Eat & Drink

7 Dream Destinations For Vegetarians

No meat? No problems.

Marge Simpson was very, very wrong when she said “you don’t make friends with salad”. That was terribly unsound advice from an otherwise reliable cartoon figure mum. Marge, what happened? You do, in fact, make friends with salad, and you can make those friends all around the globe.

For all the herbivores out there, we’ve strung together a list of places that promise to welcome you not only with open arms but also with menus that are chock-a-block full of meat-free dinner choices. Enjoy!

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India

It should come as no surprise that the first cab off this culinary rank is India – the vegetarian’s nirvana. While we can’t promise Kurt Cobain (RIP mate), we can promise a solid selection of meat-free options. After all, once you tally up all the Hindu, Jain and Buddhist locals you’re looking at almost 40 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people living as vegetarians. Curry and thali and samosa, oh my!

There are so many varied cuisines native to India thanks to the huge range of diversity in the country’s ethnic groups, cultures, climates and soil types, so each part you visit will offer something completely different and delicious. On a more personal – and highly subjective – travel note, I reckon some of the best vegetarian dishes can be found down south, where entire populations in Kerala and Tamil Nadu have gone sans-meat for centuries.

Must chow: Aloo paratha (potato bread), palak paneer (cheese and spinach curry) and all of the daal.

Photo: oskar karlin/Flickr

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Israel

Did you know that Israel is one of the world’s most vegan-friendly countries? Yep, turns out it’s a real herbivore smorgasbord. Out of eight million Israelis, hundreds of thousands are now subscribing to veganism and loving it. To honour this societal shift, the food scene in Tel Aviv is pumping with a top-notch selection of vegetarian and vegan choices. And it goes far beyond the felafel, trust us.

Must chow: Tofu crepes, traditional bean soup and fried potato croquettes.

Photo: StateofIsrael/Flickr

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Ethiopia

If you find yourself travelling around Ethiopia one day, and your trip happens to fall during Lent, you’ll love the tradition of meat-free Wednesdays and Fridays. Just sit yourself down to a big plate of injera bread (kinda like a delicious spongy fermented crepe), say ‘yes-please-and-thank-you’ to the spicy vegetarian stews that they heap on top and tuck in with your hands like the rest of the lunchtime crowd. Divine.

Must chow: Injera bread, atkilt wot (spiced cabbage) and azifa (green lentil salad).

Photo: Ernesto Andrade/Flickr

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Taiwan, China

Vegetables are the star in Taiwan, China, cooked to perfection and accompanied by some seriously delectable sauces. Even the traditional dishes that are heavy on meat can be made just as satisfying without. With a majority Buddhist population (no meat, no eggs) and a government that encourages going vego once a week, plant-eaters will be very happily catered for.

Must chow: Chilli tofu, vegetarian dumplings and tiey ban fan (steel cooked rice).

Photo: Prince Roy/Flickr

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Jamaica

Coconut cream, sweet potato, cassava – Jamaica is a certified cornucopia of bountiful vegetarian treasures. And it all comes down to the Rastafaris. Rastafarian beliefs promote eating as naturally as possible from the earth, which basically translates to an organic vegetarian diet. So if you’re Caribbean side, we wholeheartedly recommend that you embrace the Rastafari lifestyle, kick back in Kingston and have an ‘irie’ time. If you don’t come home full of plantain and banana cornmeal bread, then you did something very, very wrong.

Must chow: Curried mango, Creole rice pilaf and tempeh patties.

Photo: Christina Xu/Flickr

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Italy

Hold the carne, folks. It’s time to feast! I’m talking cheese, I’m talking tomato, I’m talking downright delicious mushroom linguine. With the highest rate of vegetarianism in the EU, the Italians sure know how to put on a veggie feast. As they say: ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, and arguably whoever said that was referring to eating your bodyweight in zucchini flowers and downing a bucketload of caponata, Sicily’s incredible eggplant stew.

Must chow: Pomodori col riso (tomato stuffed with rice), maccu (fava bean puree) and panzanella salad.

Photo: watashiwani/Flickr

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Turkey

The former ruler of the Ottoman Empire got a few things right, and I’m not talking ancient politics – I’m talking cuisine, friends. This empire is a treasure trove of biodiversity, which in turn lends itself to a resplendent, rich variety of crops. Nuts, spices, vegetables – you name it, we’re eating it in modern day Turkey. Head to a local ‘restoran’ or ‘lokanta’ and enjoy the smell of freshly baked bread coming straight out of wood-fired ovens. Then enjoy said bread with an array of veggie-friendly dips. Heaven.

Must chow: Eggplant. Whether it’s stuffed, smoked, baked or grilled, eat the aubergine.

(Lead image: Rod Waddington/Flickr)

Start planning your next vego journey with Qantas.