It’s been now three years since I became vegan, and one of the questions I get the most in regards to my lifestyle is how difficult is it to conciliate not eating animals or their by products and traveling. As if there were no fruits, pasta, vegetables and cereals in every country. Now, I’m being a bit unfair on that one because I’ll admit, while you’re traveling it’s sometimes tricky to be vegan. But please notice, “sometimes” and “tricky”. Nowhere do you read “always”nor “impossible”. With the good amount of preparation, including online preparation, vocabulary preparation and patience, being vegan on the road and abroad is always doable.
The first thing I always do is to check happycow.com , to see the list of vegan, vegetarian or vegan friendly restaurants avaialable in the city I am visiting. More often than not, the list is quite long and you have plenty of choices. Then, search for the word vegan or vegetarian in the language of the country (write it down if necessary), and you should be fine. If you’re renting a flat via airbnb you’ll have a kitchen which is veryyyyyy useful as a vegan, and even in youth hostels kitchens are available for you to cook some delicious vegan meals (it’s good for your budget too!).
The most challenging place I’ve been to so far, has been Japan. And it wasn’t even that challenging honestly. The idea that Japan isn’t vegan friendly is apparently well spread seeing how many people ask me about it, or ask for advice for a future trip. Among most clichés about Japan, many are true, including the one that they put fish in almost everything. But Japan cuisine also relies heavily on rice and vegetables, plus lately veganism has become trendier and more popular, which makes it a lot easier than what you’d expect to eat out. Not to forget the buddhist cuisine, which while a bit expensive, is delicious and at the least vegetarian at the best vegan.
When I first went to Japan in 2012 I was only a vegetarian, and found it super easy to eat vegetarian. Last year when I went back with my sister, as vegans, we still managed to enjoy a lot of delicious foods in all the places we went to (so not only Tokyo).
Here are a few examples of what we ate :
And there were plenty more of delicious foods not pictured, all of them very affordable and easy to find. Japan sure has very pricey vegetables and fruits, but it also offers many vegan or vegan friendly options. Just make sure you learn the words for dairy, fish, meat and eggs to say you don’t eat those, because many people don’t fully understand the concepts of veganism and vegetarianism ( I was presented with pork bowels in a restaurant after telling them I was a vegetarian …). However, Japan has proved to be a fairly good spot for me, both as a vegetarian and as a vegan, and I’ve always enjoyed the food there, the flavors and ingredients are incredible and delicate. Even the fruits are sweeter than in France! It’s probably my favourite country for food, and not only!
What about you? Do you have any good foody memories or really bad ones?