Being a vegetarian traveller isn’t too hard in most countries around the world, at least in cities. However it pays to have more than one method up your sleeve for finding vegetarian friendly eating options. Here are some methods to get your thinking started, but just treat these as a starting point for your own creative thoughts.
Searching big well known sites.
You know which ones I’m talking about…. Happy Cow, Yelp, Chowhound, and the like. Take reviews with a big pinch of salt. Sometimes places become popular on reviews sites and then people who have a different experience feel reluctant to express a dissenting opinion.
Search meetup groups.
Vegetarian meetup groups typically have their meetups at, you guessed it, vegetarian and vegetarian friendly restaurants. Even if you’re not planning on attending a meetup, you can usually see the locations of a group’s past meetups. Make sure you check that a restaurant hasn’t closed, moved, or changed their hours before trekking across town, especially if that would involve multiple bus trips or an expensive cab ride.
Use local sites, especially sites that have pdf menus.
Whether you’re looking for falafel in Abu Dhabi or a curry in Edinburgh, you’ll have a lot more restaurants to choose from if you’re comfortable trying vegetarian dishes in restaurants that aren’t completely vegetarian. Now, there is also a bigger chance that your vegetarianism won’t be understood, so it’s up to you. I’m not super comfortable with issues like vegetarian food being cooked in the same oil as non-vegetarian food, and I’m fussy about things like fish sauce. Therefore I usually stick to vegetarian restaurants or places where I can ask about issues like shared fryers and feel confident of getting an honest answer. Everyone’s version of vegetarianism is different in terms of how strict a person is.
Another option worth trying is to search for keywords on Twitter. Popular vegetarian bloggers and people who follow them can be a good starting point, although you might find that vegetarians don’t necessarily tweet at restaurants much. If any area doesn’t have great vegetarian restaurants, people who live there might rely more on home cooking. You could always try directly reaching out with an @ message. This is more likely to work if you have an active Twitter profile and the recipient can see you’re a nice, normal person.
Don’t just stick to restaurants.
Some of the yummiest food can be found at street carts, in gelato shops, or in supermarkets. If buying street food, you can be more assured of the complete vegetarian friendliness of a dish if the cart/stall only makes one or two dishes, e.g., mango sticky rice in Thailand. Vegetarian festivals can also be a great time to sample food from all vegetarian stalls.