As a world traveling vegetarian, it is not always easy to find delicious meat free dishes. I admit that I was struggling in the Philippines, in the south of Argentina and in Chile. But luckily there are a few places that I’d call ‘paradise for vegetarians’. Places were vegan and vegetarian restaurants are abundant, where people know how to cook mouthwateringly good food without chicken broth or lard, which are used in many countries to cook rice in (which is then called ‘meat free’). I even lost weight in the Philippines, simply because of how little I was eating due to vegetarian food options. However, luckily there are some amazing places that I have had the privilege of visiting that have been vegetarian havens. Here are some of my favorite destinations for excellent vegetarian food:
New York, New York
Being a city where you can find absolutely anything you want at just about any time of day or night, my current base NYC has a bountiful selection of vegetarian eats. You can find anything from Ethiopian to Jordanian, without having to look very hard. An entire world of food to experience all within one city. I’m not gonna lie: all the good vegetarian food here was one of the reasons that made me come back, despite the dreary November weather.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
I’ve already raved about Thailand’s vegetarian foodie paradise Chiang Mai in detail here. Although there is undoubtedly a lot of meat to be found in Thailand, especially at the street food stalls, Chiang Mai is home to some of the most delicious vegetarian restaurants that I have ever been to. Especially if you are crazy for coconut and curry, you will enjoy the food here. And with over 80 vegetarian restaurants, there’s always a lot to choose from.
Obviously Southern India makes the list, as in general most of India is predominantly vegetarian. If you enjoy a little spice in your life, working your way through Andhra Pradesh, Karnaraka, Kerala, or Tamil Nadu are well worth it. Probably the most diverse and most flavorful vegetarian food imaginable, Indian food is a definite go-to for me.
One location that was a big surprise was Berlin. According to Saveur magazine, which just published its Good Taste Awards 2015, Berlin is now the “new vegetarian capital.” With German cuisine in general being very meat and potatoes, this new title is particularly unexpected, but with a myriad of ethnic food options to be found in Berlin, it shouldn’t be a surprise. I ate my way through loads of vegetarian Vietnamese, Middle Eastern and Turkish food during my several visits this year, and the number of vegan restaurants opening around town seems endless!
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver has a very happening foodie culture. There are so many particular and dedicated restaurants, whatever your dietary desires – vegetarian, vegan, raw, gluten-free – you name it, Vancouver has got it. It’s also the home to The Acorn restaurant, which is the only vegetarian restaurant to date to have received the honor of being mentioned in the En Route Magazine “Top Ten Best New Restaurants” in 2013. I personally had some of the best veggie sushi of my life in Vancouver!
What’s your favorite destination for vegetarian food?