September 12, 2018

Whether you’re planning for a vacation, moving, or simply to meet like-minded people from around the world, it is great to be aware of the vegetarian havens across the globe. In addition to the well-known cities like Los Angeles, Portland, or London, some places may surprise you for their delicious vegetarian food selection.

The most populous and innovative Israeli city, Tel-Aviv, is a surprising destination for vegetarians. Tel-Aviv’s international reputation has only recently been associated with veganism, thanks in large part to the controversial influence of Gary Yourofsky, a Jewish-American animal activist. Yourofsky’s viral videos that are as informative as they are heart-wrenching, have drawn parallels between the experience of Holocaust victims in concentration camps with animals in slaughterhouses. This analogy was especially potent for Israelis, and Yourofsky’s influence has been connected with almost a 10% uptake in veganism in Israel. Beyond staple Israeli foods like hummus, falafel, and tabouleh, vegetarian cuisine centres around fresh produce and bold, layered flavours of spice and herbs. Tel-Aviv alone is home to 400 vegan restaurants and kitchens that cater to and delight residents and tourists alike.

Berlin, historically best known for bratwurst, beer, and Cold War political tension, has now gained recognition as one of the most vegan friendly cities in the world. Home to ever-expanding supermarket chain Veganz and a plethora of vegetarian restaurants, shops, and events, plant-based travellers are sure to feel more than welcome in the German capital. Given the city’s renowned affordability, Berlin has attracted global immigration, and has the restaurant scene to show for it. In tandem with the rise of international cuisine is the increased popularity of the vegan lifestyle. Berlin is home to approximately 80,000 self-identifying vegans (not including additional vegetarians) who are keen to make the city as accommodating as possible of a cruelty-free way of life.

As more Western backpackers flock to Southeast Asia for coming-of-age expeditions and Instagram-worthy beach trips, tourist destinations are bending to meet the demand for plant foods. Vegetables, tropical fruit, and rice are already popular staples in Thai, Malay, Lao and Vietnamese cuisine, so the adjustments for vegetarian meals are not difficult. Additionally, this region is home to many followers of Buddhism, which in a strict adoption of its principle of ahimsa, precludes violence towards any life. As long as travellers take care to avoid fish sauce (often included inconspicuously with otherwise vegetarian dishes) and are considerate of local culinary traditions, they are sure to have a rewarding and delicious experience.

Beyond any cities or geographical areas highlighted for their extraordinary catering to vegetarian diets, it is possible to avoid animal products anywhere in the world with some careful planning and awareness. Local customs may be different than what travellers are accustomed to, so it is important to research, learn helpful phrases in the country’s language, or find similar-minded locals to avoid uncomfortable dining experiences and seamlessly enjoy the trip of a lifetime.