While life as a vegetarian and vegan has become much easier and accessible for most, some plant-based eaters’ countries haven’t bothered to cater to them.
Asher Fergusson ranked 39 countries to establish the best and worst places for vegan and vegetarian travellers in 2022.
Using data from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, they created the definitive “Vegan Travel Index”.
This index calculated seven important factors such as the vegetable, fruit, and legume supply quantity per capita per year, the per cent of the population that is vegetarian, and the number of veg-friendly restaurants per million tourists.
Based on the ranking factors they utilised mixed methods research design to create the index.
The highest possible score was 400 points and the lowest possible score was -200 points.
The five best places to be a vegan and vegetarian traveller
- India: scored 216 points due to having quite a large population of vegetarianism, about 29% according to the country’s census bureau. Most Indian dishes do cater majority for vegetarians.
- Brazil: scored 127 points. Despite being heavy meat consumers, the data found the country has a high number of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants. For every one million tourists each year there were 849 restaurants for their 6.6 million annual tourists, the research found.
- Mexico: 125 points. A popular cuisine across the world, famous for its tacos, burritos and nachos, Mexico doesn’t have a high number of vegan and vegetarian restaurants. However, it’s their fruit and legume consumption which makes it more suitable for plant-based eaters.
- Vietnam: 125 points. The country’s residents have a high vegetable and legume supply and are moderately low meat consumers. Vietnam also has a large Buddhist population, many of whom are Lacto-vegetarian, making it a great destination for vegetarian travellers who want supple local cuisine.
- China: 95 points. A country with the biggest population in the world has a diverse cuisine culture and has one of the highest vegetable and fruit supply quantities per person in the world.
- Latvia: 26 points, a European country is known to love meat and has only a 3% population of vegetarians.
- Denmark: 19 points, also with a 3% population of vegetarians, the Danish cuisine is largely made up of meat and fish, making it difficult for non-meat substitutes.
- Lithuania: 13 points. There are also only 101 vegan-friendly restaurants in the country for its 6.1 million annual visitors.
- France: 10 points. French cuisine is quite rich and meaty, with a 5.2% population of vegetarians and a few vegan-friendly restaurants.
- South Korea: South Korea has the second-highest fish supply quantity on Asher’s list, as their dishes are made up of seafood and barbecue meats.
It is advised that vegetarians and vegans travelling eat pasta dishes without meat, and choose their own toppings for pizza, salads, curries, rice and vegetables.
Also, do your research before boarding that plane, and search for restaurants that do cater for your plant-based needs.
Complied by Sandisiwe Mbhele