You, too, can travel the world without eating anything that has a face.
When you become a vegetarian, you begin to grapple with a few immediate realities: Fast food minus the meat is basically melted American cheese on sad bread, a good source of protein is worth its weight in gold, and arugula is a gross lie we all tell ourselves to feel fancy. And if you’re a habitual jet-setter, it can be a Herculean task to forage for on-the-go meals that suit your diet. (If you’re vegan, you’re playing on nightmare mode and surviving largely on things that are technically vegan—did you know that Oreos and Fritos are actually vegan?) Here are the countries in which you’ll have the easiest time finding a meatless bite to eat.
The country famous for inflicting haggis upon the world has really gotten itself together in the last decade, with vegetarianism exploding in the country as an apparent response to previous endemic unhealthy eating habits. Glasgow, specifically, is extremely vegetarian- and vegan-friendly, and you can easily get a wide variety of options that have never even met a cow. Hit up The 13th Note, a Glasgow vegan restaurant that has an incredible sticky toffee pudding and a wide variety of cocktails to wash it down.
This one won’t come as much of a surprise—30% of the country is estimated to be vegetarian, and the national cuisine is both unspeakably delicious and easy to navigate if you’re not trying to eat anything with a central nervous system. In New Delhi, you’re going to want to try Veg Gulati, but be ready to wait for a seat, because the place is usually packed. Also, if you’re vegan, keep an eye out for ghee, or clarified butter, which is a very popular ingredient in Indian cooking (and not vegan).
Ethiopian cuisine has blown up in the United States in recent years, and for good reason— it’s flavorful and filling, healthy, and satisfying. When traveling to Ethiopia, keep in mind that a large portion of the country adheres to Ethiopian Orthodox Church dietary rules, which forbid eating any animal products during Lent and on Wednesdays and Fridays. You’re going to want to try the vegan burgers at Sishu in Addis Ababa, which have a devoted following in the area among travelers and citizens alike.
If you’re like me, when you think of Italy, you think “more meat than is humanly possible, including meat that hasn’t even been invented yet, and also all of it is soaked in wine.” While a lot of Italian food is frankly wine-soaked meat, it’s actually incredibly easy to eat vegetarian while visiting Italy – the dishes are already so full of pasta and vegetables that you can easily navigate restaurant menus without subsisting entirely on side-salads the whole time. Even aside from “technically it’s vegetarian because all we did was take the meat out of this dish,” there’s an absolute glut of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Milan that’ll treat you right.
Ireland is good for more than just stews and boiled things and boiled stews—the country is apparently home to the biggest number of per-capita vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the entire world, and it’s supremely easy to find a tasty meal while visiting the country. In Dublin, you’re going to want to visit Sova Vegan Butcher, which, aside from having an intimidating name, grew from a pop-up restaurant into a local institution for vegans in the area. Try the Soya Schnitzels.
If you can’t find a way to eat a varied and lovely vegetarian diet in Singapore, you probably need to leave your hotel room and walk a hundred feet in any direction. There are well over 300 vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the city, and the country’s famous hawker centers always deliver, with a huge selection of both vegetarian versions of popular Singapore cuisine and dishes crafted with vegetarians and vegans in mind. Make a visit to The Boneless Kitchen while you’re in town and try the Kimchi Jeongol.
The land famous for political neutrality, sketchy bank accounts and chocolate is excellent for people who don’t care for meat on their plates. Pizza is surprisingly popular, as is risotto, which comes packed with good stuff that has never met meat, even in passing. A huge number of restaurants at least offer vegetarian options that aren’t sad little salads, although if you’re a big fan of salads, a huge number of restaurants specialize in them. Be sure to confirm that your ostensibly vegetarian meals aren’t cooked in animal fats, however.
Taiwanese cooking is a big fan of vegetables, and it’s incredibly tasty. A healthy portion of Taiwan’s population practices a vegetarian diet, and the Taiwanese government even has an initiative that encourages people to eat only vegetarian food at least one day out of the week. There are plenty of restaurants that cater to the meatless among us, especially in LuoDong – check out Renjian Baidu Restaurant, which has excellent atmosphere and something called the Fresh Milk Veggie Steamboat, every word of which is something I like.
Although only about 8-10% of Jamaica identifies as Rastafarian, a religion that follows the vegetarian ital diet, the availability of vegetarian-friendly establishments on the island is outstanding. Jamaican cuisine is incredibly versatile, and it’s easy to find nutritious, filling meals filled with chick peas and beans and rice. You’re going to be eating a lot of stews, and you’re going to want to make sure to specify with the cook that you don’t want any meat products at all in your meal, even if they have to make the usual dish, just without meat. In Kingston, be sure and get a bite to eat at Ashanti Oasis Vegetarian Restaurant, which specializes in some truly exceptional vegan desserts.