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Veganuary: 14 of the world’s best vegan restaurants and experiences

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Fruit-and-Veg-Heart

The rise in veganism and plant-based eating shows no sign of slowing down, writes Black Diamond. At the beginning of 2021, a record-breaking 500,000 people had signed up to the Veganuary challenge – double the number of people who signed up in January 2019 – and the prediction is this number will be even higher in 2022. A report by Sainsbury’s revealed that by 2025, out of all UK consumers, vegans and vegetarians would make up a quarter of the British population. Here, we look at 14 of the world’s tastiest vegan restaurants, bars and experiences worth travelling for.

Vegan side of Budapest, Hungary

Budapest is a great destination for vegan travellers with its abundance of vegan restaurants. Some of the best places in the city include Vegazzi, a trailer-stand vegan pizza place tucked away and situated in a “ruin bar”, and Naspolya Nassolda, a raw vegan café which offers healthy, nourishing foods, without compromising on taste.  . When it comes to travelling compassionately, food choices are not the only aspect of it; there are also no horse carriages or other animal traction vehicles used for tourist activities in Budapest. visithungary.com

Globally-inspired and traditional dishes:

A L’Heure du Sud food truck, Tispanier Beach – Mo’orea Atoll, The Islands of Tahiti

A L’Heure du Sud is a standalone food truck close to the famous Tispanier Beach, Mo’orea Atoll, perfect for vegan travellers visiting The Islands of Tahiti. Tahiti is well known for its freshly grown fruit and vegetables which make for the perfect rainbow coloured salads, but for those who want something a bit heartier, head to this unique food truck where the chef serves delicious vegan meals such as tofu baguettes and vegan burgers. For those with a sweet tooth, the food truck has its own vegan cakes for sale, including delicious chocolate cheesecake. www.tahititourisme.uk

Dandelions in the spring, Slovenia

Even though Slovenian dishes are traditionally linked to meat, vegetarians, vegans, and those with special diets will not find it hard to experience an array of culinary delights in a land built from fresh local produce. Among the 24 gastronomic regions, vegans will enjoy buckwheat žganci (buckwheat mush), Idrija žlikrofi (dumplings filled with potatoes, onions, etc.), and štruklji (dumplings) with numerous meat-free fillings, various porridges, unusual dishes, such as e.g. dressed hop shoots in the Savinja Valley, and dishes made from ingredients harvested from nature – for example, mushrooms picked in the Pohorje Hills or wild asparagus from Istria. No matter where you are in Slovenia, you can enjoy salads with ingredients produced in a nearby garden and don’t miss the Slovenian love for dandelions in the Spring.  slovenia.info/en

Fine-Dining

Gracias Madre – West Hollywood, California

Located on Melrose Avenue in the heart of West Hollywood’s trendy Design District, Gracias Madre offers 100% organic, plant based, Mexican cuisine using locally sourced ingredients. This popular restaurant serves colourful farm fresh food throughout the day, complemented by the chic exteriors on the patio: hand-woven chairs, wrought iron fixtures, embroidered fabrics and hanging plants. visitwesthollywood.com

Kindred – San Diego, California

A true South Park hotspot, Kindred is one of San Diego’s most popular restaurants. The décor is weird and wonderful – light pink wallpaper is emblazoned with fighting plants and a large wolf head adorns the back wall – while heavy metal music blasts out of the speakers. The food is as loud as the surroundings; dishes pack a punch and options such as seared cauliflower steak, Memphis BBQ jackfruit sandwich and green garbanzo chilli all prove worthy alternatives to meat entrées. In early 2022, Kindred will open a second South Park outpost – Mothership – serving more vegan delights alongside tropical cocktails. sandiego.org

Wildest Greens – Greater Palm Springs, California

Located on Palm Desert’s famous El Paseo Drive, Wildest Greens is a vegetarian and vegan restaurant that taps into the organic farm-to-table concept. Diners can choose from eight different food and drink outlets under one roof, including The Garden – offering custom salads and flatbreads – and a Grab ‘n’ Go section. The restaurant aims to make diners feel healthier and happier and its broad menus reflect this, from burritos and grain bowls packed with veggies to guilt-free burgers and freshly made juices.  visitgreaterpalmsprings.com

Casual-Dining

Food & Thought – Paradise Coast, Florida

Food & Thought offers high quality organic produce and groceries from its own local farm alongside fresh juices, milkshakes, coffee, homemade baked goods and herbal supplements. Relax alongside a close-knit and welcoming community of like-minded people in a lovely courtyard; perfect for al fresco dining to enjoy a Holy Yamoli sandwich and a raw dessert. paradisecoast.com

Santana’s Vegan Grill – Colorado

‘Vegan’ and ‘grill’ are not two words often seen alongside each other however Santana’s Vegan Grill brings a whole new meaning to vegan fast-food dining. Proudly standing as the only vegan drive-thru in Colorado Springs, Santana’s Vegan Grill serves up all the favourites visitors would expect to find at a fast-food drive-thru, including plant-based alternatives for bacon cheeseburgers, hot dogs and buffalo chicken strips. All items on the menu are affordable, flavoursome and 100% vegan.  colorado.com

Apteka – Pittsburgh

Apteka in Pittsburgh is a vegan restaurant and bottle shop with a focus on central and eastern European cuisine. All dishes are prepared using solely vegan ingredients, with notable menu items including kotlet selerowy, celeriac schnitzel with beetroot, leeks and an apple salad, and piernik; homemade gingerbread cake served with jam and hazelnut creme anglaise. The restaurant operates on weekends and the bottle shop on Wednesdays and Thursdays, where there’s wine from around the world available to purchase. www.visitpittsburgh.com

The Green Moustache Organic Café – Whistler, British Columbia, Canada

At the Green Moustache Organic Café, optimum health tastes good and nutrient-rich, plant-based food is the core of its healing revolution. Serious about 100% organic, gluten and dairy free food, all meals are made from scratch with locally sourced, fresh ingredients. Try their nutritious cold-pressed juices or smoothies that nourish and detoxify the body, mind and soul before heading for a day out on the slopes whistler.com

America’s next vegan hot spot – Sacramento, California

Having recently secured its first permanent location Mud Pie Stand Vegan Bakery is a must-visit. Menu highlights include thumbprint cookies, mud pie cupcakes, turtle bites and cruffins—a croissant muffin. Rabbit Food Revolution is another must-try vegan spot in Sacramento. Operating as a food truck, pop-up and catering service in the Sacramento area, Rabbit Food Revolution aims to revolutionise the way NorCal thinks about vegan food. Visitsacramento.com

Sustainable Southeast Asian in Seattle

Ba Bar Green is Seattle’s biggest vegan opening of 2021. A plant-based grab-n-go, Chef Erin Banh and Chris Michel composed a menu of vegan and vegetarian Southeast Asian comfort food, made up of plant-based sandwiches and noodles. Located at the popular Vietnamese noodle bar in South Lake Union, flavours are inspired by Vietnam, China, Korea, Malaysia and Singapore. visitseattle.org

 Vegan Foodie Experiences

Green tea tasting in the sky – Shizuoka, Japan

Shizuoka is Japan’s largest producer of green tea, estimated to grow around 40% of all tea cultivated in the country, so the prefecture is abundant with stunning tea fields – many of which boast mesmerising views of Mount Fuji. In the hills of Ryogouchi, The Sky Terrace at the Hoko Team Farm offers guests an unforgettable tea tasting experience ‘suspended’ above the fields, surrounded by the rural beauty of a family-run plantation which dates back generations. Here, visitors can enjoy a vegan-friendly tea experience on a terrace with the spectacular view of Mount Fuji. www.japan.travel

Vegan-friendly cooking class – Kanazawa, Three Star Road, JapanIt’s not always easy to stick to a vegan diet while travelling. Fortunately, there is a cooking school in Kanazawa that not only understands veganism, but adapts their class to suit. In traditional machiya townhouses, the English speaking instructor will introduce Kanazawa-style cooking and the secrets of its most important ingredient, koji, a microorganism used in popular Japanese seasonings such as miso, mirin, soy sauce and sake. Dishes include vegetarian sushi rolls and miso-marinated tofu dip. www.mitsuboshi-kaidou.com

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