Thursday, May 24, 2007

Vegans on the road

I'm celebrating my last day of being 33 today, and as 34 bears down on me, HS and I are taking off for vacation. I haven't had more than a 4-day weekend in a year, due to scarce vacation time in my first year at this job. I can't complain too much since my last vacation was to Hong Kong and then on to Laos for the ultimate destination wedding.

We are headed to Montreal and NYC. Both of these cities are highly vegetarian/vegan friendly. I've noticed that quality and availability of good veg food is an important factor in my decision of where to travel. For example, I'm not keen to go to Russia, and a major reason is because I don't want to eat cabbage and potatoes on vacation. However, I've also traveled to many a non-veg-friendly place and not minded a boring diet too much.

Highly vegetarian-friendly countries I've been to:

Not-so-friendly to veggies:
South Africa
Every country I've been to in West Africa (unless you really like rice & beans)
Portugal (unless you really like grilled cheese sandwiches)

How does a country's food affect your desire to visit it? Vegetarians/vegans, what's the veg-friendliest country you've visited?


chengwa said...

nice post. i owuld say it does have something to do with it a bit. since i am not in a postion to go lots of would have to be a great place..with great food and so on. i really want to go to spain and italy but it looks like they are alright!

sarah.lawrance said...

ahhh... in my limited experience, i must say that your own country is the most vegan-friendly i've visited! it depends largely on the city, as i had some real challenges in the south. this has played a significant role in determining my travel destinations :)

Seattle has a super amazing vegan donut shop (the Mighty-O!) and a great collectively-run punk rock eating place called the Wayward Cafe. I'd go back in a heartbeat!

Philly has (of course) Govinda's, for the best vegan "chicken" cheesesteak you will ever have the privilege to eat!!! And another place whose name I can't remember... giovanna's or something, with a great vegan BBQ "chicken" pizza and a bunch of desserts. I've been to the city twice and might go again this summer :)

Minneapolis had two awesome pizza places within reasonable distance from my hostel, both with great vegan options. One was gourmet pizza (Pizza Luce), one was regular (Galactic Pizza). Each served a different, great, locally-brewed root beer--yum!

Portland has the Food Fight! Vegan Grocery store, which is a must-see (must-shop?). There's also Voodoo Donuts, which has a couple of vegan options. And who could forget Veganopolis!?

DC has the ever-amazing Everlasting Life food co-op and juice bar, and Soul Veg is just a few blocks away. And the infoshop there often has "cafe nights" where home-cooked vegan food is served and entertainment is provided.

Chicago has Karen's Cooked (and Karen's Raw on the other side of town, if you're into that sort of thing!). Really yummy all-vegan gourmet restaurant.

Olympia had this place whose name I can't quite remember... i think it's called the Voyeur. Veg and vegan options, very yummy, very sketchy--in all the right ways!

Man, I could go on forever! but i won't. I strongly recommend the food at any of the places above!!! Doesn't this make you want to explore the country a lot more?!

Katyola said...

See, if I hadn't gone to Mexico with you, I would never have thought of it as a vegetarian-friendly place, but other than that mole chicken that I still dream about and occasional grilled fish, I don't remember eating any meat there.

Theresa said...

Australia isn't super vegan friendly, though it depends on where you go. It's pretty similar to the US, actually.

Thailand has lots of vegetarian options, which are probably easy to veganise (I was only L/O when I went there), and it's food that is naturally veg*n, rather than replacing meat as is typical in the US/Oz.

Ethiopians say their cuisine is super meat-filled, but because of the religious importance of fasting (basically eating vegan) at certain times of the year, the vegan options are plenty. Lots of spicy beany foods, and injera!

I didn't eat out when I was in Papua New Guinea, but the grocery stores were not so friendly. Luckily, the abundant and super cheap produce makes up for that. The markets are a vegan's best friend! Also, when I went to a village for a mumu (traditional feast in an earth oven), they left the meat out of the main pot so it was just taro and veggies in coconut milk. They didn't understand why I wouldn't eat chicken, but they were happy to accommodate me!