To celebrate World Vegetarian Day today, our Lead Travel Writer and vegetarian Esme Fox, gives us the lowdown on the best destinations for veggie travellers and also gives some tips on surviving as a vegetarian in places which are not so veggie friendly.
India is of course a well-loved destination with vegetarians with around a third of its population being vegetarian. You’ll find veggie dishes readily available all-throughout India, from masala dosas in the south, to daals in the west and vegetarian thails. Vegetarian restaurants and dishes are often marked with green circles if they’re veggie friendly and red ones if they’re not.
New Zealand is a vegetarian’s dream with plenty of purely vegetarian and vegan restaurants and many veggie options on normal menus too. New Zealand’s cities are pretty cosmopolitan, so you can find pretty much any type of cuisine you want here, with veggie options such as sushi, falafel, couscous and spicy Singapore noodles available too.
Thailand may not seem overly veggie friendly at first glances, with most dishes on the menu containing some type of chicken or pork, however just ask and the hospitable Thais will almost always be able to rustle you up a veggie option, be it a pad Thai, a vegetable green curry or a mushroom tom yum soup. Given the number of Buddhist monks in the country, you’ll be able to find vegetarian restaurants and plenty of alternatives such as tofu too. There’s even a vegetarian festival held every year in Phuket.
Italian cuisine never fails to delight even the most fussy of eaters and there’s a good reason why it’s the world’s favourite cuisine. With plenty of cheesy spaghettis, pepper pizzas, potato gnocchi and vegetable filled calzones, you definitely won’t go hungry here. It may be slightly more difficult for vegans though with the amount of cheese used in almost all dishes, but as most dishes here are freshly made, just ask without and you should be fine.
Although the Greeks love their meat, they're a fan of their vegetables too and you’re sure to find some great options on most menus. Think vegetable moussakas with aubergines, spanakopita (filo pastry filled with spinach and feta), think lentil soups and dolmades (stuffed vine leaves).
Everyone knows that the Argentinians love their hand-sized steaks and meat parillas (barbecues), but not many know that Argentineans are lovers of Italian food too. Many Italians emigrated in Argentina between 1857 and 1940 and it is estimated that around 60 percent of Argentines are from Italian descent. Therefore many Argentines know the secrets of Italian cooking - how to make homemade pasta and delicious gelato. Almost every restaurant in Argentina will serve some type of veggie pasta or pizza dish, meaning although you may get sick of pasta, you definitely won’t go hungry.
- China can be very difficult for vegetarians, especially getting your point across and making it understood that you don’t eat meat or fish. Learn how to tell people that you’re a Buddhist though, and they’ll understand immediately, offering you meet-free choices.
- Surprisingly, France can be one of the most difficult places in the world for vegetarians and you’ll usually find on a menu that a salad is your only option. However, speak to your waiter, or better still, the chef and more often than not you’ll be rustled up an omelette or something containing goat’s cheese. Don’t be shy to order a cheese dessert board for dinner either so that you’re not just stuck with boring salads.