Vegan Traveling Isn’t a Burden — It’s Awesome

October 26, 2016
Vegan Traveling Isn't a Burden -- It's Awesome

A common misconception about a vegan diet is that it makes traveling difficult. I beg to differ. In fact, an animal-free diet adds even more adventure my travels. Even in the most meat-based cuisines, I always have a fun time discovering the options available.

Two weeks before my semester abroad in South India, I transitioned successfully to a vegan diet. Despite a few previous attempts, the habit has stuck with me ever since. After hearing how accommodating Indian cuisine is to non-meat eaters, I was eager to find out for myself.

Vegan Traveling Isn’t a Burden — It’s Awesome

As I anticipated, South Indian cuisine offers several delicious dishes for vegans and vegetarians alike. My favorite dishes included Masala Dosa and Gobi Manchurian. Dosa is a fermented crepe made from rice flour and black lentil, which can be prepared in different ways. It can be served with onions, ragi, chutney, or (my favorite) masala-spiced potatoes. Gobi Manchurian, a popular Indo-Chinese dish, is a cauliflower drenched in savory Manchurian sauce.

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Masala Dosa; Photo By Nadir Hashmi

Although there’s fresh produce everywhere, I was advised only to purchase produce with skin from street vendors during my trip. Tap water is generally unsuitable for consumption by foreigners, and sometimes can contaminate food. For example, I avoided apples, but often snacked on pomegranates. However, that didn’t stop me from consuming a ton of fruit while abroad. I frequently ate papaya with breakfast and bananas with dinner. Towards the end of my trip, it was the beginning of mango season and luckily, I had the opportunity to try it. That mango was easily the most delicious I’ve ever tasted.

After hearing how accommodating Indian cuisine is to non-meat eaters, I was eager to find out for myself.

Last month, I embarked on a two-week road trip across the United States with my dad. Initially, I was nervous about my options and imagined myself with a growling stomach, miles from a salad bar or Chipotle. Fortunately, I was wrong – terribly wrong. I ended up eating at critically acclaimed restaurants all over the country, including Gracias Madres in San Francisco and Blossoming Lotus in Portland.

While in Boulder, I experienced Native Foods for the first time. It’s a chain restaurant that specializes in exclusively plant-based foods. I adored their entrees so much that I visited their locations in San Diego and Los Angeles, too. During my trip, I tried the Chicken, Bacon, & Avocado Club and the Oklahoma Bacon Cheeseburger. In case you want to drop in and see for yourself, they also have other locations in California, Colorado, Oregon, Virginia, and Washington DC.

Don’t take it from only my perspective, though. I asked a two empowering women about their favorite meat-free dishes they’ve come across during their travels.

Nicole Abramowski, creator of VeganNomNoms.net, has been traveling and living abroad with a vegan lifestyle since 2008. “A dish that super stands out in my head from traveling is a dessert from Napfenyes Étterem in Budapest called somloi,” she explains, “[which is a] vegan sponge cake drenched in custard with carob mousse and sauce. It’s great in Budapest that you can actually find veganized Hungarian food!”

Vegan Traveling Isn’t a Burden — It’s Awesome

Ciara Cohen-Ennis, a vegetarian of about twenty years, currently lives in to New Orleans as an international student. “One of my favourite vegan dishes is Gumbo,” she explains, “[which] usually comes with meat or fish but you can have it without.” If you’re visiting in the fall, she recommends the Treme Creole Gumbo Festival, where they host a vegan gumbo competition. If not, she recommends Seed, a vegan restaurant on Prytania Street.

What are your favorite meat-free dishes from abroad?

Vegan Traveling Isn’t a Burden — It’s Awesome top photo credit:  Garret Ziegler

About Danielle Corcione

Danielle CorcioneDanielle Corcione recently graduated with a degree in Literature and Communication Arts from Ramapo College in Mahwah, New Jersey. During her last semester, she studied abroad in Bangalore, India.

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