Can Meatless Food Travel Be Really ‘Authentic’?
“Your body is not a temple. It’s an amusement park. Enjoy the ride.” – Anthony Bourdain
Well, you don’t always have to agree with your idol, do you? I happen to believe you can explore local cuisines while keeping it largely wholesome, healthy and sustainable. You can respect both local traditions AND the planet. (And your body, while you’re at it).
Admittedly, there are destinations where avoiding meat while sticking ONLY to local specialties (let’s be real – falafel in Japan and smoothie bowls in Bali is not food travel…) is much more difficult than others (looking at you, Cuba!), and where being fully vegan just wouldn’t cut it. But I promise you – with a little imagination and research you can skip the meat in your food travels, and not just survive but genuinely THRIVE.
I have been 100% vegan at home for the past 8 years or so, and couldn’t be happier, healthier and more excited about the food I eat at home. I’ve discovered a ton of new international recipes, ingredients, and plant based resources. That in itself has been quite a culinary journey of (self) discovery!
BUT. In my travels across 6 continents I am yet to come across a cuisine that can be fully appreciated by eating a vegan diet. Vegetarian, yes (hello India!). Pescatarian, yes (pretty much everywhere!). But not wholly plant based.
I believe going MEATLESS and moderately enjoying some dairy and fish (sustainably sourced when possible) is the kind of compromise anyone can subscribe to! When traveling AND beyond.
No vegan preaching. Just small mindful steps for the planet, while getting to know her incredible flavors and the people behind them. That’s my humble recipe for responsible food travel. Will you join the ride?