I want to preface this by saying that I am not a vegan. Out of concern for the planet, my health, and animal wellfare, I do follow a mostly plant-based diet. Which is easy enough at home, but can be tricky when traveling. Without access to a kitchen, your familiar ingredients, and fluency in the local language, vegan travel can be challenging. Especially if you follow a strict vegan diet.
If you do have access to a kitchen, cooking your own meals is one of my top tips for traveling on a vegan diet.
Of course, some places are more vegan and vegetarian friendly than others. Generally speaking, you won’t have any issues finding suitable options in big cities around the world, but rural and remote areas can be a different story. Countries where the cuisine is naturally full of vegan options are going to be your best bet.
Following a plant-based diet is a great way to live and travel more sustainably
And it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on great food or cultural experience. I’ve found at least one traditional plant-based dish in every local cuisine that I’ve tried. And in many places you’ll be able to try vegan and vegetarian versions of popular local dishes.
So to help you out on your next trip, I’ll share some of my favorite destinations for vegan food and the must try dishes there.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
Thailand is a great destination for travelers who want to eat plant-based on a budget. With street food meals for as cheap €1, you’ll be spoiled for affordable food choices. And many of them are vegan!
Thai cuisine is naturally very vegan and vegetarian friendly. Many locals eat a strict or occassional vegan diet in accordance with Buddhist tradition. Meat and seafood also tend to be more expensive than vegetables and tofu.
The one thing to watch out for is fish sauce, which tends to make it’s way into everything. Learn to state your dietary preferences and “no fish sauce” in Thai in advance, to save yourself a lot of trouble, or look for fully vegan eateries.
Although finding great vegan meals is easy enough in all the tourist hotspots, Chang Mai truly takes the plant-based crown. From delicious street food to health food cafés, Chiang Mai is a vegan foodie heaven! Here are a few must-try Thai dishes:
- Mango sticky rice: my favorite Thai dessert is always vegan!
- Curry: you’ll be able to find vegan curries with tofu and vegetables in almost every restaurant.
- Pad Thai: try the crazy looking purple pad thai at Anchan
- May Kaidee serves vegan versions of Thai classics like Tom Yum Soup and Papaya Salad. They also offer vegan cooking classes!
- Khao Soi: try this delicious northern Thai noodle soup at Reform Cafe in Green Tiger Guest House
For more vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai, have a look on Happy Cow
Like Thailand, Vietnam is a great destination for vegan food. Vietnamese cuisine is very vegetarian and vegan friendly with an abbundance of fresh vegetables and tofu dishes. Because of Buddhism, many people choose to follow a strict or partial vegan diet. The only thing to watch out for is the use of fish sauce in otherwise seamingly vegan dishes.
These tips and phrases from the Nomadic Vegan will help you avoid any mishaps
While finding vegan options is a bit trickier in the countryside, you won’t have any issues in the big cities. Hanoi in particular houses many vegan and vegetarian restaurants that serve plant-based versions of classic Vietnamese as well as international dishes.
Hanoi is also one of my favorite places to visit in Vietnam
A few vegan Vietnamese meals to try:
- Pho Chay: this famous Vietnamese noodle soup is just as good without beef or chicken.
- Buffet: for only a few dollars/euro’s you can eat as much delicious vegan Vietnamese food as you like at Tam An Lac.
- Bahn Mi Chay: delicious sanwiches perfect as an afternoon snack or easy lunch from the Vegan Bahn Mi Food Cart
- Coffee: Maison de Tet brews delicious vegan Vietnamese coffee
- Tofu with tomato: easy but delicious Vietnamese main, Loving Hut serves a great version
- Spring rolls: visit Bo De Quan for these fried rice paper rolls with noodles and veggies
You may not immediately think of Copenhagen as a foodie destination, but it is! Aside from famous sights like Nuhavn and the Little Mermaid, Copenhagen houses a lot of great vegan eateries! The Danish capital is modern with al alternative side, especially in the “Free City of Christiana” an independent enclave in the city.
Looking for things to do in Copenhagen? I’ve got you covered!
So it isn’t suprising that the forward thinking and enviromentally concious Danes have embraced the plant-based diet. As you cycle around the city, be sure to stop for these iconic dishes:
- Quick snack: try the hot dogs at DOP
- Smorrebrod: it can be thinking finding a seafood free version of these open-faced sanwiches, but Lillians has a few delicious options for an easy lunch
- Food market: visit the Torvehallerne for an array of local food vendors with lots of vegan options.
- Hipster foods: BaneGaarden is a sustainable hipster dreamscape where you can eat and follow workshops
- Fine Dining: organic veggies and homegrown herbs shine at Gemyse in the Tivoli Gardens
Berlin is truly a vegan foodie heaven. The German capital is known for its alternative, counter-culture scene. Which includes not just techno music and street art, but also vegan food.
Many Berliners are passionate about sustainability. Second hand clothing, cycling, and plant-based living are big here. Pretty much every restaurant offers vegan and vegetarian options and there are plenty of fully vegan eateries as well. From baked goods to late night snacks, there’s a tasty vegan option for every craving.
For more vegan Berlin tips, check out Vegan Berlin.
You’ll find most vegan-friendly restaurants in the hip neighborhoods of the city: Mitte, Kreuzberg, Neukölln, Prenzlauer Berg, and Friedrichshain. But if you find yourself hungry and on the outskirts of town, the nearest kebab shop most likely sells a tasty falafel sandwhich.
As an international city, Berlin cuisine is a mix of everything. The most ubiquitous are traditional German, Vietnamese, and Turkish.
A few popular dishes to try in Berlin:
- Currywurst: Curry & Chilli has the spiciest currywurst in the city, and they offer a vegan version
- Falafel or Makali: at any döner stand, ask without garlic sauce to keep it vegan
- Donuts: Brammiballs is a Berlin insitution
- Vietnamese: 1990 Vegan Living is my favorite spot
- Pizza: La Stella Nera does a mean Neapolitan, and it’s all vegan!
- Beer: most Berlin craft breweries serve all vegan beer, BRLO is my home away from home
Feeling thirsty? Follow my list of the best beer gardens in Berlin
Looking to stock up on goodies to take home? Check out the vegan supermarket Veganz!
London, United Kingdom
Most big European cities are great for vegan travelers and London is no exception. It is actually the most vegan friendly city in the world according to Happy Cow.
When I visited London in 2019, I was blown away by the atmosphere, the food, and how much there was to do. And I found it to be surprisingly budget-friendly!
You really are spoiled for choice in London when it comes to vegan food. London is an international hub with cuisines from all over the world. Eating your way through London is like eating your way across the world. And unlike in more rural areas of the UK, vegetarian and vegan options are available everywhere.
- Street food: Upmarket on Brick Lane has loads of street food stalls with vegan options
- Breakfast: start your day with a vegan full English at Stem & Glory
- Afternoon Tea: head to Brigit’s Bakery for a British classic but vegan
- Sunday Roast: atmosphere and a great vegan roast dinner at the Old Queens Head
- Fish & Chips: zero-waste and vegan? We love to see it, and taste it, at Canvas Café
- Indian: the best Indian food outside of India is probably in London, and always with vegan options.
Need a quick snack? Greggs vegan sausage rolls are here to save the day!
As you can see, being a vegan or following a plant-based diet doesn’t mean you have to miss out while traveling. If you pick the right spots and do your research, you can find delicious vegan meals wherever you go. Especially in these great destination for vegan food!
If you need more resources for traveling as a vegan, I highly recommend the Lonely Plant Vegan Travel Handbook!
Are you a vegan or vegetarian traveler? Where have you found the best options while traveling? Let me know which places you would add to this list in the comments.
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