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If you've been a vegetarian for any length of time, you've likely struggled at some point with finding delicious, meat-free entrées on the menu — especially when you're out of town. The good news is that this struggle is getting easier across the world as plant-based diets become more common and restaurants and grocery stores take note. To one day explore some of the places leading the veg-olution, check out these six cities from around the globe.
In 2015, Saveur named Berlin the vegetarian capital of the world, and its meatless offerings continue to expand. Start your day with mouthwatering vegan donuts and coffee from one of the Brammibal's Donuts locations throughout the city or head to the Satt & Glücklich café to get satt and glücklich (full and happy) with an expansive menu that's not only vegetarian but gluten-free, too.
Like many Asian cities, Bangkok's vegetarian scene tremendously benefits from the prevalence of religions that espouse nonviolent and animal-friendly principles such as Buddhism and Taoism. In fact, the entire country has an annual nine-day vegetarian festival in the fall that is also a celebration of the nine Taoist emperor gods. Known locally as Je, the festival incorporates both religious and cultural practices and is celebrated across the country, but especially in Bangkok's Chinatown.
While the city has no shortage of vegetarian options any time of the year, expect even more during Je and look out for food vendors flying the yellow flags that mean they're selling Je-specific foods. Try some of the most celebrated vegetarian options from across the city — ranging from regional specialties like yum saab gai gorb to bold remakes like vegetarian Hawaiian pizza.
Los Angeles, California
While most major U.S. cities are becoming increasingly vegetarian-friendly, it's hard to beat the variety you'll find in Los Angeles. For a switch from the typically health-conscious vegetarian fare, try meatless burgers and dairy-free milkshakes at Honeybee Burger or head to The Dankness Dojo for fully plant-based pub bites and drinks from the Modern Times Brewery.
There are plenty of more standard vegetarian options as well, especially in neighborhoods like Venice. Local favorite The Butcher's Daughter serves plant-based café fare and juices, while Double Zero, which was founded by renowned vegan chef Matthew Kenney, can satisfy any pizza craving in meat-free style. Naturally, there's a celebrity connection at some venues, too. In 2017, Moby began a vegan festival to support animal rights — complete with food trucks, vendors, and a concert at the iconic Regent Theater downtown.
Tel Aviv, Israel
Climbing through the ranks to take on Berlin as vegan capital of the world, Tel Aviv is home to more than 400 vegan and vegan-friendly restaurants. With its lush Mediterranean climate, acquiring delicious fruits and veggies in Tel Aviv is as easy as walking to the nearest shuk or market. Local chefs take advantage of this abundance with regional staples like mujadara, endless hummus varieties, and tabbouleh.
The entire country of Israel, in fact, has made a significant shift toward vegetarianism and veganism in the last several years. The Israeli branch of the Domino's chain, for example, was the first one worldwide to offer animal-product-free pizza. Overall, the country has the highest amount of vegans per capita with around five percent of its population eschewing animal products. This means there's a plethora of meat-free options wherever you go — from Tel Aviv and other coastal destinations to the capital city of Jerusalem.
London, United Kingdom
Plant-based diets are booming in the United Kingdom. Between 2014 to 2019, the number of vegans in the country quadrupled, and vegans and vegetarians are projected to make up a full quarter of the population by 2025. London sits at the heart of this movement, and offers vegetarian options of every kind of cuisine imaginable.
Visit shops like La Fauxmagerie, the country's first plant-based cheese supplier, or the Plant Based Supermarket. Get plant-based versions of English classics like shepherd's pie and fish 'n' chips at By Chloe in Covent Garden, or take advantage of the city's international status with everything from vegan fried chicken at Temple of Seitan to Caribbean flavors at Zionly Manna. You can even head to city landmarks like The Savoy for vegetarian and vegan options and still enjoy afternoon tea.
While the previously mentioned cities might be vegetarian-friendly, the city of Palitana in western India takes its meatless diet to another level. In 2014, Palitana became the first all-vegetarian city on the planet. In a move led by Jain monks, the government banned animal slaughter and the sale of meat and eggs in the city — making it an obvious, stress-free choice for traveling vegetarians. You'll find a wealth of vegetarian options across all of India, since the country is home to more vegetarians than anywhere else in the world.
Palitana has long been a sacred place for Jains, whose primary religious tenet is one of nonviolence to all living creatures. Whether you're a Jain pilgrim or simply a curious traveler, you can enjoy the beauty of the landscape and the spiritual serenity of the hillsides in Palitana. You'll also appreciate a city chock-full of delicious vegetarian food ranging from local stalls to sit-down restaurants with all the best of the Gujarati region's cuisine including roti, shaak, farsan, and other traditional dishes.