Inspiration Destinations Europe Your Ultimate Vegan Guide to Culinary Capitals

Your Ultimate Vegan Guide to Culinary Capitals

Tanaman at Potato Head Suites & Studios, a vegan restaurant.

Magnificent mole, indulgent ice cream and delectable dumplings… sink your teeth into plant-based perfection with the world’s best vegan destinations.

For countless years, roving veggie-lovers have relied on a handful of trusted vegan offerings. Now, the fear of missing out is a thing of the past, thanks to the recent explosion of vegan-friendly venues and menus. Whether cooked up fresh or passed down from generation to generation, plant-based recipes aren’t just buoying the reputation of established foodie destinations – they’re setting a new standard in culinary arts. From superb pub fare to astounding haute cuisine, the world’s your oyster (mushroom) with our list of culinary capitals for vegan voyagers.

Ready to escape? Tuck into our tantalising Sri Lanka foodie tour.

Berlin, Germany

With decades of hearty wholefoods and fantastic fusion under its belt, Berlin has proven itself an evergreen vegan paradise. Bounded by the colourful rebellion of East Side Gallery murals, Friedrichshain is the perfect place for your first bite.

Perched above the beloved Veganz supermarket, Kyoto-inspired Secret Garden plates up a spectacular assortment of all-vegan sushi. Start with the ‘Glänzender Exot’ – carrot and garlic dumplings served with pomegranate and sweet mango-coconut sauce – then mix and match your sushi rolls from pickled pumpkin and beetroot, tempting tempura radish, or avocado and spring onion with black rice. Get a taste for history at 1990 Vegan Living, serving Vietnamese-style food since just after the Berlin Wall fell, from rice paper rolls with hoisin-peanut dip to grilled tofu and oyster mushroom ‘la lot’ wrapped in peppery betel leaves.

Close by the community gardens of Tempelhofer Feld – an abandoned airport turned public park – you’ll find the homey Alaska Bar. Their seasonal tapas menu includes popular dishes such as grissini with almond ricotta or crispy patatas bravas with spicy Sichuan chilli oil. Just around the corner, collective-run La Stella Nera is ready to roll out wood-fired wonders like Neapolitan-style potato and rosemary pizza.

Berlin has its fair share of vegan fine dining too. Sit down for the chef’s menu at Lucky Leek, where tandoori cauliflower meets passionfruit yoghurt and eggplant confit, or peach pavlova comes with coffee cream and redcurrant jelly. At the elegant Kopps, local produce undergoes a true gastronomic alchemy. Each course is expertly paired with vegan drinks, such that potato, leek, pine core and vegan ‘Belper Knolle’ cheese are accompanied by Clot de les Soleres’ Ancestral Chardonnay 2017, while the raspberry mousse with pistachio ice cream is served alongside orange, raspberry and vanilla fermented milk punch.

Worked up an appetite for Germany? Take a look at our best Berlin stays.

Portland, Oregon, USA

Consistently rated among the best US cities for vegans, Portland, Oregon is a veritable wonderland for plant-lovers. Be forewarned: the breadth of options may have you extending your stay.

In a city known for phenomenal food trucks, Gnarlys’ ‘Dang’ burger has earned a reputation as one of the best in town (vegan or no) with irresistibly chunky sidewinder fries. Elsewhere, having graduated from food truck to cosy restaurant, Dirty Lettuce fries up comforting Southern staples from seitan barbecue ‘ribs’ and crispy fried ‘chicken’ to konjac-based ‘shrimp’ po’boy.

Epif craft exciting veganised South American favourites in their kitchen, serving alongside Portland’s largest selection of pisco. Start with fried pumpkin bread and ‘pimentones rellenos’ or pickled sweet peppers, followed by ‘cheddar’ and roasted cherry tomato empanadas, served with spicy ‘aji verde’ salsa.

Taste Sri Lanka from across the Pacific at Mirisata, where jackfruit and potato curry-filled croquettes and ‘devilled pork’ fried rice come with a serve of spiced banana blossom and dulse ‘fish’ patties. Jade Rabbit at The Emerald Room serve pan-Asian comfort food at their all-vegan dim sum spot. Savour spectacular mapo tofu and steamed ‘char siu bao’ pork buns, then sample spiced banana mochi doughnuts for dessert.

Speaking of doughnuts… Sweet treats are the crowning glory of Portland’s vegan scene. The good folks at Doe Donuts present a fully vegan lineup, including luxurious Vermont maple-glazed and their signature ‘Portland fog’ earl grey doughnut. For the brave, you’ll always find a savoury doughnut to test your palate, from barbecue to housemade ‘Chili Mac’.

If you’re after a summer scoop, small-batch sensation Fifty Licks has wildly good flavours (mango sticky rice ice cream, anyone?) while dairy-free Kate’s Ice Cream combines organic coconut milk with Oregonian marionberry jam or chocolate-laced Portland Coffee.

Keen for a taste of the Pacific Northwest? Peruse our Portland hotels here.

London, UK

Humble pub dinners and acclaimed haute cuisine: London’s wide vegan variety features some certified bangers… and mash.

Soho favourite Dishoom simmers South Asian classics in homage to the Irani cafes of Bombay. Their vegan offerings include crispy, Punjabi-style samosas, moreish chickpea curry and spicy oat milk chai. A few streets over, Mildreds serves global fare with vegan verve. Tuck into piquant kimchi fried rice or wild mushroom tortelloni in caramelised leek cream while people-watching at a cosy window seat.

From busy streets to bustling markets, many a London legend starts in the modest food stall. Though they’ve moved to brick-and-mortar, Shoreditch mainstay Club Mexicana still serve delicious street food like their ‘Al Pastor’ tacos with salsa verde and charred pineapple, or finger-licking ‘BBQ Short Rib’ burritos. Family-owned Jam Delish have gone from market buzz to Islington acclaim, where their all-vegan menu spins traditional Caribbean recipes into mouthwatering modern dishes. Try their chargrilled jerk ‘pork belly’ tacos with avocado puree, or hearty ‘goat’ curry with Jamaican sweet potato and fried ripe plantain.

The Spread Eagle, the city’s first vegan pub, has herbivorous East Enders covered. They’ve perfected the art of pie and mash with parsley ‘liquor sauce’ (a Cockney classic) and the ‘Sunday Roast’ with Yorkshire pudding and clever ‘Beet Wellington’.

For world-class fine dining, reserve a table at Michelin-starred Pied à Terre. A breathtaking, ten-course vegan tasting menu features rich macadamia and lemon balm carbonara, baked soybean terrine with tandoori spice and coastal herbs. At Gauthier Soho, esteemed chef Alexis Gauthier announced the shift to all-vegan dining in 2019. The eight-course tasting with paired wine includes the likes of roasted fennel in indulgent orange and maple syrup glaze, or British black truffle berlingot with light dashi cream.

Ready for merry old London? Explore our luxe hotel selection here.

Taipei, Taiwan

Thanks to Taipei’s long-standing Buddhist tradition and sizeable vegetarian population, the Taiwanese capital is one of the most vegan-friendly cities in the world.

Start your day at Hip Pun vegan bakery and grab an earl grey scone or fluffy ‘egg yolk’ bun with taro. Cake-lovers can order a slice of oolong tea Basque cheesecake or mesmerising pandan chestnut cake. On Wednesdays, catch the store’s vegan ‘takoyaki’ pop-up, Mushyaki, for an adventurous dive into plant-based ‘octopus balls’.

No trip to Taipei would be complete without some incredible street food. Just across from Taipei Main Station, Shàng Dǐng HuángJiā takes the humble dumpling to dizzying heights. Pan-fried and plump, these creations are stuffed with bamboo shoots, cabbage or creamy pumpkin. If you’d prefer a full feast, grab a seat at Yang Shin for vegan-friendly yum cha. Be sure to order the Shanghai xiao long with vegan pork, as well as Beijing-style ‘duck’ made with king oyster mushroom.

Of course, Taipei’s fantastic food goes beyond Taiwanese shores. Down a quiet alley, cosy Mianto is your Italian food fix. Order umami porcini risotto or a plate of elegant eggplant fettuccine, then test the limits of vegan cream with showstopping tiramisu. Discerning diners will also want to visit sophisticated Serenity, Taipei’s first vegetarian Sichuan restaurant. Sample vegan dishes from tea leaf-smoked ‘goose’ to steamed stinky tofu.

Delightful desserts are something of a Taiwanese specialty. Despite the stiff competition, Nice Cream earned a place among HappyCow’s ’10 Top-Rated Vegan Ice Cream Shops in the World’. Daring flavours like olive oil and black sesame appear alongside classics like vanilla and strawberry, with vegan milkshakes to boot. The undisputed hero is the  ‘egg waffle’ – crisp-edged, soft-centred, served with your chosen scoops and drizzled with chocolate sauce.

Eager to experience Taiwan? Discover this incredible island on our curated itinerary.

Oaxaca, Mexico

Fans of aromatic spices will be spoiled for choice in wonderful Oaxaca. Owing much to the region’s Zapotec and Mixtec peoples, Oaxaca’s traditional cuisine has developed over centuries into flavourful dishes, easily adapted for the plant-based diner. Many cooking classes accommodate vegans such as the innovative Etnofood, where you can get hands-on with a trip to vibrant Mercado de la Merced.

There’s no shortage of market magic in Oaxaca. Past the flower-lined entrance of Mercado Orgánico la Cosecha, you’ll find a courtyard of local artisan stalls with myriad vegan delights. Savour a hearty plate of ‘chilaquiles’ in the morning, then return for freshly prepared tamales and empanadas. Take a seat in the dappled sunlight and try rare cacao-based refreshments, from creamy, masa-based ‘atole de chocolate’, to frothy ‘tejate’ and its elusive relative, the sweet and herbal ‘pozontle’.

The birthplace of chocolate as we know it, Oaxaca boasts a thriving cacao culture. Be sure to try traditional chocolate-based chile sauce as part of a sumptuous seven ‘mole’ tasting at all-vegan Hierba Dulce. Located in a charming colonial courtyard, the restaurant proudly calls itself ‘de-industrialised’, forgoing industrially processed foods for handmade ‘slow food’. They also use bean-to-bar Oaxacan chocolate for superbly rich ice cream and outstanding ‘chocolate de agua’ – the city’s ubiquitous water-based hot chocolate. An expansive menu includes toasted corn ‘memelas’, mushroom ceviche in tamarind sauce and an impressive ‘tlayuda’ with delicate squash blossom and coveted ‘huitlacoche’ – a uniquely complex corn truffle. Pair your meal with refreshing horchata, fermented pineapple tepache or an invigorating selection of local mezcal.

Naturally, Oaxaca’s foodie culture lends itself to other cuisines too. At Viriditas Cocina Vegana, a rotating daily menu features a diverse selection of spicy shiitake mushroom ramen, sushi, broad bean falafel and sweet potato-filled daifuku. Afterwards, cool off with an ‘agua fresca’.

Feeling the magic of Mexico? Start planning with our hotel collection.

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

Between the cracks of Ho Chi Minh City’s buzzing sidewalks, a vivid world of veggie delights is waiting to be discovered. A longstanding vegetarian and vegan tradition make Vietnam’s fragrant flavours particularly suited to the meat-free foodie.

Hidden in the labyrinthine city streets, Phúc Quang Chay brings Vietnamese family fare to the plant-fanatic, including tofu-tomato soup and a bold interpretation of ‘bun mam’, a fermented fish noodle soup. Such traditional dishes can also be found at chic Vị Quê Kitchen, where vegans can try skilfully crafted ‘mi quang’ – typically made with shrimp or pork – and the flavourful depths of ‘bun bo Hue’ broth. Fresh green papaya salad keeps things light, perfectly paired with a refreshing glass of butterfly pea flower tea.

Elsewhere, Zeroism’s freshly baked sourdough is a superb base for their saucy jackfruit and lemongrass or miso tempeh banh mi. This humble, green-fringed space complements an elegant menu of vegan fusion, from spicy tamari spaghetti to fruit-topped French toast. Here’s your chance to sip strong, traditional Vietnamese coffee, layered with sweetened condensed milk.

When it comes to delicious drinks, coffee isn’t the only worthy cup. Follow the irresistible perfume of freshly roasting cacao to Maison Marou, Vietnam’s beloved ‘tree-to-bar’ chocolate makers. Pull up a chair to watch the master patissiers at work as you cradle a mug of vegan ‘Signature Cashew’ hot chocolate, featuring earthy, single-origin cacao accented by notes of aromatic spice. With clearly labelled vegan options, you can comfortably order a chewy ‘Banana Chocolate Chunk Cookie’ or fudgy ‘Chocolate-Coconut Brownie’ – both using internationally awarded Vietnamese cacao. Make sure to grab a ‘pho spice’ chocolate bar for the road and taste the singular brilliance of this all-Vietnamese masterpiece.

Have a hankering for Vietnam? Take a look at our sumptuous, small-group foodie tour.

Feature image: Tanaman plant-based restaurant at Potato Head Suites & Studios, Bali.

Looking for more inspiration? Check out 4 Amazing Restaurants at Bali’s Potato Head Suites & Studios.

About Finn
With an insatiable appetite for fine food, live music and the world's very best craft chocolate, Finn loves stumbling on the unexpected by taking the path less travelled (after meticulously planning the route, of course).

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