Let’s face it—one of the best parts of studying abroad is the food. Unfortunately, for those who have restricted diets, genuinely embracing the food culture of a new country can be difficult.
The good news is that there are countries all over the globe where vegetarians and vegans can find plenty of options when cooking and eating out. Here are six awesome options around the world where vegetarians and vegans can pig out guilt-free and stay healthy.
Due to its predominantly Hindu population, a religion that avoids eating meat, eggs, and sometimes dairy, India is heaven for vegetarians and vegans alike. Their culture makes it super easy to pick out products that are vegetarian, as laws require these products to have a green dot labeled on them.
And classic Indian food staples like naan, roti, lentils, and samosas, are all vegan, and all incredibly delicious. Even the enemy of vegetarians everywhere, McDonald’s, serves a McVeggie burger.
What better place for vegetarians than the homeland of falafel? Israel is another country where religious tradition benefits foreign travelers. Due to Kosher regulations, it’s easy to find food where meat and dairy are separated.
Combine these standards with the Middle Eastern staples of hummus, baba ghanoush, and tabouleh, and you’ve got a vegan paradise.
The United Kingdom
It’s not all bangers and mash here. As the European country with the most vegetarians, the UK is a surprisingly convenient destination to study abroad if avoiding meat. What else would you expect from the home of The Beatles, who made vegetarianism trendy in the UK?
With its major cities being multicultural and metropolitan, it’s easy to find vegetarian-specific restaurants, especially in cities like Glasgow, London, and Brighton.
With over 6,000 vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan, it’s no surprise that this is a great place to study if you’re interested in East Asian culture. Chinese food (the real stuff, not this American crap) tends to avoid using dairy products, and when paired with a government that encourages going meatless once a week, you won’t be alone venturing through Taiwan as a vegetarian or a vegan.
The home of bratwurst and schnitzel is surprisingly, if not vegan, then at least vegetarian-friendly. Popular foods like Käsespätzle (egg noodles with cheese and crispy onions), Bavarian pretzels, and Rosti (potato pancakes) are all great meat-free options, in addition to all the other mouthwatering foods Germany has to offer.
Even better—Germany is known for their amazing breads and cheeses, which are common choices for quick meals. Even the famed Oktoberfest has added vegetarian options, so there’s no need to miss out on major cultural staples.
For vegetarians, Italy, being the home to pizza and pasta, seems like a no-brainer for those of us who do not eat meat. However, vegans may be skeptical about a place we associate so heavily with cheese. Good news is, Italians tend to layer the cheese on typically in more touristy areas, and the base for many dishes is olive oil, not butter, as in many other regions.
There’s even soy gelato, because let’s face it, how else can you prove you went to Italy without an Instagram of yourself holding an irresistible cone of gelato?