Where To Eat Abroad: A Guide For Vegan Travelers
“Stop procrastinating, leave your comfort zone, and taste the world!”
– The Vegan Travelers
Love to travel but unsure how to eat a plant-based diet while abroad? Dietary restrictions can be a considerable travel deterrent, mainly when you can’t eat meat, dairy, and/or gluten. But as plant-based diets are becoming more popular around the globe, so are a number of vegan restaurants and grocery stores.
Whether you’re planning one last trip this year or dreaming about summer 2018 abroad, grab your passport and indulge in some of the world’s most delicious plant-inspired cuisine!
Tips For Vegan Travel From Vegan Travelers
1. Plan Ahead
Research restaurants in advance, especially if you have an allergy to dairy or gluten. Because it can often take more time to find a spot in a city you are unfamiliar with, it’s helpful to carry nuts, dried fruit, and bars in your day pack.
“The most inspirational piece of advice I can give to newbie vegan travelers is that It’s really way more easy than anyone thinks to travel abroad as a vegan. Every city is a breeze to find vegan eats but it’s also just as easy in remote villages. You can find vegan meals at local restaurants, shop in stores, get street food, or find local produce in farmers markets.” – Burger Abroad
“At first, you might think it’s hard to be vegan while traveling. But after a while, you will notice, that it’s actually easy to find vegan options anywhere. Last year, we traveled across Asia for some months and found out, that vegetarian food is not only always the cheapest option, but also that it’s mostly vegan there (and that you can get vegetables, rice, soy and seitan everywhere)!” – The Vegan Travelers
2. Utilize Apps & Online Forums
Happy Cow is a useful app for finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants abroad. It allows you to search near your location for vegan, vegetarian, and veg-friendly restaurants. Trip Advisor and Yelp are also helpful to find reviews.
“People are usually happy to help you. And if you need more assistance, apps like Happy Cow help you locate vegan-friendly eats and Veganagogo help you translate dietary needs. But no matter the location, or the country, or the language—you can always easily find vegan food because vegan food is really just food! So go forth and be vegan!” – Burger Abroad
3. Learn The Local Language
Before you leave for your trip, learn how to say common phrases in the local language, including phrases related to your dietary restrictions or food preferences. Saying hello in the native language can go a long way locals; most people will be more than happy to help you find the nearest plant-based eatery.
“This year in March, we started our big Europe Tour and heard a lot about Portugal and its reputed vegan-unfriendliness. But there’s no way that we could confirm that rumor. We found so many vegan-friendly places in small and big cities like Porto and Lisbon, and even an almost completely vegan Yoga Retreat…” – The Vegan Travelers
8 Vegan Restaurants Around The World
To compile this list of vegan-friendly travel destinations, we spoke with vegan travelers from all over, as well as conducted our own research. It’s not a comprehensive list, but it’s diverse and highlights cities both near and far from the USA. Cheers!
London, United Kingdom
We Recommend | Healthy Stuff
What To Expect | A cozy neighborhood breakfast spot for gluten-free bread and cake, vegan toast, and fresh-pressed juice
While not the most budget-friendly city, there’s no shortage of vegan restaurants in England’s capital—specifically in Hackney, a vibrant East London borough. Small, local grocery stores are also well-stocked with vegan products and produce if you would prefer to save pounds and prepare your meals. The Harvest grocers in Dalston and Stoke Newington have a wide selection of meat and dairy-substitutes, affordable produce, and fair trade coffee and chocolate bars. And don’t miss Temple of Seitan, a favorite takeout spot serving vegan fried chicken and burgers.
We Recommend | Kopps
What To Expect | A come-together 3-course meal (only 19 €), cocktail bar, and weekend brunch
But isn’t German cuisine historically known for its egg noodles, Bratwursts, and Schnitzels? We were a little taken aback too when we learned Berlin is soaring to the top of the list for vegan-friendly travel destinations. According to global market research, Germany launched 18% of vegan products in 2016—more than any country in the world—and 5% of all German adults embrace a vegan diet. Travelers will be relieved to find vegan food options on almost corner in Germany’s capital, including Vöner, where foodies can enjoy Germany’s favorite Turkish snack, the döner, meat-free. And in the warmer months, Eiskontor Berlin serves vegan, all-natural ice cream.
We Recommend | Vege Bistro
What To Expect | A cozy cafe serving traditional Polish comfort food (including pierogis) sans meat
Farther east in Europe, Poland is often overlooked by travelers despite its rich history, unspoiled countryside, and friendly people. Warsaw is also popping up on the map for vegan restaurants. With a conversion rate of 1 US dollar to 3.6 Zloty (Poland’s currency), Warsaw is a beautiful and affordable city for vegan travelers looking to explore Eastern Europe. And if you find yourself missing California burritos, travelers rave about Momencik, a vegan burrito and taco joint.
Tel Aviv, Israel
We Recommend | BANA
What To Expect | A recently opened plant-based eatery serving imaginative, healthy food in an eclectic space
Travelers are flocking to Tel Aviv, which doesn’t come as a surprise as the city is known for its warm weather, beach parties, and heaping portions of freshly-made hummus. And while many vegans would arguably be content eating warm pita and hummus for the extent of their stay, Tel Aviv is bursting with vegan cafes serving food from all over the world. Enjoy a colorful, homemade sandwich for lunch on the patio of Alegria and a vegan steak for dinner at 416, a New York inspired bistro-cocktail bar.
We Recommend | Samsara
What To Expect | A cozy, affordable cafe for Mediterranean-inspired eats and fresh-pressed juice (gluten-free options)
One of Central America’s most historic cities, Antigua attracts travelers from all around the world for its colorful streets and Spanish colonial buildings. The gateway city to Lake Atitlán and volcano hikes, Antigua is a popular stopover. Apart from the bounty of fresh produce for mere quetzales (1 USD=7.34 GTQ), Antigua is beaming with juice bars and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine. Many restaurants also offer vegan/vegetarian options on their menus. Check out Rainbow Cafe for delicious food and live music on the patio.
Mexico City, Mexico
We Recommend | Los Loosers
What To Expect | Vegan Mexican Japanese fusion food made from scratch daily
Home of the tacos al pastor, it might seem impossible to find vegan-friendly food in Mexico City—aside from rice and beans, of course. But plant-based diets have caught on in Mexico’s capital city, especially with young adults. The best part? You can still eat like the locals at Gatorta; a vegan food stand serving gringas, tortas, postres, and more. Did we mention 1 USD equals 19 Mexican Pesos?
We Recommend | Plants Eatery
What To Expect | Cozy cafe & grocery store serving sustainable, nutritious food with locally-sourced ingredients (gluten-free, unrefined sugars, raw food options)
Unlike some of the other places on our list, travelers know Taipei for its vegan cuisine. Plant-based dishes are served in both high-end restaurants and bustling street markets, including the famous Keelung Night Market (a short train from Taipei). At Vega Creek, a favorite restaurant for vegan Taiwanese food, diners hand-select their vegetables and noodles to be prepared by chefs. The restaurant is also well-known for its eco-friendly practices: all packaging is made of biodegradable cornstarch.
Chiang Mai, Thailand
We Recommend | Vegan Heaven
What To Expect | 100% vegan menu serving affordable breakfast, Western food, Thai food, and desserts
Jungles, mountains, temples, and friendly people are only a few of the many reasons to visit Chiang Mai, northern Thailand’s largest city. A popular destination for backpackers, digital nomads, and expats, Chiang Mai also boasts a growing vegan community. Reform Kafé, located in the Old City, is 100% vegan and has a lovely garden patio for relaxing with friends. And, while not traditional Thai, Olé Gourmet Mexican fuses Mexican recipes with fresh, local ingredients to serve a delicious and unique vegan burrito.