The Cities with the Most Vegan-Friendly Restaurants
Veganism and plant-based lifestyles are more popular than ever. It’s estimated that between 1% and 3% of the world’s population are vegan, amounting to between 79 million and 230 million people. There has also been a rise in “flexitarian” diets, where people may eat animal-derived products sometimes, but will also include plant-based dishes in their diet.
So, when we travel, it’s becoming more important to know that there will be vegan options. Some countries are better than others at offering plant-based cuisine. But which countries are the best for vegans?
Using research from The Vegan Word, we delve into the cities that have the most vegan-friendly restaurants, finding the most popular eateries and exploring just why these locations have become vegan hotspots.
The Phuket province is the largest island of Thailand, located in the southern region. It tops the list of cities with the most vegan friendly restaurants in the world, with 39.7 vegan eateries per 100,000 residents.
Thailand is well known for having an abundance of both vegetarian and vegan choices of food. Some of this is due to religious reasons – some Buddhist sects do not eat any kind of meat or fish, and some others have extended that to not eating any animal products at all. Combine this positive attitude to vegan diets with an increase in Western travellers looking for vegan options, and you can see why Phuket has become a vegan hub.
Thailand has an annual vegetarian festival which takes place all across the country, but Phuket is one of the most popular places to celebrate. For nine days, many people will only eat vegetarian foods, and some will only eat vegan. The festival features many food stalls, including both vegetarian and vegan, as well as parades and people taking place in worship rituals to venerate the gods.
While many eateries in Phuket offer at least some vegan options, the best solely vegan restaurants include Soul Phuket, Vegan Junkie, and The Vegan Table.
Chiang Mai is the largest city In northern Thailand and comes second on the rankings of cities with the most vegan restaurants – it has 29 vegan eateries per 100,000 residents.
Where Phuket offers golden beaches, Chiang Mai has rolling green countryside and lush forests. It’s favoured by travellers looking for somewhere to rest and recharge, and is popular with digital nomads as well as those seeking local art and culture.
Like Phuket, Chiang Mai also celebrates the annual nine-day vegetarian festival, which features plenty of vegan options. There are many vegan restaurants and eateries offering vegan options all year round, so much so that it’s been known as the vegan capital of Asia.
Vegan options in Chiang Mai are known as ‘jay’ and denoted with a yellow and red sign. Some of the best vegan restaurants in Chiang Mai include the Free Bird Café, Reform Kafé, and Goodsouls Kitchen.
Ubud, on the Indonesian island of Bali, comes third in the rankings for cities with the most vegan restaurants, with 21.5 vegan eateries per 100,000 residents.
Most Indonesians do not typically follow strict vegan or vegetarian diets, however, there is an abundance of vegan options within the local diet. This includes jackfruit curries, tofu-based and tempeh-based dishes, papaya salads, and vegetable fritters.
In addition to this, Bali has become a haven for wellness and wellbeing, and as such has grown to be a hub for vegan travellers. Some of the best vegan restaurants in Ubud include Warung Sharaswaty, Wild Vegan, and Sawobali.
Lisbon, the capital of Portugal, is the first European city on the list. It’s the largest city in the country and features 9.3 vegan restaurants per 100,000 people.
The Portuguese diet typically features meat and fish, with one of the most popular national dishes being salted cod. However, Portugal has taken large steps to embrace veganism, and it was the first country to make it illegal to not offer a vegan option on the menu in schools, prisons and hospitals. Following this, many restaurants and eateries across the country made sure to include vegan options.
As the capital city, Lisbon is a cosmopolitan hub and has been leading the way for vegan eateries and vegan options. VeganNata is a café in the city that is focused on offering vegan pastéis de nata – Portuguese custard tarts. Kong, in the city centre, provides vegan versions of traditional Portuguese food, as does A Minha Avó.
Tel Aviv is the capital city of Israel and comes fifth in the rankings of most vegan restaurants, with 8.9 vegan eateries per 100,000 residents.
Israel is one the leading vegan countries in the world, with 5% of the population following a vegan diet. This is third in the world, with only India and Mexico preceding it.
There are a number of reasons why veganism is so popular in Israel. Some choose a plant-based diet due to environmental reasons, some to improve their health, and some to avoid animal cruelty. There is also the fact that Israel has a large number of immigrants from all over the world, who all bring their own cuisines, allowing for a diversity in food.
Traditional Israeli food already features vegetables as the staple ingredient, such as hummus and falafel which are some of the country’s most popular dishes. Isreal has been at the forefront of vegan technical advances and offerings, such as developing and adopting vegan meat. In 2013, Israel was the first country where Domino’s Pizza launched a vegan pizza, and it was the first country outside the USA to have vegan Ben & Jerry’s ice cream.
Some of the most popular vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv include the luxurious Opa, trendy 416, and cosy Aja.
Brighton, on the southeast coast of England, is known as the nation’s vegan capital, with 8.6 vegan restaurants per 100,000 people.
Brighton is renowned for being an inclusive and diverse city. Many residents in Brighton and across the UK follow strict plant-based diets and many also follow a “flexitarian” diet, where they will seek out vegan food but also eat animal products sometimes. This has seen an embracing of vegan food across the country, including in supermarkets and restaurants.
Brighton has over 240 vegan eateries in the city, offering all kinds of cuisines, including pizza restaurants, cafes, and global fusion. Some of the best vegan eateries in Brighton include Green Kitchen, a vegan café offering breakfasts and lunches; The No Catch Co, providing fully vegan “fish” and chips; and Tiger Eats Carrot, a vegan café focused on healthy eating and a mix of international cuisines.
Amsterdam is the capital and most populated city of the Netherlands. It comes in seventh in the rankings of cities with the most vegan-friendly restaurants, with 8.4 vegan eateries per 100,000 people.
It’s estimated that 4% of the total population of Amsterdam eat a solely plant-based diet, 10% are vegetarian, and 36% are flexitarian. In addition to this, Amsterdam is a hugely popular tourist destination and has become a hub for vegan travellers.
Many eateries across the city offer vegan options on the menu. If you’re looking for solely plant-based eateries, some of the best include Men Impossible, providing vegan ramen; Margo’s Amsterdam, an organic vegan bakery; and Deer Mama, a long-standing vegan spot in the city providing vegan burgers and retro American diner inspired food.
Portland in the Pacific Northwest of the USA is the most populated city in the state of Oregon. It comes in eighth place in the rankings of cities with the most vegan-friendly restaurants, with 8.1 eateries per 100,000 people.
Portland has been praised for its availability, diversity, and affordability of vegan food. The residents of Portland are known for being progressive and environmentally-conscious, with many residents following a vegan lifestyle, or including more plant-based options in their diet.
Some of the best vegan eateries in Portland include, Dirty Lettuce, offering vegan takes on traditional Cajun, Creole, and Southern food; Lilla, providing plant-based hearty Italian cuisine, and La Taquiza Vegana, a food cart offering vegan Mexican food.
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