The most vegetarian/vegan friendly destinations?
I was wondering if there are any others here who abstain from eating meat or animal derived products (I'm quite sure I cannot be the only one in such a large community site), so I was wondering what your experiences as a vegatarian/vegan globetrotter are?
Which places did you find particularly open to vegetarianism or veganism, and which places gave you a hard time to get your food?
PS: omnivores who however somehow can share stories (eg having had a vegetarian travel partner or having tried veg dishes in several places) can of course contribute as well :)
Personally, I was 6 years old when I became vegetarian (for the record: nobody else in my family is vegetarian) and I became totally vegan last year. So practically all of my travels in my life have been as either a vegetarian or a vegan.
I was particularly pleased with Italy and Turkey. Middle Eastern cuisine is very vegan friendly anyways and even here in Europe I visit the Lebanese or Arab restaurants or the Turkish kebabs (yes, they do have vegan dishes there also) very often because of their wide choise of vegan dishes. Hummos, tabouleh, couscous salads with vegetables or tofu, rice dishes, fried vegetables, kuru fasulye bean plates (as some kuru fasulye contains meat, always emphasise you want it vegetarian) ... Many options!
In Italy I had a wide choice of pastas, pizzas, risottos etc that were all vegetarian. Now meanwhile I became vegan so I am not sure if Italy would still be the place to be, most of these dishes contain cheese. However, I usually manage to find some Italian restaurant where they can bake the pizza vegetariana without cheese or have the risotto without cheese. Spaghetti napolitan can be made with only tomato sauce, leaving out the cheese.
I have not been to Asia yet except for the Asian side of Istanbul, but I eat Indian and Chinese dishes all the time for their vegan friendliness so I can imagine I would not encounter any problem there neither.
CZ, where I live now, is a different story. I always shop in the same places or eat out in the same places simply because the number of vegan orientated restaurants and shops is very limited. Also, this country has no veg friedly culture, as in: people don't grasp why someone would want to be vegetarian or vegan, and even cooks in a restaurant often don't know the difference between vegetarian or vegan (my advise: always explain the whole lot: "no cheese, no milk, no butter" - better safe than sorry). Local dishes always contain meat or dairy with maybe 1 or 2 exceptions so I have eaten more Asian food here than ever before while having not tried a single local dish.
From my travel experience, Denmark was bad for food as well, as all contained fish. I spent more evenings in Italian or Chinese restaurants than having tried a local dish. In Ireland dito, although the number of Indian restaurants in the Irish cities is so large that no vegan will ever go hungry there ;)
PS: It is quite funny how often I hear the question "so you're vegan? So what do you eat??". As if we only eat raw carrots, beans and sprouts... The number of meatless and dairyless alternatives is endless, and when you're creative with spices, tofu, temphe etc you can have the most delicious food without using a single animal derived product.