I’ve made no secret about my vegetarian diet, and I’ve even become a vegan at home recently. I say at home, because it’s really hard not to eat dairy every time I’m going out. In fact, France (where I live) has been recognized as one of the most vegetarian not-friendly-at-all countries in the world, and I can attest to that. In many restaurants, there’s not a single vegetarian option. And as a vegan, good luck finding anything to eat in a rush. I was once coming back from a long trip, I was exhausted and hungry, and in the airport, train station, and train itself, there was absolutely nothing without meat, fish or cheese. Nothing.
Now, although the food would not stop me from traveling anywhere, there’s no denying that it adds a lot of pleasure to the trip to be able to walk into any restaurant and order any food on the menu without worrying about it. These five countries that I’m going to introduce are perfect for you if you’re a vegetarian or vegan that doesn’t want to fight for its food throughout the whole trip, or if you’re a meat eater who wants to try out a new diet for a few weeks without breaking a sweat!
1 – INDIA
If you can avoid the too spicy dishes in India, you’re in for a vegan treat. Most dishes are simply comprised of rice, curry vegetables and other kinds of vegetable and bean soups. They’re accompanied by chapati (a kind of pancake bread), naans (flatbread, definitely try the potato naan) and sweet lassi (which is a kind of liquid yogurt, not for vegans). In fact, some cities in India have completely banned meat. In other places, you’ll see written on the guesthouses menus that you need to order meat several days in advance if you want some. Add to that a delicious selection of fruits on the market stalls, and you’ve got yourself a vegan paradise.
2 – ETHIOPIA
A typical meal in Ethiopia is several kinds of wat (stews, often spicy) served on the injera (a large flatbread). The wats are mostly made of beans and vegetables, but spicy meat is often available as well. The reason Ethiopia is a really vegetarian-friendly country is that the Ethiopian Orthodox Church often prescribes periods or days of meat fasting, which makes vegetarianism not only a completely acceptable diet, but also a diet they’re used to provide for.
3 – ISRAEL
Hummus anyone? Or have you ever had a good falafel sandwich? Then you know why Israel is on this list. More seriously, Judaism asked for a long time to separate meat and dairies from the rest of the food. In part for this reason, Israel claims many vegetarian people, and you’ll always find good vegetarian and vegan options in any restaurant! And also: falafel. (Wait, did I already mentioned that?)
4 – NEPAL
Nepal was dreamland for me, I still can’t get over the food. Locals actually eat only one dish (even for breakfast): the Dal Bhat. It’s rice, on which you pour a delicious lentil stew, with a little vegetable curry on the side. It’s yummy, filling, and a surprisingly complete meal if you add a few fruits to your diet (green mangoes and papayas, I miss you!). In restaurants, you’ll find a few other options other than Dal Bhat, including Momos (Tibetan dumplings, easily vegetarians or vegans) or Indian dishes, including the full scope of naans and parathas (oily bread filled with potatoes, cheese or other).
5 – ENGLAND
I wanted to include Europe in this somehow. Although vegan food is not traditional in England, it has become a very vegetarian friendly country. There’s always meat-free options in the restaurants, even outside of London, and I even managed to get a full vegetarian english breakfast several times! Likewise, the inhabitants are used to this diet and rather open minded about it. It might be a little harder for vegans, as there’s a lot of eggs in english cuisine, but still completely doable.
And now I’m hungry. Do you have any other countries you’d recommend for vegetarians and vegans? Leave your tips in the comment section below!