November is World Vegan Month, and with an increasing number of places catering to all types of vegan travellers, there is a lot to celebrate. (And perhaps not much to make fun of: The editor of a British food magazine recently lost his job over an email in which he ridiculed vegans.)
According to a report published by Global Data, the percentage of vegans in the US has risen to 6 per cent from 1 per cent in the past three years and Pinterest says it has seen a near-200 per cent spike in searches for vegan food travel guides since last year. Whether it is for health, religious, or environmental concerns, one thing is certain, the vegan community is growing and businesses are responding to its needs.
Take a Vegan Food Tour, or Study Up With a Travel Guide
Adventure outfitter Intrepid Travel recently introduced three new vegan food tours to India, Italy and Thailand led by local guides. “Dietary choices shouldn’t hold anyone back from exploring the world,” said Neil Coletta, the company’s food tour manager. “We make sure every meal is strictly vegan, so travellers can relax and enjoy themselves.”
Another travel company, VegVoyages, offers off-the-beaten track vegan adventures in Bali, Nepal and Southeast Asia, while Vegan Travel takes guests on all-vegan cruises in the Baltic Sea, Mekong Delta and Patagonia.
The publisher Well + Away recently came out with a series of healthy travel guides, called VitalGuides, with vegans in mind. Guides for San Francisco and London are already available, and another for Philadelphia will debut this month, followed by Brooklyn in December. “Not all restaurants included are vegan, but each one must provide thoughtful vegan options beyond vegetable sides,” said founder Margaux Lushing. The guides, which are curated by locals in each city, are available for download in print and mobile formats for $12.99 (Dh47.7) each. The startup also offers in-room VitalKits, with vegan snacks for a variety of hotels, one of the many ways hospitality brands are adapting their offerings to accommodate vegan travellers.
Hotels Across the Globe Are Adding Vegan Menus
Lodgings worldwide are introducing vegan menus at their restaurants, cocktail bars, afternoon teas, and in their guest rooms. “Hotels are placing more of an emphasis on wellness, and plant-based cuisine is part of that,” said Los Angeles-based chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney, who recently opened Alibi, an upscale vegan restaurant at the Ovolo Woolloomooloo hotel in Sydney.
This month, guests at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills can order Kenney’s veg-focused fare on the in-room dining menu. “Talented chefs are elevating vegan cuisine around the world,” he said. “Travellers today don’t have to compromise flavour or the dining experience to get the health benefits of eating plant-based food.” His next restaurant will open inside Casa Sur in Buenos Aires, the meat-loving capital of Argentina — a testament to the diet’s widespread appeal.
Your Souvenir Shopping Can Be Animal-Free, Too
As the meat-free revolution steadily inches toward the mainstream, its effects are reaching beyond the plate. Portland, Oregon, is home to the country’s first vegan mini-mall, while a vegan food hall, Vshops, recently opened in Miami. Toronto boasts Vegandale, an entire city block of vegan stores, whose annual Vegandale Food Drink Festival has expanded to Chicago, New York City and Houston.
“Festivals are a great way for people to learn more about vegan values, experience the lifestyle, sample products and eat delicious food,” said chef Todd Erickson, co-owner of Miami restaurant Glam Vegan and the culinary director of Miami’s Seed Food and Wine festival, which takes place annually during World Vegan Month. “There’s something for everyone at every price point, from burger battles to private chef dinners,” he said. “Vegan food is not just kale and tofu anymore.”