In the summer of 2016, my family and I set off on a trip around the world. Our travels took us throughout Europe, Asia and Australia (coincidentally, another Main Street Vegan graduate, Darlene Taylor, and her husband, were doing a RTW trip in the opposite direction). New experiences were our primary focus, and we ended up eating some terrific food along the way. We sometimes asked locals about best choices and often looked up options on Happy Cow, Trip Advisor or vegan blogs to steer us, but as with choosing accommodations, it is a pretty individual experience. One person’s “loved it!” can be another person’s “meh.”
In addition to eating some delicious and memorable meals out, we also cooked meals in our European and Australian Airbnbs and housesits (we found that the significantly lower cost of meals in Asian nations meant that we nearly always ate in restaurants in Asia). Staples such as legumes, pasta and rice were readily available in these places and we regularly made some very simple dishes.
Here are some of our top food memories from around the globe.
Mixed reviews on spending a month in Italy. My family loved it but I became tired of rotating pizza, pasta, salad or spinach and found many restaurants were unwilling or unhappy about accommodating my questions or requests. We were not always traveling in urban areas with a selection of veg restaurants, nor were we always eating with a group who wanted to go to a veg place. But…I’m not complaining. Italy is sublime no matter what you eat.
We really enjoyed Sri Lanka and its fabulous curries, which have a similar but different flavor profile from Indian curries. I amused (and honored) the chef at one hotel by pre-ordering the curry dinner seven nights in a row for my stay there. I also discovered that I love string hoppers – steamed rice flour noodles — which was my breakfast of choice throughout our month in the country.
We were only in Siem Reap for a week but we found plenty of veg offerings. We enjoyed getting to taste some different Khmer cuisine options. My son particularly loved Veg G Table, a cozy spot with a friendly proprietor who, as of January 2017, was looking to sell his business for any of you wanting to chuck it all and move to Cambodia! I also found some really good vegan sorbet at Gelato Lab.
Eating can be hit or miss depending on where one is. Vegan darling Chiang Mai was a big hit with us. We spent a month in Chiang Mai and didn’t get around to eating at all the veg places. However, in Ao Nang, we found our options were limited and ended up eating almost exclusively at either an Indian place or a newly opened small veg café called Govinda’s. Chiang Mai spoils one so that it can be hard to get back to the reality of explaining no egg/no dairy/no fish sauce. Bangkok has excellent choices but we had an injured foot in the family so didn’t get to toddle over to as many places as we’d have wanted to. We were impressed with the selections at the Veganerie outlets and Broccoli Revolution.
My favorite of the trip, colored by the fact that we spent the majority of our time there in Ubud, another veg darling on the global travel circuit. Health seekers from around the world flock to Ubud for a high vibe lifestyle; the city is rife with yoga, as well as vegan or vegan friendly restaurants and raw food offerings. I, like many others, loved Raw Cafe Alchemy. Moksa was a family favorite but I was happy wherever I could get my favorite dish, a rice/protein/sides plate called nasi campur which was readily available vegan style almost everywhere. Once we were out of Ubud in a more remote area, familiarity with veganism dipped.
Honorable Mention: Malaysia’s Kuala Lumpur Airport (KLIA2)
Since low-cost carrier Air Asia uses KLIA2 as a hub, travelers in Asia may find themselves here at some point. All-veg BMS Organics has an outpost here, with a comfy corner in which to set up and enjoy a bowl of laksa, a regional noodle soup dish.
We passed through KLIA2 many times and really enjoyed having this option
Jennifer Gannett, VLCE, is a faculty member at Main Street Vegan Academy, a graduate of Lewis & Clark Law School, a world traveler, a cat socializer, dog lover and a mom who works formally and informally to make the world a better place.