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For vegans, every day is Earth Day, and the dining options at these destinations make veganism easy to celebrate
Best Cities for Vegan Travel
The 9 Best Destinations for Vegan Travelers
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.
#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.
In recent years, Glasgow has been voted the most vegan-friendly destinations in the United Kingdom. Vegfest 2015, one of Europe’s largest vegan festivals, is set to take place there in December. You can even try a much more delectable-sounding haggis in the form of Saramago Café’s haggis frites, or sample vegan tapas at Stereo, which is also a performance space. The tofu at Glasgow’s first Vietnamese restaurant, the Hanoi Bike Shop, is a favorite with locals. You don’t have to miss out on pub culture; the vegan grub at the Flying Duck and vegan options available at most Glasgow pubs provide delicious meat-free counterparts to your drinks.
6. New York City
New York tends to swallow up a lot of attention for being one of the food capitals of the world, but part of the reason it is so popular is because it has not just something for everybody — it has a lot of things for everybody. Restaurants like Dirt Candy and the Butcher’s Daughter are even popular with non-vegetarians. Vegans can even enjoy grubby, not-good-for-health-but-delicious mac and cheese pizza from Vinnie’s in Brooklyn, or decadent vegan and gluten-free cupcakes at Babycakes. However, the most delicious vegan treats we know of aren’t even trying to be vegan: La Newyorkina ice pops on the High Line. It is difficult for vegans to feel excluded from much in the Big Apple.
#5 Portland, Ore.
Start your vegan vacation by waking up in the Cherokee Rose Inn, an all-vegan bed and breakfast. Portland has a vegan strip mall and even a vegan strip club. The mini-mall is home to businesses like the Herbivore Clothing Company, which is stocked with an awesome section of vegan cookbooks and vegan lifestyle books. You’ll find one of the many best vegan eats at Sonny Bowl: a black eyed pea bowl with barbecue sauce and kale tossed in tahini dressing, served over brown basmati rice with green chili-corn relish and “soy curls,” a meat-like topping that is popular all over Portland. Portobello Vegan Trattoria is a meatless boucherie and Italian restaurant that serves perfectly crisped gnocchi and beet tartare that is just as good, if not better, than the beef tartare you’ll find at any French restaurant.
#4 Vancouver, Canada
In addition to Vancouver’s Stanley Park being one of the best parks in the world for picnicking, Vancouver has some of the best vegan food in North America. Earth-conscious Bandidas serves excellent Mexi-vegan fare; Dharma Kitchen is your spot for tempeh burgers; the Wallflower Modern Diner certainly won’t make vegans feel like wallflowers, especially with that vegan breakfast poutine; and even Yew in the Four Seasons Hotel, famous for its seafood, has an excellent vegan menu. The critically-acclaimed Acorn restaurant serves beer-battered halloumi, coconut cashew and kimchi dumplings, and raw beet ravioli.
#3 Chennai, India
India’s population is about 1.2 billion people, and almost half of them are vegetarian. For that reason, many restaurants will mark their doors with the label “pure veg,” which means all their food is meat- and egg-free. You’ll very rarely see a menu in Chennai that does not have a sizeable vegetarian section. While northern Indian cuisine relies heavily on ghee (clarified butter), south Indian cooking is more reliant on coconut milk, rice, and legumes (but you should still exercise caution and specify no dairy). The best part? Regional cuisine varies so much in south India that in Chennai alone you’ll be able to enjoy vegan specialties from Kerala, Andhra, Chettinad, and more — you’ll never, ever, get bored of the food in this city. You’ll want to order the Andhra thali (a plate of rice with various curries) at Ashoka, get idlis and dosas for breakfast at Murugan Idli Shop, and try some vegan Indian-Chinese food (especially the “crackling spinach”) at Mainland China.
In the land of Bratwurst, you can count on trendy Berlin to go above and beyond in terms of accommodating greener, healthier ways of life. It is so fitting that a restaurant called Culinary Misfits, which exclusively serves “ugly” vegetables, is so popular in the German capital. The picturesque veggie burgers at Sun Day Burger, fine-dining cuisine at Lucky Leek, amazingly priced vegan pizza (all under 10 Euros, or about $10.75 USD) at Sfizy Veg, and earth-friendly ice cream at Der Eisbärliner & Caramello are just a few of the many vegan dining options in Berlin.
#1 Tel Aviv
The first hint of a vegan craze in Tel Aviv was spotted in 2012 by Tablet Magazine, but a few years later, Tel Aviv’s vegan scene is as robust as ever. “Almost one in 20 Israelis describes themselves as vegan, a number that feels much higher in the country’s second city,” writes Hardeep Singh Kohi in High Life, British Airways’ in-flight magazine. Even Domino’s in Tel Aviv serves vegan pizza. You’ll find many bearded hipsters enjoying the simple fare at Port Said, and the Georgian restaurant Nanuchka has a fresh take on meat-heavy Eastern European food. Of course, the vegan staple of falafel can be found virtually everywhere, but you can even get vegetarian shawarma at a restaurant appropriately named the Veg Shawarma.