Traveling around the world is great. But taking care of your nutritional needs while traveling shouldn’t be an afterthought. Gone are the days when being a vegetarian/vegan meant your options were severely limited. We’ve been traveling around the world for years, and we’re here to tell you its not only easy to meet your nutritional needs while traveling, its easy to modify local cuisine to suit your needs.
So, whether you’re a vegetarian, or simply want to try out more vegetarian cuisines, keep reading. We’ve got 5 of our favorite countries to visit that have no limitation of vegetarian friendly dishes on offer!
India is a culinary paradise and for good measures. The country is full of vibrant dishes that come in different flavors, tastes, and textures. One of the biggest misconceptions about Indian cuisine is that its hot and spice heavy. There are dishes that are spicy, but Indian cuisine as a whole is not bound by it.
Traveling across India is one of the best ways of exploring the country and its culture. Every state has a different language and different culinary profile. If you’re traveling by road, you can see these shifts every in real time every few hundred miles.
Although India has loads of non-vegetarian dishes, there are tons of vegetarian options as well. Some of the most commonly used ingredients are green leafy vegetables, seasonal root veggies and fruits, cottage cheese (also called paneer), plenty of kidney beans & chickpeas, and pantry staples like grains, pulses, nuts & seeds, and spices.
Depending on where you’re traveling, your options will keep changing in variety. If you’re in Southern India, rice flour pancakes (dosa), or steamed rice cakes dipped in a taste heavy sambhar & chutney for example is a breakfast staple. If you travel more towards the north, you’ll find more foods that are rich in natural protein sources like dals and peas.
Vegetarianism born out of religious beliefs is also predominant in certain states, and rest assured there will be numerous vegetarian dishes for you to try.
Lastly, let’s not forget that India is the birthplace of Ayurveda, and cooking in that tradition is all about eating light, fresh and healthy!
These countries can also help if you’re a vegetarian traveling to these places. These cuisines are known to be based in meat & fish sauce (used as an accompaniment with a lot of dishes), but they also have a lot of vegetarian options, mainly owing to its Buddhist populations. There is an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables which can be seen in their dishes.
Green papaya, banana blossom and mango salads are a must try. Summer rolls are amazingly fresh and stuffed with veggies, sprouts & herbs. If you are not fond of fish sauce, you can substitute it with peanut sauce. It’s made from roasted peanuts & peanut butter, and its not only rich in nutrients but tastes amazing! Meat and animal products can be easily substituted with tofu in most dishes like Pad Thai and Green Curry, and the addition of vegetables to South Asian dishes makes it an even better choice. Pho is a must try if you’re in Vietnam. Noodle soup made with loads of veggies and garnished with herbs and sprouts makes for a very hearty meal.
Vietnam uses a lot of condensed milk in its recipes, so that’s something to be mindful of if you’re vegan. A good tip for finding vegetarian food is to look for restaurants located around temples/monasteries. Language can be a barrier in South Asia, so be sure to communicate your needs clearly.