01 Nov Where’s Best to be a Veggie?
India– Vegetarianism has roots that stem in ancient India, partly as vegetarianism in India comes from some of the philosophies and practices of Indian religions such as Hinduism and Sikhism. For example, in India it is forbidden to as much as harm a cow, let alone eat one, as cows are sacred animals. As a result of the Indian philosophy of non-violence towards animals, 70% of the world’s vegetarians are Indians and more vegetarians live in India than anywhere else.
Italy– Although Italy is generally conceived to be a population of hard-core meat eaters, there is actually quite a strong vegetarian and vegan movement in the country that’s been hitting the headlines in recent months. Around 9% of all Italians actually identify as vegetarians! Therefore, it’s exceptionally rare to come across a restaurant in Italy today that doesn’t have a variety of vegetarian dishes due to their love of eating from the land. You can expect to find an extensive range vegetable based dishes, lentil stews, fresh pasta dishes and risottos.
Ethiopia – Just under half of the Ethiopian population practice meat free days of the week as well as meat free religious holidays such as Lent due to a large Christian following in the country. This has inevitably resulted in an extensive variety of vegetarian and vegan dishes in Ethiopian cuisine focused on spiced stews and regional breads.
Lebanon– Lebanon is known to have a cuisine rich in vegetarian and vegan dishes due to its religious roots. Lebanese food is becoming ever-more mainstream in the UK as well, with highstreet cafes offering up Lebanese meze platters, vegetable dips and falafel. Rich in nutrients, Lebanese food is also a particularly healthy option for vegetarians and vegans as its dishes are rich in vitamins and proteins!
Turkey– Taking influences from Jewish, Greek and Middle Eastern cuisines, Turkey’s vegetarian and vegan scene is known for a diverse range of dishes, consisting of spiced stews, grilled vegetables and a whole host of wood-fired baked breads. There are so cooking methods developed from the influences in Turkish cuisine that its said you could be offered up an aubergine dish by 100 different Turkish chefs and each one totally different from any other!
At Home – The United Kingdom has become one of the World’s most vegetarian and vegan friendly countries in recent years due to the fact that there are now over half a million people opting for a vegan diet and lifestyle. In particular, Glasgow has been seen to be the most vegan friendly city in the UK thanks to the rise of restaurants and cafes offering a much bigger selection as well as solely vegetarian and vegan cuisine. This surge in vegetarian and vegan diets becoming more common, has in turn pushed the issues that drive theses diets, be it health or ethical reasons, into the mainstream.
United States – The intense diversification of America in recent years has brought about the introduction of cuisines from all over the world. You only need to take a look at the city of New York to see just how many different options there are on offer, from Italian and Chinese, to Mexican, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean. With this has brought an expansion on the vegetarian and vegan scene. And this has spread across the nation, with other cities known for being particularly vegetarian and vegan friendly being Los Angeles, Texas, Chicago and Seattle. This is good news in America as 7.3 million Americans are said to be vegetarians and another 22.8 million have said that they follow a vegetarian-inclined diet.
Singapore– Because Singapore is a city-state which is home to a very diverse population, the food culture of the state follows in a similar ilk. As a result, Singapore is home to more than 200 strictly vegetarian restaurants, in a wide variety of cuisines! You can expect to find anything from South Indian food stalls, to Korean cafes and Chinese restaurants which will all cater to a vegetarian and vegan diet.
Jamaica – The Rastafarian community in Jamaica, be it a small one, has a belief of growing and eating from the land around them. Their diet, called Ital, is fundamentally as natural as possible, with many adopting pescetarian or totally vegan diets. This has in turn has helped bring about the café scene that Jamaica is incredibly well known for, many of which serve up a range of vegetarian and vegan dishes.
Israel – Arguably one of the most well developed countries in terms of vegetarian and vegan diets with a large proportion of Jewish people opting for vegetarian diets in order to avoid the proscription of meat and dairy. However, it isn’t just the Jewish community in Israel, hundreds of thousands of the Israeli population claim to be vegan, giving it the biggest vegan population in the world. It is said that more than 5% of all Israelis are now vegan. This has resulted in more than 400 vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants and the World’s premiere vegan Domino’s. Veganism is such a hot topic of discussion in Israel that veganism is even discussed in the cabinet meetings of the Israeli government.