5 Essential Vegan Travel Tips to Finding the Best Vegan Travel Food

In an ideal world, we’d only travel with vegans and plant-based food-loving people, and every dish would be labeled vegan everywhere we went! 🤪

One day! It’s just not the reality. BUT there’s so many vegan gems and accidentally vegan food out there that we don’t need to miss out on.

Here’s my ultimate vegan travel guide with vegan travel tips on how to travel vegan.

Many of the countries I’ve visited with animal-heavy cuisines have been my favorite places for vegan food.

You just have to do some research and learn how to ask. And I find the more you do, the more you learn about a country and its culture than just going straight in.

Pinterest Pin for vegan travel tips with vegan burger and vegan restaurant in background

Travel is AMAZING and I want to help you make the most of it as a traveling vegan.

By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with vegan travel tips to apply to your trips.

Ok, let’s start with the vegan travel tips ~

Below are the five types of vegan food I like to look for when visiting a city or country, and the best ways to look for them.

Vegan and traveling soon?

1. 🎫 Look up vegan-related activities on Viator

2. 🏨 List of 80 Vegan Hotels and Vegan Resorts

3. ✈️ 70+ Vegan Tours Happening Around the World in 2024

1. How to Find the Best Food at Vegan/Vegetarian Restaurants:

Vegan Tofu soup, sides, Korean BBQ ssambap at Osegye Hyang Vegan Restaurant in Seoul

One of the first things I do when planning a trip is to research vegan or vegetarian restaurants with vegan options that I want to visit.

When there are TONS of places to choose from, you might as well look for the best, especially since you don’t know when you’ll be back.

For your next trip, go through these steps (doesn’t have to be all), and write down your top finds, or bookmark them on Instagram:

▢ Look up the city or country on HappyCow.net, a database of vegan and vegetarian-friendly restaurants and grocery stores. Sort by number of reviews or rating. If you want to visit the city with the most vegan-friendly city, you can see the number of vegan options under the “All areas listed alphabetically” section.

▢ Google or Youtube-search recommendations from vegan bloggers who have been there, i.e. “Malaysia vegan food.”

▢ Go to the largest vegan travel group on Facebook here, and use the search bar for your destination or post a new message asking for recommendations or local vegan travel tips.

▢ Check the vegan hashtag for the city/country on Instagram.

For example: type in #VeganMalaysia. You can see photos and descriptions of vegan food others have eaten.

▢ Join the vegan Facebook page or group for that city or country and look or ask for recommendations or tips on how to travel vegan there. For example, on Facebook, search: “Vegans of Malaysia.”

▢ Message a local vegan on Instagram or Facebook and ask them for their top recommendations. I’ve done this and it’s great to get a local’s input. They usually know hidden gems and have tried it all.

Quite often, recommendations of hidden gems from locals don’t show up on Happy Cow or a google search, which is why I recommend trying the last two options.

📲 Tip: Look up vegan-related activities on Viator

2. Vegan travel tips when there are few or no vegan/vegetarian restaurants:

Masala Dosa crepe filled with potato mash with chutney dips on the side

▢ Try to opt for cuisines that you can easily veganize when traveling as a vegan. For example, Indian food, Mediterranean food, Japanese food, and Mexican food usually have many vegetable dishes.

When I went to a city with few vegan restaurants, I opted for Indian food a lot because I knew they had dishes that were already vegan or easily veganizable like vegetable rice meals, or breads that you can request without ghee (butter).

▢ Learn how to veganize meals. The word “vegetarian” is more well-known than the word “vegan.” To start the conversation, you can say:

“Do you have any vegetarian food?”

If they say yes, ask:

“Does it have milk?”

“Does it have cheese?”

“Does it have eggs?”

“Does it have fish sauce?”

If you know you’re going to be eating a certain cuisine i.e. Indian food, learn common non-vegan ingredients used in the dishes like ghee (butter) or yogurt. If eating Thai food, many Thai dishes use fish sauce.

▢ Learn a few vegan language phrases to help you, especially when going to places where English is not widely spoken. Google or Youtube “vegan or vegetarian phrases in Malay” or download a vegan passport app like this one from the Vegan Society.

3. How to Find Accidentally-Vegan Street Food

Folded Hotteok Korean pancake inside a paper cup in front of hotteok vendor Myeongdong Food Street in Seoul South Korea

Street food that’s already vegan or can easily be veganized is one of my favorite dishes to look for. You get a taste of local cuisine, as well as enjoy local eateries. It’s one of my favorite things to seek traveling as a vegan.

▢ A good place to start is vegan bloggers or Youtubers that have already tried and inquired about which dishes are vegan. Look up “vegan street food South Korea” for example.

  • However, it’s always still good to ask the vendor if the dish does not in fact contain any animal ingredients.

▢ When you find out what local dishes can be veganized or that are already vegan, look up the best places to eat it.

For example, “putu piring” is a popular accidentally-vegan dessert in Malaysia. Instead of getting it anywhere, I wanted a good one popular to locals, and googled “putu piring Melaka” and found the most reviewed putu piring vendor in Melaka.

▢ Look up popular night markets in the city you’re going to and add it to your itinerary and personal vegan travel guide. If you have a local friend or made friends with one, ask them to take you to a night market and navigate vegan street food options together.

▢ Don’t be shy to message a local vegan on Instagram or Facebook to ask for their recommendations for vegan street food and their vegan travel tips. Again, they’ve most likely tried it all.

Street food is not to be missed, so make sure to do some research to find it. It’s definitely worth it!

Also try the “Is It Vegan?” GPT to check if a food is vegan.

4. Finding Vegan Snacks To Go

Veggie Garden Vegan Kimbap next to a box of vegan chocolate milk box from Convenience Store in Seoul

Since travel generally includes a lot of commuting, walking, waiting, or taking breaks, it’s always a good idea to pack some snacks that can last a while. Might as well explore local finds! The two best places are vendors and grocery stores.

Vendors: depending on where you are, you can look for vendors that sell nuts, fruit, fried banana chips, roasted chestnuts, and other plant-based snacks.

Grocery Markets: I’m always on the lookout for accidentally-vegan goodies I can bring with me on the go, or as gifts when I go back home. I usually roam the grocery aisles for accidentally vegan food. There are a bunch of snacks like cookies and biscuits that don’t use animal products in them.

If the ingredients are not in English, download the Google translation app or be adventurous and ask someone in the store or the cashier if they’re able to translate it for you.

▢ To find which snacks are vegan beforehand to hunt down later, you can:

  • Look on the vegan Facebook page for that city/country. Many times people will discuss grocery market finds. Or add a new vegan travel tips post asking for their recommendations.
  • Find pages like @sgveganfinds on Instagram that post accidentally vegan products found in groceries across Singapore.

5. Fruits

A market stall in the Philippines with baskets stacked with Philippine variety bananas and bananas hanging in the air

In each country I go to, I look for fruit markets. I love trying out local fruits that I can’t find back home. They’re usually cheaper and fresher.

▢ Google search or ask around for the best fruit markets, and add it to your itinerary.

▢ In places where it’s durian season, I look for the best spots or buffets for durian. Eating durian is rarity and favorite for me, so I always put it on my list. Find your favorite fruit in season. Eat lots and enjoy.

Some tips when eating out:

Bowl of noodles and chopsticks on wooden table in Hangzhou, China

▢ Remember to be kind and patient when ordering food traveling as a vegan, especially if there’s a language barrier or where veganism is not common. You don’t ever have to compromise your vegan values, but always be kind!

▢ If you do end up consuming animal products by accident or from a mis-order, breathe, move on, and treat it as a learning experience for the future.

▢ Take and post pictures of your vegan travel eats! 🙂 One of the easiest ways to promote veganism is to show people how amazing and easy being vegan can be. Share your photos on social media.

▢ Try to bring a reusable bag or tote with you. You never know when you’ll run into a market or grocery store with vegan goods, or when you’ll get food to-go at a restaurant.

▢ If you can, bring a reusable tupperware with you, especially when you know you’re going to eat out at a restaurant or night market. You can bring some food with you for a late night snack, breakfast, or for bus rides and flights.

Supporting vegan restaurants and showing a demand for vegan options at non-vegan places, wherever you are, are great ways to support veganism.

Hope these vegan travel tips were helpful! Traveling as a vegan doesn’t have to be daunting, but can be fun and always worth it.

🚌 Check out vegan tours on Viator depending on where you’re going

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