Being a vegetarian traveller can be tough. You find yourself in places where you can’t get the right kind of food, simply because almost all the locals are meat-lovers! And not finding the right kind of food can ruin the whole experience and dampen your spirits. Totally relatable?
Well, fear not. You don’t always have to eat out of supermarkets, stick to salads and breads or pack your vegetarian meals. Because, like these food bloggers, you’ll find that even the most ‘meat-loving’ places have great vegetarian dishes. Here are 7 of 2018’s hottest destinations, where you’ll be surprised to find that the veg food is not only good, but heavenly. They are sure to lift your spirits:
The first on our list is this Middle-Eastern country. Yes, it’s known for its mouthwatering kebabs and meat-based food, but what will come as a surprise is the range of vegetarian dishes that lie in wait for you – falafels, hummus, delicious pastries and more.
Nandita Iyer (@saffrontrail) , a leading vegetarian food blogger talks about Mezze – an exciting collection of vegetarian dishes that’ll leave you spoilt for choice. This is one of our favourites and as she explains, it’s best had in a large group: :
“Mezze for a crowd means lots and lots of small plates, and here’s where vegetarians can really dig in. Mezze, similar to the Tapas in Spanish cuisine, comprises small plates for community sharing, dipping a piece of bread into the variety of dips, and generally having fun with food. Variety of fresh salads, dips like hummus, moutabel and labneh, stuffed vine leaves (dolma), mixed pickled vegetables are some of the popular cold mezze.”
While the capital city has considerable number of fast-food places and restaurants as options, you won’t be disappointed if you are a veg foodie looking to try the local cuisine.
There is a good range of dishes that are vegetarian (or can be made vegetarian). Like thick pea soup that can substitute even as a full meal. Delicious apple pies. And pancakes!
Soft, fluffy and delicious, Dutch pancakes are famous world-over. And the best part is that you’ll find a lot of veggie versions of pancakes here, and get to eat them in all forms: full meal, dessert or savoury. Whether it’s toppings of cheese, fruits, mushrooms or a wide range of syrups, you will enjoy every moment you spend eating them. And Soumya (@soumna_travelbooksfood ) experienced just that :
“…I decided to order a savoury Dutch pancake (Pannenkoken). They have lots of vegetarian options, both savoury and sweet. It is definitely a treat for the foodie since the pancakes made there are so delicious. It was perfection.”
Popular for its lamb, beef, and pork-based dishes, Greece also does have multiple vegan and vegetarian dishes for travellers (think lots of greens, hummus and salads). However, there’s a trick to making your food options more exciting: some of these popular meat-based dishes need not, umm, contain meat!
As Sophie (@thewanderfulme ) discovered to her surprise, some restaurants also serve a vegan version of popular dishes, that’s equally yummy and will leave you satisfied. Like the Gyros:
“This might be a little unbelievable to some but, yes! Gyros can be made vegan. While at one of the many restaurants in Monastiraki square, I ordered a vegan gyro. The waiter looked at me a little funny but just order a grilled vegetable one without the sauce and lots of spices. It’s delish!”
4) Japan : The Golden Sesame Ramen
It’s almost impossible to find a full vegetarian or vegan in Japan, mostly because Japanese cuisine has fish as its central dish and it’s found in a wide range of dishes. So much so that you might have to say ‘no fish’ when ordering a ‘vegetarian’ dish in a restaurant. That being said, there are vegetarian options that you’ll find to be good, like shojin ryori (Buddhist food), vegetarian tempura (battered fried vegetables), and the golden sesame ramen.
This soupy noodle dish is unique to Japan, with a broth that is tangy, slightly sweet and thick, making it a very hearty and flavourful meal. Here’s what Nada (@onearabvegan ) , a vegan blogger had to say about it:
“I opted for the golden sesame ramen, which was divine. A combination of toasted sesame seeds, a hearty peanut and miso based broth, greens, faux soy meat crumbles, sautéed vegetables and perfectly cooked noodles – this had to have been one of my favourite meals of the whole trip.”
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Okay, this is definitely an easy place to explore if you’re a vegetarian. Italy has great options, be it pizzas, eggplant-based dishes, bread and lots of olives.
And while heavy, flavourful meals are sure to lift your spirits, it doesn’t always have be the case. Sometimes, it’s the dessert that makes all the difference and vegetarian blogger Salonee gives us a perfect example – the chocolate calzone:
“#QuirkyItaly The sheer joy of getting lost and discovering something better while trying to find that little perfect place amid tiny streets in #Rome We landed at this #pizzeria that served amazing pizza but even more satisfying was this #dessert the #chocolate #calzone sprinkled with sugar and more chocolate. Chocolate oozed out of each bite full making it a messy but gratifying eat. At Dar Poeta in Trastevere #Rome “ ~ @foodalong
6) Taiwan – The Hot Pot
As long as you use the phrase “Wo Chi Su” (I eat vegetables), you’ll find the right kind of food here. Although it has a meat-eating local population, vegans and vegetarians will find Taiwan to be a very friendly place with lots of vegetarian restaurants.
And one of our favourites is a particular dish which you get to make with ONLY your favourite ingredients! Sounds exciting? Well, preparing the hot pot is just that, as food blogger Roxanne (@thetinytaster ) describes:
“I can’t even begin to describe how satisfying a hot pot meal is. While most people don’t want to go through the trouble of making your own meal I think it’s wonderful. A basic broth is given to you with every condiment and ingredient possible. You wait for it to boil, add in the ingredients … and eat while you cook! “
The last in our list is Turkey, a place that just treats vegetarians right. Why? Because, in Turkey, most dishes have a vegetarian base, with meat added later. From vegetarian crepes and varieties of bread to delicious pastries, the choices are endless.
And this time again, we’ve decided to feature a collection of dishes that makes for a rich meal : the Turkish breakfast! It is sure to help you kickstart your day feeling alive and fully energetic, and Revati Charles ( @differentdoors ) tells us why:
“The traditional take on Turkish breakfast is quite interesting, and we were a bit flummoxed on the first day when we went to the dining room at the Ayasofya Hotel for breakfast. A selection of cold cuts, cheeses, olives, cucumbers, tomatoes, breads, dry fruits and deep fried cheese pastries … All of this washed down with a deep dark cup of Turk Kahvesi – a coffee that’s brewed with the grounds still at the bottom.”
So, no matter where you’re headed next, we’re sure that there will be delicious vegetarian dishes lying in wait, to surprise and cheer you up! Have you felt this before? To be in a strange land, and find great food in places that you least expected? Tell us about your happy food moments in the comments section. 🙂