A Veggie’s Guide To Travel: Three Falafelly Good Destinations
One major factor in choosing a holiday destination is the food it serves up. It’s unlikely you’ll book a trip to India if you’re not a lover of its cuisine, just as you’re likely to “throw a shrimp on the barbie” if you’re on the trip of a lifetime to Australia.
Food is at the very heart of most cultures, and for vegetarians, choose a country carefully and you could enjoy food like you’ve never experienced before. We take a look at three of the most exciting countries perfect for the veggie in us…
When visiting Lanzarote, it’s usually for the sun, sand, and sea, but a trip over to Puerto del Carmen is worth it for the food alone. It’s one of the island’s premier tourist destinations, renowned for its shopping and dining. Kristian’s Restaurant offers fine dining with some exceptional vegetable dishes, whilst it’s at the market in Teguise – a short bus ride from the town – where you can really taste the Canaries at their best.
Setting up every Sunday, the market brings the sleepy town to life with plenty of food using locally sourced ingredients, perfect for breakfast and lunch as you wander around the vast amounts of art, jewellery, and clothing on offer.
Take a trip to Thailand and you’ll be amazed by the abundance of fresh vegetables overflowing from every street market, however you still have to be careful as a vegetarian and know what you’re letting yourself in for.
You see, in Thailand ‘vegetarian’ loosely translates to ‘mang sa wirat’ which actually means the traces of meat are simply not noticeable, so eggs, fish sauce, meat stock may still feature in your dish.
If that is no good for you, vegan is translated as ‘jay’ and will exclude those ingredients, something which is worth mentioning before ordering.
Despite this there are some simply wonderful dishes to enjoy. Pad pak gachet is one of the country’s most interesting dishes and involves gorgeous local vegetables being stir-fried with water mimosa. Another dish, and a favourite amongst many vegetarians visiting Bangkok and Chiang Mai, is pad gra pao het jay (notice the ‘jay’).
The dish features mushrooms stir-fried alongside chillies and basil, producing an incredible flavour and one most certainly worth trying.
Chiang Mai is one of the most popular regions of Thailand for vegetarian food, with over 80 vegetarian restaurants thanks to the large amount of Buddhists settled in the area. That’s combined with the 14.1 million visitors which enjoy its picturesque surroundings and ancient temples each year.
Pun Pun is perhaps the most intriguing dining option, with three locations around the city serving food straight from its organic farm to the table. Their dishes not only use local ingredients but are incredibly inventive too earning a nationwide reputation as some of the best food around.
Despite being in the Middle East and enjoying a fair share of lamb and beef, Egypt is a real hub when it comes to vegetarian food, with chickpeas, falafel, and pickled vegetables are staples in the country, whilst mezzes offer a number of small dishes giving you plenty to choose from.
In the capital of Cairo, it’s well worth walking around the markets to enjoy the country’s street food, with falafel itself becoming the universally known meat replacement. Eaten often as part of mezze, it’ll often be accompanied by hummus, baba ghanouj, and ful medammes, producing some of the finest flavours on the planet.
‘Ana nabatee’ or ‘Ana nabateeya’ for females is a worthwhile phrase meaning ‘I am vegetarian’ in the copious amounts of fine restaurants across the country from Luxor to Sharm el-Sheikh to Cairo. In Season in the nation’s capital is known for its healthy dishes and claims to have the freshest salads in town and ideal for a spot of lunch taking a break from the hustle and bustle of city life.
Finally, a must try is one of Egypt’s national dishes, Koshary. The dish is known as comfort food and combines macaroni, chickpeas, lentils, and rice with a garlic and tomato sauce with fried onions, producing quite the flavour and one which highlights Egyptian cuisine at its very finest.