Being vegan at home is such a breeze. I know exactly when all of my favourite vegan eateries open and close, who has deal’s what day and the fastest route to their front doors from my house and work! But when it comes to eating vegan abroad, I can get a little lost. Well, when I don’t have internet access that is. Because when I have connection, I can use Happy Cow. If you haven’t heard of Happy Cow before it’s the best and easiest way to find vegan food options in new cities. The app and website seriously changed my experience of finding suitable food on holiday for the better.
Over at Happy Cow they have published a list of the best cities for vegan travel, by number of vegan restaurants in a 5-mile radius. It’s a super interesting read but I think there are some major contenders missing. This is probably because cities where vegan restaurants are spread out over the 5-mile zone looked at Happy Cow, go unnoticed. So, I thought I’d ask around and get some feedback from long time vegan travellers on their favourite cities for vegan travel and write my own list! Thankyou to those who contributed and I hope you enjoy my 10 Best Cities for Vegan Travel: Recommended by You!
Feeling proud of my home town right now! Let me off, we don’t have much to be proud of at the moment *cough* Brexit *cough*. But I have to agree, the availability of vegan food in London is outstanding. Basically every restaurant has at least one vegan option to choose from and if not, they will find a way to accommodate for you. It was also the first city to reach over 100 completely vegan restaurants in the world. So, it’s safe to say veganism is pretty mainstream here. My favourite restaurant is Mildreds and my favourite street food places are Rudy’s Dirty Vegan Diner and Eat Chay!
Unsurprisingly, the cultural epicentre of Europe is high up on the list of best cities for vegan travel. Berlin has become somewhat famous for their vegan doner and deservingly so, it is amazing! They’re also home to the world’s largest vegan supermarket chain which makes being vegan as a resident extremely easy too. They have over 400 veg-option restaurants listed on Happy Cow and veganism is widely accepted as a standard lifestyle choice.
3. HO CHI MINH CITY
If you’re a tofu lover, Ho Chi Minh is your place. What they can do with the stuff is incredible and I have yet to find such masters of tofu anywhere else in the world! Vietnam has a large Buddhist population which means vegetarian restaurants are commonplace. There are 212 vegan/vegetarian friendly restaurants listed in the city on Happy Cow plus I’m sure plenty more to discover. For your reference, the word ‘Chay’ means vegetarian so if you spot that anywhere you can presume it’s a good bet for vegans too.
With its huge student population and already strong reputation for inventive food trends, the vegan scene in Melbourne is booming. Australia is one of the top five fastest growing vegan markets in the world and surveys suggest Australians gravitate towards Melbourne as their vegan base over Sydney. Check out @veganfoodsmelbourne Instagram account for the best recommendations for up and coming vegan chefs and the top vegan eats in the city. I get serious cravings scrolling through their feed and am always super impressed at the variety on offer.
5. NEW YORK CITY
New York boasts numerous vegan cafes and restaurants including some that have managed to cross the pond! Founded in NYC, By Chloe now has a restaurant in Covent Garden, London and I am a fan (although the one in NYC is definitely better, lucky them). But the best thing about being vegan in New York is the vegan bakeries. I have never seen so many in one place and Happy Cow seems to agree. From doughnut shops, raw dessert shops and standard vegan bakeries you will find yourself spoilt for choice.
6. TEL AVIV
Israel actually has the highest percentage of vegans in the world so it comes as no surprise that the availability and variety of vegan food in Tel Aviv is huge. They have 37 fully vegan restaurants and 218 more with vegetarian/vegan options. Most serve Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Israeli cuisines but you can also find American style diners and bakeries in the city.
In last two years, dozens of restaurants have opened in the Dutch capital making it one of the best European cities for vegans. There are regular vegan meet-ups to take part in and although most restaurants have your standard vegan menu there are a few stand out establishments. Deshima is an amazing macrobiotic vegan restaurant while Bar James serves a variety of vegan beer, spirits and wine.
8. CHIANG MAI
My personal favourite from the list, I found Chiang Mai one of the most vegan friendly places I’ve ever been. Every meal was a delight! Reform Kafe, Goodsouls Kitchen and Free Bird Café were my favourites and all served vegan takes on traditional Thai cuisine. That being said, the best vegan burger I’ve ever had was in Goodsouls Kitchen and potentially the best vegan pancakes were in Free Bird! I’d go back in a heartbeat and so it would seem, other vegans who have been lucky enough to visit this city!
Toronto has to make the list thanks to YamChops, a completely vegan butcher and market! Imagine my surprise coming across that by accident. However, there are also many delightful vegan restaurants in the city and they also host one of the largest vegetarian events in America, Toronto Veg Food Fest.
Lastly, we have Chennai. Located in the south of India, it’s an increasingly popular city amongst vegans locally and internationally. Now, it isn’t news to me that Southern Indian cuisine is amazing for vegans (in fact one of my favourite vegan restaurants in London is Southern Indian) but Chennai does seem to be a bit of a vegan hub. Happy Cow doesn’t give much away on this little city but through word of mouth I have gathered it’s nothing short of amazing!
Happy Cow – Top Vegan Cities in the World 2018