Eat Your Way Around the World on a Vegetarian or Vegan Food Tour
Healthy, plant-based eating is all the rage. And you can still savor delicious dishes around the world when you take a vegetarian or vegan food tour.
Photo By: Danny Fernandez Photography/Devour Tours ©Danny Fernandez Photography
Photo By: Intrepid Travel
Photo By: UnTour Food Tours
Photo By: Intrepid Travel
Photo By: Intrepid Tours
Photo By: Oceania Cruises
Photo By: UnTour Food Tours
Photo By: Patrick McConnell/Atlanta Food Walks
Photo By: Pure Philosophy P.C.
Photo By: Pure Lotus Vegetarian Restaurant
Plant-based eating is the year's biggest food trend. Some tour companies are beginning to offer all-vegetarian or vegan tours, while others let you customize your menu. (We're defining vegans as those who don't eat dairy, eggs, honey and other animal-derived products and vegetarians as those who don't eat meat but may or may not eat eggs and dairy) Upon request, Tastes & Traditions of Barcelona Tour can go vegetarian-friendly. On this walk to two historic neighborhoods, El Born and La Barceloneta, you can ask for veggie paellas, assorted house-roasted almonds and other substitutions. The tour can also be adapted for pescatarians; a seafood fideua is shown here.
Bangkok and Chiang Mai, Thailand
Local Thai cooks open their kitchens to travelers on the Thailand Vegan Food Adventure, so you can watch them turn ingredients like mushrooms and coconut cream into regional dishes. You might feast on Pad Thai, Khao lam (gooey, sticky rice with red beans wrapped in bamboo) or Roti sai mai, a vegan-friendly pancake wrapped around finely spun cotton candy. At the Tha Kha floating market, you'll see how palm sugar is made. The trip includes a stay with a host who’ll teach you how to prepare traditional Thai banana cake, wing bean salad and other vegan fare.
Sample jianbings (Chinese crepes) on a 3-hour breakfast walk in Shanghai, China. It isn't all vegetarian but you can usually request substitutes in advance, or book a private, all-vegetarian tour. Guides lead you into "hole-in-the-wall" eateries and historic neighborhoods for local eats, and you'll browse a local market. Nighttime tours and tours to Chengdu and Hong Kong are also available. Here, a vendor fries dough made from millet, wheat and mung bean flour. For ovo-vegetarians, it's made with an egg cracked and scrambled over the dough, which is then sprinkled with green onions, coriander and pickled mustard tubers.
Venice and Rome, Italy
Think outside the (pizza) box. An Italy Vegan Food Adventure takes you from Venice to Rome, stopping along the way for cooking classes, browsing at local markets and dining at restaurants where the meat in traditional Italian dishes can be exchanged for vegan ingredients. Travelers can experience Venice’s first vegan restaurant, spend two nights in a Tuscan all-vegan villa and enjoy a farm-to-table vegan feast. Other highlights include visits to San Gimignano, the Grand Canal and the Piazza San Marco.
Delhi, Jaipur and Agra, India
Explore the famous "Golden Triangle" of Delhi, Jaipur and Agra on an India Vegan Food Adventure. Visitors ride in rickshaws through Old Delhi to dine on samosas filled with soft, spiced potatoes and fresh-baked parantha flatbreads. Other vegan dishes on the menu: Sev tamatar (a tomato-based curry with cumin and ginger, topped with crispy chickpea noodles) and vegan kair sangri (a combination of beans and berries). The tour includes a stop in a local home to learn about North Indian cooking and visits to iconic sites like the Taj Mahal.
Vegans can take to the high seas on Oceania Cruises. Currently, the cruise line offers the only cold-pressed, raw juice and vegan smoothie bars at sea and has over 250 vegan options for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Choose from dishes like Tuscan-style bean soup with garlic croutons, Thai red vegan curry, eggplant rolls stuffed with tofu and fruit-topped vegan chocolate cheesecake.
On a Beijing Food Tour, choose from a private experience or a small-group dinner or breakfast adventure. Dinner and breakfast tours are vegetarian-friendly; that is, you'll find plenty to eat and substitutions may be available. Vegan substitutions are usually available on a limited basis. On the nighttime walking tour, you'll dine where the locals eat. On the breakfast tour, you’ll stroll through Hutong to meet vendors making yogurt, jianbings and other local dishes. Look for Dou Fu Nao, which is translated as tofu brains; it's named for its appearance and custard-like texture.
Hit up popular restaurants and off-the-beaten-path eateries with Atlanta Food Walks. With advance notice, these small group tours in Georgia's capital city can often be customized for vegetarians. On an easy walk through historic downtown neighborhoods, you might dine on candied yams and other soul food at Paschal's or Brussels sprouts with maple glaze and creamed corn at other stops. The Grant Park Past and Future Food Walk in this historic Atlanta neighborhood features modern and Southern-fusion tastings, including hummus with pickled green tomatoes and asparagus and grits. Shown here: a visit to the Sweet Auburn Curb Market.
Learn how to prepare European and Greek-style dishes on a Raw/Vegan Cooking and Yoga Retreat in Crete. This 8-day adventure features raw cooking classes, walking and hiking trips into the mountains of Psiloritis and a "live like a Cretan for a day" experience (an overnight stay with locals in a nearby village). You'll have daily yoga sessions and enjoy raw/vegan organic dishes; smoothies made with seasonal fruits and veggies; and breads like the seedbread shown here. Beverages include Cretan herbal teas said to have healing properties.
Beijing to Shanghai, China
Discover China’s cuisine, culture and history on a tour from Beijing to Shanghai. You’ll see the Forbidden City, Terra Cotta Warriors and Horses Museum and more while dining on delicately-made vegetarian dishes. Try assorted rare mushrooms topped with netted bamboo fungus or chopped burdock roots wrapped in seaweed and flavored with pickled vegetables and mung bean vermicelli.