiple locations in a city that has long been amenable to veggie options like replacing meat with tofu and using soy milk. Also, try Brentwood’s A Votre Sante and Electric Karma in West Hollywood — both local favorites.
New York: Try Angelica Kitchen, Candle 79, Gobo in the West Village, and Pure Food and Wine for a taste of New York's health conscious scene. The relatively new NYC Vegetarian Food Festival is also held every spring.
When the Belgian city of Ghent decided to mandate one meatless day per week, the city’s officials made it clear that they were neither admonishing meat-eaters nor promoting full-fledged vegetarianism. Instead, the city was encouraging a decrease in meat consumption for both health and environmental reasons. Other cities in Belgium also offer fantastic veggie options, making traveling through the country a breeze. Try the famed Rouge Tomate in Brussels, Panda in Ghent, and Ilha Formosa in Antwerp to start.
Indian food is among the most easily accessible for vegetarians. Whether you’re in the north, south, or a central region of India, exploring the various sauces and flavors is enticing with or without meat — vegetable pakoras, rice dosas, aloo roti, palak paneer, and eggplant curry are just some of the vegetarian ways to go. Some exemplary places to stop across the country include Agra’s Joney’s Place, Manis Lunch Home in Mumbai, and Rajdhani Thali in New Delhi.
In the states, Japanese cuisine usually conjures images of sushi or tempura. Japan is actually home to one of the oldest communities of practicing vegetarians, namely the acolytes of Zen Buddhism, whose cuisine is called shojin ryori and is served by monks in temples like Tenryu-Ji Temple Shigetsu in Kyoto. Japanese food is very diverse however, with everything from seaweed salad to clever tofu dishes and from vegetable stews to the many Japanese pickle varieties on offer for veggies and carnivores alike. Tokyo establishments like Bon, M Café de Chaya, and Eat More Greens are known veggie havens while you can try homemade tofu at Tousuiro in Kyoto.
The healthful Latin cuisine of Costa Rica is matched by its outdoor-centric culture. From Montezuma to San Jose, there are plenty of options for vegetarian travelers beyond just the fall-back of rice and beans. Cha Cha Cha! in Cahuita is an excellent choice, as is Café Organico in Montezuma, and Flor de Vida in Monteverde. Try a dish of gallo pinto with plantains, some local fresh fruit, and some delicious corn while you’re traveling there for a great taste of the country.