Over the past decade, the choice and variety for vegetarians wanting to eat out has boomed - it's not just stuffed peppers and goats cheese tartlets anymore! But there are some destinations that seem heaven sent for those keeping to a meat-free diet, places where local delicacies cater more to a vegie palate than any other and where it may even be the meat eaters who are in the minority!
So here are 5 of the expected and the unexpected when it comes to global vegetarian hotspots.
In 2007, the UN ranked India as the country with the lowest consumption of meat in the world. With a large Hindu and Jainist population, it means that dietary restrictions here are mainly religiously motivated, though different sects have different beliefs, and the number of omnivores here is on the rise. Still, with such flavoursome spices used throughout the sub-continent, you can grab a tasty vegetarian (and often vegan too!) treat from street vendors and upmarket restaurants alike. Some notable winners include Chole bhature, curried chickpeas served with fried bread, and Baingan bharta, a thick, sweet-sour stew of roasted aubergine.
Or more specifically - Berlin. This city has long been ahead of the curve when it comes to cultural change, and its young population have started to embrace both vegetarianism and veganism at a rate unlike many other cities. While bratwurst and schnitzel might be two things that first spring to mind when it comes to German cuisine, in many cosmopolitan pockets of the country things are changing - fast, with Berlin being awarded the accolade of The New Vegetarian Capital of the world in 2015. Known for experimental flavours and ingredients, this is the place to be for a taste of the future.
Wave goodbye to any preconceptions of only being able to eat mighty moose, wild salmon and Canadian bacon, over 12 million inhabitants (that's 33% of the population!) are now either completely vegetarian or trying to eat less animal products. British Columbia is the most welcoming to non-meat eaters out of the country's ten provinces, with Toronto shining like a beacon. It's not known as the most multi-cultural city in the world for nothing, and the city's East End is jam packed full of innovative restaurants, offering everything from vegetarian hot wings to delicious Dim Sum.
A new contender emerging onto the scene is the Scottish metropolis of Glasgow, which has just been tipped by PETA to be the most vegan-friendly city in the UK (and where there are vegans, the vegetarians are never far behind). London and Brighton are usually the two cities extolled when it comes to pushing the boundaries of British gastronomy, but vegan cafés are sprouting up on a regular basis amongst Charles Rennie Mackintosh's famous architecture. This is in part thanks to the university's accreditation from the vegan society, as well as a surge in the movement's popularity that's spread from the younger generation to the older. And with this grows awareness of the multiple health benefits - ones that can't be found in a deep-fried mars bar…
At just 719 km², Singapore still manages to boast over 350 vegetarian restaurants that range in genre from Malaysian and Japanese to Indian, Chinese and much much more, thanks to its ethnically diverse populace. This makes it a great place to expand your taste buds in a way you wouldn't normally find easy to do in other areas of south-east Asia, and all within handy walking distance from your accommodation too most times! This corner of the world is also famous for its wonderful fresh fruits that are transformed into everything from healthy deserts to sustaining breakfast smoothies.