YOUR GUIDE TO THE FINDING THE BEST VEGAN TRAVEL FOOD
By The Vegan Roamer
"Isn't it hard traveling as a vegan?"
There’s a quite a stigma that traveling as a vegan is impossible because you won’t find anything to eat, or that you’ll miss out on local food. This can discourage vegans from traveling, as well as new vegans and people interested in veganism.
Along with the vegan restaurants popping up all over the world, you can find accidentally-vegan food and veganizable food almost EVERYWHERE you go. Many of the countries I’ve visited with animal-heavy cuisines have been my favorite places for vegan food!
You just have to do some research and learn how to ask. The small effort is SO WORTH IT.
Travel is SO FREAKIN' AMAZING and I want to help you make the most of it as a vegan. By the end of this guide, you'll be equipped with ready-to-go skills that will make you one happy vegan traveler, and not just find vegan food, but the BEST vegan food you can find!
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Below are the five types of vegan food I like to look for when visiting any country. Plus, I'll show you the best ways to find each type. They are:
- Food at Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants
- Veganizable-Food at Non-Vegan Places
- Accidentally-Vegan Street Food
- Vegan Snacks to go
1. Food at Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants:
One of the first things I do when planning a trip is to research vegan or vegetarian restaurants (with vegan options) that I want to go to. Sometimes there are TONS of places to choose from, and I want to just find the best!
For your next trip, go through these steps (doesn’t have to be all), and write down your top finds.
- Look up the city or country on HappyCow.net, a database of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants and grocery stores
- Google search recommendations from vegan bloggers who have been there
Using Social Media
- Check the vegan hashtag for the city/country on Instagram. For example: #VeganMalaysia, or even by the city #PenangVegan. You can see photos and descriptions of vegan food others have eaten
- Join the vegan Facebook page or group for that city or country and look/ask for recommendations. For example on Facebook, look up: “Vegans of Malaysia”
- Message a local vegan on Instagram or Facebook and ask them for their top recommendations!
2. When there are few or NO vegan/vegetarian restaurants:
- Try to opt for cuisines that you can easily veganize.
For example, Indian, Mediterranean, and Mexican food usually have many vegetable dishes. I like to opt for Indian food because there are a lot of already vegan or easily veganizable dishes like vegetable rice thali meals, dosas, or chapati breads that you can request without ghee (butter).
- Learn how to veganize meals. The word “vegetarian” is more well-known than the word “vegan.”
To start the conversation, you can say:
“Do you have any vegetarian food?”
If they say yes, ask:
“Does it have milk?”
“Does it have eggs?”
“Does it have fish sauce?”
*If you know you are eating Indian food, learn common non-vegan ingredients used in the dishes like ghee (butter) or yogurt.
I recommend learning a few vegan language phrases to help you, especially when going to places where English is not widely spoken.
3. How to Find Accidentally-Vegan Street Food
Street/vendor food that is already vegan or can easily be veganized is one of my favorite things to look for. You get a taste of local cuisine, as well as enjoy local eateries.
- A good place to start is vegan bloggers that have already tried and inquired about which dishes are vegan.
*However, it’s always still good to ask the vendor if the dish does not in fact contain any animal ingredients.
- When you find out what local dishes can be veganized or that are already vegan, look up the best places to eat it.
For example, “putu piring” is a popular accidentally-vegan dessert in Malaysia. Instead of getting it anywhere, I wanted to try the best. So I googled “putu piring Melaka” and found the most reviewed putu piring in Melaka.
- Look up popular night markets in the city you are going to and add it to your itinerary.
Street food is not to be missed, so make sure to do some research to find it. It’s definitely worth it!
What street foods did you find and want to try? Write them down!
4. Finding Vegan Snacks To Go
Since travel generally includes a lot of commuting, walking, waiting, or taking breaks, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks that can last a while.
The two best places are vendors and grocery stores.
- Vendors: depending on where you are, you can look for vendors that sell nuts, fried banana chips, roasted chestnuts, and other plant-based snacks.
- Grocery Markets: I am always on the lookout for accidentally-vegan goodies I can bring with me on the go, or as gifts when I go back home. I usually roam a grocery and look at ingredients of food that *might* be vegan, because you never know! There are a bunch of snacks like cookies and biscuits that don’t use animal products in them.
- To find which snacks are vegan beforehand, you can:
-Look on the vegan Facebook page for that city/country
-Find pages like @accidentallyveganSG on Instagram that post accidentally vegan products found in groceries in Singapore.
In each country I go to, I look for fruit markets. I love trying out local fruits that I can’t find back home. They are usually cheaper and fresher!
- Google search or ask around for the best fruit markets, and add it to your itinerary.
- In places where it’s durian season, I look for the best spots or buffets for durian. Eating durian is rarity and favorite for me, so I always put it on my list.
Find your favorite fruit in season? Eat lots and enjoy!
Some tips when eating out:
- Always bring a reusable bag or tote with you! You never know when you’ll run into a market or grocery store with vegan goods, or when you’ll get food to go at a restaurant. The goal is to opt out of the plastic option.
- If you can, bring a reusable tupperware with you, especially when you know you’re going to eat out at a restaurant. The goal here again is to reduce plastic use, as well as to not waste food. You can bring some food with you for a late night snack, for breakfast, or for the bus rides or flights.
- Take pictures of your food! 🙂 One of the easiest ways to spread veganism is to show people how amazing and easy being vegan can be.
Share you photos on social media. If you’re on Instagram, use the hashtag #veganroamers so I can see!
- If you’re going to a country where English is not widely spoken, write down some vegan phrases on paper or your phone to bring with you. Learning languages can be one of the best parts of vegan travel.
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