It’s tough out there for vegans — not because their food is any less flavorful than what non-vegans eat, but because there aren’t too many places around the world that accommodate their dietary needs. Vegan food can be found anywhere if you look hard enough, but it is a luxury to not have to specifically arrange for meals without meat, dairy, or other animal products. Here, though, are nine cities where it's not difficult. Here are the nine best destinations for vegan travelers.
Some destinations on this list, like Berlin and Austin, are vegan because they have made attempts to be greener, and these attempts have paved the way for a lot of culinary creativity. Others, like Chennai and Taipei, have been heavily “vegan” without trying for centuries — much to the chagrin of people who claim that meat and dairy are essential to every person’s diet. There are plenty of other animal-friendly sources of protein, and also plenty of vegan junk foods. Whether you’re vegan for the sake of Mother Nature or to take advantage of a weight-loss diet that actually works, there are plenty of perks — including feeling like a true local in these destinations.
We selected these cities by taking a closer look at the locations of the restaurants in our list of the 25 best vegetarian restaurants in the world, and by consulting PETA’s recommendations for vegan travelers. We also looked through our list of the 10 best cities for gluten-free travelers, because there is often a lot of crossover between these two dietary imperatives.
According to The Guardian, the average British carnivore eats over 11,000 animals in a lifetime: one goose, one rabbit, four cattle, 18 pigs, 23 sheep and lambs, 28 ducks, 39 turkeys, 1,158 chickens, 3,593 shellfish, and 6,182 fish — an amount that is not only expensive, but that may increase the risk of obesity, cancer, heart disease, and other illnesses. Nobody should feel obligated to give up meat, but once in a while we need holidays like Earth Day to remind people to be more mindful of nature.
Getting on an airplane means leaving a big carbon footprint. So wouldn’t it be nice to make up for it by eating green while you’re on vacation? Well, if it’s not nice, it will at least be delicious.
9. Taipei, Taiwan
Different kinds of Buddhism have different rules regarding the consumption of meat. While Thailand is often touted as a haven for vegan eaters, Thai Buddhists are allowed to eat meat if it is offered to them. That is not the case for Taiwanese Buddhists. The naturally (mostly) dairy-free cuisine makes it easy for vegans to pluck out the vegan options. The tranquil Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine in Xinyi serves beautifully plated, mostly vegan food, and you can count on a good amount of the street food at the Shilin Night Market to be meat and dairy-free.
Mexico City might be one of the best destinations for gluten-free travelers, but for vegans, not so much. Fear not: Vegans can eat Mexican food to their hearts’ content on the other side of the border in Austin — yes, the one in Texas, which is not exactly a state known for its vegetarian amenities. Enjoy a vegan Frito pie at the Vegan Yacht, delicious chalupas with soy chorizo at Guero’s Taco Bar, “Guac the Casbah” (hummus mixed with mashed, seasoned avocados and topped with cucumbers, raisins, toasted sesame seeds, and mint) at Guac N’ Roll, and top it all off with a sweet, dairy-free snack at Sweet Ritual.