Whether you’re vegetarian, vegan or an omnivore simply searching for more plant-based dining options, Southeast Asia’s tropical climate and a plethora of fresh produce make it a particularly vegan-friendly travel destination. From breakfast to brunch, supper to late-night snacking, and every meat-free meal in-between, you can find tasty veggie dining experiences across the region.
While you’ll need to be careful of some sneaky ingredients that are often used in a lot of Southeast Asian dishes, like fish sauce, it’s often easy to stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet while travelling throughout the area. Making an effort to look up nearby vegan-friendly restaurants or dining options and learning how to request vegan preparations in the local language will go a long way in ensuring dishes are prepared the way you want them.
According to Google Trends, the number of people worldwide searching for information about veganism since 2014 has nearly tripled. Sticking to a plant-based diet that eschews eating meat or animal by-products is quickly becoming not just a growing food trend but long-term lifestyle often for three main reasons – protecting animals, protecting the planet and protecting your health.
Of course, our regular routines and eating habits often change while travelling due to adapting to different places, different schedules and different customs. Because of this, some may think it’s hard to continue eating vegan while travelling. In Southeast Asia, however, it’s surprisingly easy to stay on a vegan diet while still experiencing new foods and dining styles in the process! For instance, tofu and tempeh are common ingredients in Indonesian food making it simple to include plant-based proteins in your meal while in Thailand you can try the local jay Thai-Chinese eateries dishing up 100% vegan meals at deliciously low prices.
Before or during your travels, do some research to find vegan-friendly restaurants, stores and even accommodation around where you’ll be travelling. The website Happy Cow is an excellent resource for finding vegan and vegetarian restaurants while there are also a ton of vegan travel bloggers and Instagrammers sharing their finds with other eaters.
Happy travelling…and eating!
Travelling soon and want more info on where to find vegan eats across Asia? Learn about each country’s culinary culture and find our favourite vegan and vegetarian restaurant recommendations here.