If the old saying is true that we are what we eat, travel can occasionally refine us into the truest versions of ourselves as we get acquainted with a new culture via our lunch order. For vegan travelers, exploring new landscapes can provide both challenges and opportunities to honor the vegan lifestyle while experiencing new cuisines. If you’re curious about setting out on a vegan adventure, Asia provides several destinations where your need to roam and your love of plant-based eating can coexist in perfect harmony. Here’s a list of six places to add to your list:
Bali: The country with not one but two multi-day vegan festivals is a must-visit destination for anyone looking to combine their love of their travel with their desire to learn about and celebrate the vegan lifestyle. Even if your travel dates don’t align with either festival, expect to find a plethora of vegan grub throughout Bali year-round, including nasi goreng, a traditional fried rice dish that is a staple of Balinese cuisine.
India: Vegetarianism is strongly linked to a number of religions with origins in India, making finding meat-free fare pretty easy almost anywhere you might choose to travel within the country. Avoiding dairy is a little trickier given the popularity of ghee in Indian cuisine, but veggie curries, vindaloo, chana masala, sambar, vegetable biryani and balti will provide tons of local flavor without compromising a vegan diet.
Malaysia: White rice abounds in traditional Malaysian cuisine, offering plenty of delicious vegan options for locals and travelers alike. A must-eat Malaysian staple is Nasi Lemak, which translates to “rice in cream,” is derived from the cooking process where regular white rice is literally soaked in coconut cream and then steamed and wrapped in a banana leaf or served on a plate and eaten with the other side dishes.
Singapore: While many vegans are familiar with soybean products masquerading as animal-based comfort foods (we’re looking at you, Tofurkey), traveling in Singapore offers a chance to enjoy Tau huay, a silken soymilk and beancurd custard that is slightly more set than typical custard. The beancurd is fresh and traditionally served warm with plenty of rock sugar to sweeten it. Plenty of vegan options exist outside of dessert as well, of course, Tofurkey notwithstanding.
Thailand: Home to some of the world’s best-known elephant sanctuaries, Thailand has no shortage of travel allure for animal lovers of all kinds. Vegan dining options aren’t hard to come by in this country that uses rice and noodles as the base for many of its traditional delicious dishes.
Vietnam: Home to a large contingent of practicing Buddhists, who on the first and fifteenth day of each month in the lunar cycle eat vegetarian (An Chay), many restaurants in Vietnam offer robust vegetarian and vegan options to meet this demand. Travel throughout the country is insanely cheap, making it a great travel option for anyone looking to stretch their dollar and squeeze a few more days, meals, adventures, or luxuries.
Did we miss your favorite spot? Tell us in the comments below your favorite cities to find for vegan cuisine!