Between free online information and the growing mindfulness movement, it has never been easier to be eco-friendly. It has also never been so critical for the health of our planet. Now’s the time to adopt new habits that will make you part of the solution, not the problem.
In my experience, drastic changes to a lifestyle rarely last. But little, easy ways to live in a greater state of awareness can become second-nature before you know it. Here’s a list of ways to become more eco-conscious on the daily.
Berlin. Vegan. They. Have. It. All.
It’s taken me the best of the last three years to wrap my head around all the vegan options in the city and I’m excited to finally present you the best of everything. Just for you guys, I’ve eaten my way around the finest vegan kebabs, burgers, donuts, cakes… in fact, just pick your favourite food. I’ve probably eaten it in Berlin. The problem with spending three years trying to eat all the vegan food is that it’s such a vibrant scene, it’s constantly expanding. I keep thinking I’ve eaten everywhere, then overnight another five incredible vegan places appear.
RIP, Dandy Diner 🙁
I’m vegan burger-obsessed as much as I’m a health nut. If there’s a burger on the menu, it’ll trump any organic carboardy bird food I’d usually go for. Burgers are the bomb! They’re cheap, filling, somewhat of a blank canvas for anyone’s imagination to go free, but (almost) always delicious whatever level of fanciness they’ve been dressed up or down into. And to say Berlin has its vegan burger game down pat is quite the understatement. Every burger joints ha a vegan option. Scratch that. Every restaurant has a burger option has a vegan burger option. Berlin has more burger spots than native Berliners and my ambition to document every single vegan burger option in the city was quickly shut down by the pace at which places open and close. So, as the Berlin vegan burger scene ebbs and flows as a goddamn annoying breathing thing (come back, Dandy Diner!), this guide is getting updated with latest discoveries and classics not to be missed.
Europe is a magnet for travelers from all over the world, and for vegans it’s fast becoming a succulent, meat-free meca. The same is also true for travelers and those on vacation who just want to eat healthier, and do their bit for the environment and animal compassion. We don’t all have to tuck into blood-oozing steaks all the time, and you too can embark on a vegan travel odyssey as part of your exploration of the mighty continent of Europe.
One reason I was so keen to return to Chiang Mai is the vegan food.
What’s so great about Chiang Mai vegan food is the selection on offer. There are vegan and vegetarian restaurants elsewhere in Thailand, but they generally are your standard “Jay” (a Buddhist form of veganism) lunch buffet and are not always amazing. Sometimes they are. But I didn’t visit any of those whilst in Chiang Mai, because they can be found everywhere else. Instead I went for the organic farm to table, Japanese macrobiotic, healthy salad bar concepts and all the different and original options in-between, because they truly are what make Vegan Chiang Mai so special.
Koh Phangan swallowed me whole yet again with its beautiful vistas, beaches, yoga, food and everything that comes with it. This was my fourth time on the island and it was as good as ever. You can read the story of how I fell in love with the place here. For now though, let’s talk vegan Koh Phangan!
Most vegan restaurants on Koh Phangan are located in Srithanu, the heart of the yoga community and my favorite area of the island. Note that a lot of places are closed in the afternoon. I don’t have the opening time for everything, unfortunately, but if you like to eat at random hours like I often do, beware that some places are closed in the afternoon. Call ahead to be sure 🙂
Siem Reap could rub you the wrong way if you tackle it from a certain angle. Much like Khao San Road in Bangkok, it’s easy to wound up exactly in the wrong place of the city (let’s hypothetically call this place Pub Street) and wonder what could have possibly gone wrong in such a quaint, culturally-rich, and spiritual part of the world. I did it, several people have done it, has Lonely Planet told us to do it? We’ve all got our reasons as to why we ended up in the most touristy and dare I say backpacker-damaged part of Cambodia whilst on the hunt for vegan and vegetarian restaurants in Siem Reap.
Vegan. Burgers. NYC. Enough said.
Time in New York is never enough to content me with all of the amazing food it has to offer. I was there on a cheeky mission to eat my way through all the Vegan Burgers NYC has on its plate and, although I reckon I did a semi-decent job following these New York tips (and I have the belly flab to prove it), I still couldn’t sample everything. You can now find the much Impossible Burgers in several locations in NYC, but I did give that a miss. Too much meatiness for me. Here’s what I managed to stuff my face with while I was there doing some freelance work (check out MultipleStreams.org for some tips on that!), however.
I took advantage of being back in my old neck of the wood to check out what was happening on the vegan and vegetarian food scene in Montreal. I was super excited to see that most of my old fave vegan restaurants in Montreal were still alive and well, and even more excited to discover that there were quite a few newcomers, making Montreal one of the most vegan-friendly cities I’ve lived in – not far behind my beloved Berlin. Being vegan in Montreal seems to be the hip thing to do right now and I am really not complaining! So without further ado, here is what I think is the best of Vegan Montreal!
The Two Vegans One Country Train stopped in Hamburg!
Much like Leipzig, Hamburg came as a pleasant surprise, with chilled vibes all around and throngs of alternative, cool and independent shops and cafés. Perhaps it’s the fact that it’s located not so far from Berlin, but I found Hamburg to be a bit similar in some ways — be it in the cool nature of the stylish locals or the general overall diversity. As such, the German port city obviously had several vegan restaurants for us to sample, and, what the hell, a fully vegan bed and breakfast! So without further ado, I’d like to present you a short list of all the delicious vegan food we sampled in Hamburg. I know we’ve missed a few, but I’m hoping to go back soon and update this guide. Recommendations warmly welcome!
From one vegan traveler to the next, I can’t stress this enough: you have to chill, man. There have been times in remote areas of Southeast Asia where all there was for me to eat on the menu were stir-fried vegetables and rice for several days in a row, and other times where the language barrier made it impossible to communicate my dietary needs. I’d hate to see food go to waste, so when this happens, I tend to suck it up and eat around the offender. Fortunately, it hasn’t happened often. But I can’t stress enough that a relaxed attitude will take you a long way. The best we can do is do our best. And take snacks with you, always.
Frankfurt is one of those places I assumed I’d hate before visiting. Ahh, don’t I love to be proven wrong about my expectations! The reality is that I really liked Frankfurt. A lot. For its eclectic mix of old and new, for how unapologetically rough around the edge it remains despite being the financial center of Germany, and for the beautiful nature that still surrounds the city. I loved Frankfurt for its coffee culture. But also, for the great selection of vegan food we discovered!
Two Vegans One Country stopped in Munich to discover what the city has to offer!
There’s so much more to Munich than Oktoberfest. Sure, the Bavarian capital can be the scene of lederhosen-clad drunken Weisswürste fest. But open your eyes wide and you’ll discover an amazing health and vegan scene, gorgeous boutique hotels, and — what the hell — river surfing right in the city center. There’s definitely more than meets the eye in Munich and Randi and I set up to explore what lies beneath the Schweinsbraten. Wunderbar.
If you loved Berlin for all its disheveled and raw charm and have been told countless times “this ain’t the real Germany”, consider yourself in luck, as there is another little slice of imperfect paradise waiting to be discovered less than 200km away! Leipzig is neither the Germany these people are referring to — and you will love it. In fact, if you are not a big fan of big bustling cities, you may love Leipzig even more than Berlin.