For many people (myself included) food is a fundamental part of travelling. And let’s face it veggies, the struggle is definitely real. It’s not all that uncommon to spy a suspicious porky substance in that ‘meat free’ dumpling, or – after a failed attempt at the speaking the local language – find yourself miming the actions, ‘no chicken’ to the waiter. No? Just me? Ahem. OK, so to make life a little bit easier, I’m celebrating #NationalVegetarianWeek with our top places to be vegetarian around the world…
1. Dhal-iscious India…
OK, this is an obvious choice I admit but we couldn’t do a round-up of the world’s best veggie destinations and not include the DADDY of vegetarian cuisine, could we? Yep, India is home to over 500 million vegetarians which can only mean one thing… a mouthwatering myriad of vegetarian meals!
Wherever you go in India, one thing is for sure; you’ll be spoilt for choice. Whether you treat yourself to some authentic sizzling street food or take your pick from the variety of veg and ‘pure veg’ restaurants- get ready to stuff your face with some of the tastiest meat free treats around. Some of our favourites include kachori sabzi (typical Varanasi dough balls filled with spiced potato), vada pav (spicy potato fritters) and aloo tikki (spicy potato croquettes). Yum!
2. Taste sensations in Sri Lanka
I decided to travel to Sri Lanka 18 months ago for the beautiful sights, amazing wildlife and – of course – the culinary delights. For such a Buddhist country, I was surprised to see meat on the menu at all in the hotel restaurants, though this was largely to cater for western tastebuds. Don’t let this put you off though! Sri Lanka is renowned for its delicious food and a large portion of the nation’s cooking is veggie-friendly, not to mention SPICY! So be sure to get out and explore beyond the hotel restaurant menu card.
Wherever you go in Sri Lanka, you’re bound to find the nation’s favourite: Rice and Curry! This is a staple dish that varies from creamy coconut dal to jackfruit, potato, pumpkin and cashew curry and are often served up with green beans, fried okra and spicy chutneys! Be sure to sample some traditional roti too- these yummy flatbreads are stuffed with spicy filling and are a popular streetfood dish, not to mention cheap as..well…roti?
Psst… why not get behind the stove in Kandy on an authentic cooking class where you can visit the local market by tuk-tuk before whipping up your own dinner with the cook of the house!
3. Meat-free nibbles in Nepal
Nepal is a diverse country with so many mouth-watering flavours to be tasted! If you’re a veggie and planning your travels here, you won’t have a problem as meat is often considered as more of a luxury ingredients in meals. In fact, the national dish in Nepal is Dal Bat which is a meal that most Nepalis eat for lunch and dinner virtually every day of their lives – except for festivals. It’s an ‘all you can eat’ vegan feast!
When visiting restaurants, you’re sure to find meat-free alternatives to famous dishes like momo, thukpa and khana set and most veggie options will include greens, tofu and paneer.
Psst… why not try your hand a cooking veggie on a homestay in Panauti where you can learn the art of making chapattis amongst other delish dishes? Travel photographer, Michelle Harding did! Check out her video from her homestay…
4. Go veggie in Valparaiso, Chile
Chile; an unexpected choice, but bear with me! Though Chile may not be a country best known for its plethora of vegetarian offerings, the city of Valparaiso is a little shining beacon. A bit like our beloved Brighton, Valparaiso is a bohemian blend of culture, art and cuisine, where vegetarian dining is becoming more and more recognised. In fact, Valpo is known as the culture capital of Chile, so if you’re fed up with plain cheese empanadas, you’re sure to find plenty more choice here ranging from vegan/vegetarian restaurants, pizzas, tacos, tortilla de porotos verdes, humitas and quesadillas! If you want to be super organised, you can also use Happy Cow to find the best veggie restaurants in the area.
5. Feeling peckish in Peru
South America isn’t exactly famous for flying the meat-free flag but if the Latin vibes are pulling you in, Peru could be your answer as it’s considered to be the leader in variety of cuisine in South America! First stop, the country’s capital, Lima. Here you’ll find a kaleidoscope of restaurants, markets, and food aficionados with more and more places catering for travellers who don’t much fancy sampling guinea pig. Try Raw Café Club for a taste of healthy veggie and vegan cuisine.
And who says cooking has to be left to the professionals? If you don’t mind donning an apron on your hols, why not try your hand at a spot of home-made cooking in Arequipa? Head to the market with your host and pick up a selection of ingredients before whipping up some veggie treats (just let them know your dietary requirements beforehand)!
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