With our planet battling with a crunch of natural resources and altered weather and climate patterns, the vegetarian and vegan food is being touted as the food of the future for its sustainability, health benefits and the ability to mitigate adverse affects on the environment. If you are seeking an inspiration to turn vegetarian yourself, tasting some of the finest vegetarian delicacies around the world at the places that are known for excellent vegetarian fare, this is going to be an interesting read for you. Even If you are already are vegetarian, looking to add more variety to your food habits, the following places are where you should start at:
A democracy where 30% of the population is vegetarian, India is a treasure-trove for those looking to engage their taste buds in sumptuous vegetarian delicacies. From the north to the south, and east to the west, there are so many mouth-watering dishes on display in street markets, restaurants and 5-star hotels that one can feel spoilt for choice. The flavour-dense and spicy curries of the north do a little dance of joy in the mouth as do light, and airy southern cuisine rooted in rice, coconut and vegetables. The west aces the combination of sweet and salty whereas the east is influenced by neighbouring China in its food patterns. No matter where you go, you can find an array of ‘thalis’ comprising of fresh produce from the region, mostly including lentils, vegetables, Indian breads, curd, sweets and much more all through the country.
There’s hardly any other cuisine in the world that is given as much love as Thai cuisine, and to have an authentic Thai meal in Thailand is a dream that many travellers cherish, believe it or not, even vegetarians. If you practise how to ask for vegetarian (“mai gin neua sat”), you can find a great version of many popular dishes in most cities. Do try spicy papaya salad, fragrant coconut milk curry or traditional roti pancakes, som tum and pad Thai and you will come home singing praises of Thailand’s vegetarian fare.
Jamaican cuisine has so many flavourful and mount-watering options for vegetarians that you wouldn’t miss meat at all, even if you are someone who cannot live without their chicken. About 10% of Jamaicans follow a religion called Rastafarian that insists on eating vegetarian food, which is also why the country has so many delectable dishes centring on beans, rice, chick peas and fresh local produce. The Jamaican stews have a reputation world over for being some of the most nutritious and soul-quenching. When in Kingston, do try delicious desserts at Ashanti Oasis Vegetarian Restaurant.
While the British are known for their decadent meat-based dishes, you will be quite surprised to know that England is believed to be the birthplace of the term ‘vegan’. The Agriculture & Horticulture Development Board of Britain reports that an increasing number of people are reducing their consumption of meat in the country. Glasgow, once declared the best city for vegans in the UK by PETA, is one of the best cities in the world for vegetarian and vegan food. When in Britain, one can find an array of vegetarian dishes from various world cuisines, centring on fresh vegetables, pulses, grains and fruits.
The Ethiopian Orthodox Church strongly condemns eating animal products on the days of Lent as well as on all Wednesdays and Fridays. As a result, Ethiopians have mastered the art of cooking vegetarian and vegan dishes that are sumptuous as well as healthy. From highly textural salads to flavourful broths, the liberal use of spices give Ethiopian dishes a great taste. Injera, Shiro Wat, Misir Wat and Fitfit are some of the dishes that will make you fall in love with the simplicity of the cuisine.