People tend to freak out when confronted with the idea of traveling as a vegan. Happily, with sufficient preparation, it’s generally fairly easy to stay vegan while traveling. Few countries are as veggie-friendly as the United States, but with a little planning you can eat well almost anywhere.
If you’re considering a trip abroad, the most helpful action I can recommend is to go online and research the vegan possibilities that exist for the country you intend to visit. You’ll learn a great deal of helpful information by doing internet searches using the words “vegan,” and “vegetarian,” plus the city and country you’ll be visiting. This sort of simple research can help you discover veggie-friendly restaurants at your destination.
It also makes sense to learn something about the staple foods of whichever country you’re visiting. By doing so, you’ll learn which foods are dependably vegan, and which dishes to avoid. For instance, no matter where you travel in Mexico or South America, you can be confident that the freshly-made corn tortillas sold by street vendors are always vegan. The more you learn about your destination’s cuisine, the easier and more gastronomically fulfilling your visit will be.
Yet all the research in the world won’t erase the challenges that accompany visiting a country with limited vegetarian options. One unpleasant travel surprise is that many destinations are still in the dark ages when it comes to vegetarianism. Take Barcelona, Spain, as one example: a beautiful, modern, and comparatively wealthy city that one vegan friend of mine, who has lived there for years, decries as having practically no veggie-friendly restaurants.
Even if your restaurant options are limited, you’ll almost certainly have access to markets featuring a wide variety of rices, beans, fruits, nuts, and vegetables. You’re also likely to encounter varieties of locally-grown fruits that you can’t get at home. For instance, markets in both Hawaii and Central America feature “apple bananas”—bananas about half as long and slightly stouter than the variety typically exported to Western countries. These bananas have a texture, flavor, and tanginess that are vastly superior to the bananas sold in Western supermarkets.
As with any other effort you make in life, it makes sense to focus on the positive. That is, rather than lamenting over the culinary limitations of your destination, you’re better off trying to identify the strengths of the local cuisine. In most exotic locales, you’ll be able to identify at least a handful of regional specialties that just happen to be vegan—foods you either can’t get at home or that, by virtue of their authenticity, blow away the versions you can buy in your own country.
So, under no circumstances should you travel abroad without first exploring online the dining options you’ll have available. It’s not always effortless to be vegan when traveling internationally, but by doing some basic research in advance, you’re likely to turn your dining options into a highlight of your trip.
Next Chapter: Convenience Foods
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