by Sammy Caiola
Native Foods Cafe
We all know that the Brits like to make outrageous claims about their superiority. Like how they’ve got the most sophisticated fashion taste, or the wittiest comedic style, or the greatest athletes or the fanciest weddings. Well I say that’s rubbish. The only thing those redcoats every trumped us at was good old rock n’ roll (I’d trade Bieber for Beatles any day). But now they’re claiming they’ve got better vegan food? I won’t stand for it.
Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this photo courtesy of PETA.
A recent article in The Guardian reports that Glasgow, U.K. is one of the easiest cities to be vegan in. Glasgow is the largest city in Scotland and the third largest city in the United Kingdom. I don’t know about you, but when I think about faire from that corner of the world, I’m envisioning buttered crumpets, mince pies, fish ‘n’ chips and cornish game hen. Not exactly a vegan’s paradise. But, according to vegan authorities on location, the trend is changing thanks to the swarms of young, health-conscious intellectuals attending the University of Glasgow each year. Apparently their good habits are infecting the whole city (and maybe the whole continent).
But if being a college town is all you need to be a vegan hot-spot, then I have some global game-changers that will put the Scots to shame. No more scouring the guidebooks for plant-based bistros or performing elaborate gestures to communicate “no meat” to the guy at the crepe stand. Vacationing vegans; just book your next flight to one of the locales on my short list, and you’ll be happy as a clam in Israel (shellfish isn’t in high demand there).
*Fair warning: This is the stuff of daydreams. I’ve never actually been to most of these places.
1. Bangkok, Thailand
Like most Asian cuisine, Thai food is absolutely delicious and rarely incorporates dairy. This country is better known for sticky rice, crunchy vegetables, marinated tofu and winning combinations of melt-in-your-mouth Thai spices. In Bangkok, the nation’s capital, you’ll find street vendors with steaming carts of vegan sum tham (papaya salad) and pad thai, and even mall food courts have vegan options. Happy Cow lists 130 vegan/ vegetarian restaurants in its Healthy Eating Guide. Aroy!
Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this image courtesy of jorgetutor.com
2. Portland (OR), United States
Everybody knows that Portland is the American mecca for devout hipsters, so of course it’s got vegan options. And not just vegan food either. Walk around stumptown for just one day and you’ll find vegan bike shops, tattoo parlors, personal trainers and grocery stores. Not to mention Portland’s known for its efficient land use and extensive transportation system. Rated number two of Peta’s “Most Vegan-Friendly Cities in the U.S.” (after Austin TX, but I won’t send you there for vacation), this is a perfect road trip destination. PLUS there’s a Native Foods there, so stop in for lunch while you’re sightseeing!
Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this image courtesy of Fox News
3. Basically Anywhere, India
Worldly vegan bloggers can’t seem to decide what the best vegan city in India is, so I’m just going to recommend the whole country. The birthplace of gandhi, India is notorious for its beautiful scenery, colorful clothing and cheap food. Avoiding dairy is a breeze there, with all of the focus on nutritious grains (millet, rice) and healthy proteins (lentils, moong beans, chickpeas). Many people in India are vegetarian or vegan just by nature of what’s available. Just be sure to double check that the creamy curry is vegan!
Native Foods Cafe vegan restaurant uses this image courtesy of sailusfood.com
4. New Zealand
I can tell you from firsthand experience that New Zealand is an AWESOME place to be vegan. The whole country is green! And I don’t just mean the rolling emerald hillsides (though those are great). New Zealand’s government and its people love their land and are completely committed to keeping it healthy. There are mountains and wide open valleys and clear waters everywhere you turn. And when it comes to food, there’s no shortage of organic veggies and unique starches like kumara, which is a sweet potato grown by the indigenous Maori people. Not to mention that you can hang out with sea lions and kia birds in their natural habitat. It’s an animal-lover’s paradise!
Me with a sea lion in New Zealand!
Native Foods Cafe, vegan, vegan food, vegan restaurant, vegan cities