Travelling as a vegan is not always easy. Although veganism is a well-ingrained way of life now for many, following a strict vegan diet on a day-to-day basis, especially when you are travelling, requires more planning and effort. While being a vegan while travelling in India is not as hard as compared to travelling abroad, considering the huge number of vegetarian options in the country, it can still be an ardent task considering our love for adding dollops of ghee or butter to all the curries we make! Nevertheless, with a few simple tips and tricks, you can easily stay vegan while soaking in the culture and food of each and every corner of the country. Read on for some experts’ advice.
Start with a basic Google search
But of course, this is something that we all do before going on a holiday. However, vegans need to do a little extra planning and select a few restaurants, study different menus and if possible, talk to the locals of the place that they plan to travel to. “We are lucky to be living in a world where we can learn everything about local cuisines from around the world with a simple Google search,” Shivya Nath, one of the most popular vegan travellers and bloggers, says in her blog
“That means before I set out for Georgia in the Caucasus region, I already knew that local dishes like Lobia (kidney beans stew), Lobiani (bread stuffed with mashed kidney beans) and Badrajani Nigswitz (eggplant with walnut paste) are accidentally vegan, thanks to the orthodox Christianity beliefs of locals,” she writes.
Travel with fruits and nuts, especially if you are taking a flight.
“Carrying fruits, nuts, and dry fruits to deal with your cravings during travel is always a good idea. When you are flying, you may not always find vegan-friendly meals although now some airlines have started to offer dehydrated meals. Read the ingredients in detail before opting for them but I would also suggest carrying something from home if you are going to fly,” says Namu Kini, the founder of KYNKYNY Art Gallery and Namu Recommends Vegan Market in Bengaluru.
Get HappyCow, a vegan app recommended by both Namu and Shivya.
“It maps out all the vegan/vegan-friendly restaurants, cafes, accommodations, and stores near you, along with reviews from past travellers. It was thanks to HappyCow that I landed up at GustaV, the first and only entirely vegan restaurant in Salzburg (Austria) and feasted on vegan Tyrolian dumplings that I otherwise could have never tried. In Switzerland, the accommodation listing on HappyCow led me to stay with a vegan Swiss family in a dreamy little village, where I feasted on carob brownies and vegan rosti,” writes Shivya in her blog.
Don’t be afraid to ask.
“In India, being a vegan is simple. For breakfast, you have options like idli and dosa which are vegan provided you don’t add ghee to them. However, if you do a breakfast buffet at a five-star hotel, it could get challenging. In such cases, you need to call the hotel and tell them about your diet. You could even go ahead and ask the manager or chef to create new things out of the menu,” suggests Namu.
Stay in an Airbnb and whip up delicacies of your own.
With veganism reaching different corners of the world, you can find a range of vegan products in most markets. If you are in an Airbnb with a kitchen of your own, you can shop to your heart’s content and whip up vegan delicacies that would probably even take your host and the locals by surprise! Shivya swears by her portable travel blender for delicious vegan food. “The best gadget I’ve acquired in recent times is a Vitamer travel blender (available only on Amazon US), which is light, easy to carry, battery-operated, charges with USB and allows me to have smoothies/smoothie bowls wherever in the world I am,” she says.