Vegetarian Friendly Cuisines


Dining out is one of my favourite past-times, but as a vegetarian it can often be rather difficult. These days a lot more restaurants are catering for vegetarians and vegans as the diets are becoming much more popular and both are gaining a lot of media attention, however there are still many restaurants and certain cuisines that haven't latched on to the trend. I know I'm not the only vegetarian who has had moments where they have looked at a menu in despair realising that the only thing they sell is the generic 'vegetarian burger or vegetable lasagna'. These are fail safe options for most typical budget English restaurant and it's okay if you're in a hurry, but if you're looking for something to wow your tastebuds, visiting a restaurant with only these two options after you've spent hours getting ready can be anti-climatic. For all those who love dining out, but are vegan or vegetarian, I've put together a little guide of the best cuisines (in my opinion) that are veggie friendly and will deliver when it come to taste and originality.

Thai Food

The first cuisine I would recommend is Thai food. So far I haven't been to a Thai restaurant that doesn't have at least five different vegetarian dishes and I have dined at Thai restaurants all over the world, including Thailand. Thai dishes are naturally vegetable heavy from their Pak Boong (Morning Glory) which is a stir fry made from a type of Thai water spinach (make sure you ask for a vegetarian equivalent to their oyster sauce) to a more well known dishes such as a vegetable 'Pad Thai'. I particularly enjoy Thai soups which are quite hot, but often include a really nice buttery soft tofu and lots of mushrooms. Thai curries are also easily adapted to be vegetarian or vegan if asked and many Thai restaurants do offer tofu red or green curries.

Eat: Green/Red curries, Thai vegetarian soups, stirfrys, vegetarian Pad Thai (noodles)

Avoid: Oyster/fish sauce -  Oyster and fish sauces are a staple in the Thai diet, so you should always make sure your dish comes without.


Indian Food

Indian food is another cuisine that is often vegetarian friendly and if you like spices, there's an array of vegetable or chickpea based curries that will tickle your tastebuds. Vegetables are a staple in Indian cooking and many parts of India are known for their vegetarianism. Typical Indian vegetarian food is usually chickpea and lentil dhals, potato and cauliflower curries as well as dishes with Paneer, which is an Indian style cheese, a little bit like Halloumi.

Eat: Aloo Palak, Aloo Gobi, Karahi Daal and many more

Avoid: Indian food is generally quite safe for vegetarians, but if you're vegan look out for creams, yogurts and paneer all of which include dairy.

Japanese Food

Like many Asian cuisines, Japanese food is known for using a lot of fish stock and fish sauce, however there's still many great vegetarian dishes and a lot of dishes that can be easily adapted to your dietary needs. Vegetarian sushi can be found in most Japanese restaurants and it's also very easy to make at home, as well as vegetarian Gyoza which are Japanese dumplings. Other dishes include Miso Udon Noodle soup and sushi salads.

Eat: Miso, Gyoza, Sushi

Avoid: Always ask to see if something has been cooked in a fish sauce

Lebanese Food

Lebanese food is probably becoming one of my favourite cuisines. Lebanese food consists of cous cous, hummus, flatbreads, halloumi and falafels and vegetarian moussaka made from eggplant and chickpeas. Lebanese food is heavily influenced by Greek and Turkish cuisine that also has a lot of vegetarian dishes, so you can always find something veggie friendly in a Lebanese restaurant.

Eat: Falafels, Hummus, vegetarian Moussaka, Fatoush (salad) and Manakish.

Avoid:  A lot of Lebanese food is heavily meat based, so always double check that these dishes are vegetarian.

Italian Food

Italian food is part of many peoples weekly diet and there's always something for vegetarians to eat. These days many Italian restaurants are recognising that a large proportion of the population is now also vegan and it is getting a lot easier to find vegan pizzas. 

Eat: Arrabiata pasta, mushroom risottos, pizza with vegetarian toppings

Avoid: Parmesan cheese - a lot of parmesan cheese includes animal rennet and you should always ask if it is vegetarian.

What is your favourite vegetarian cuisine?


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28 comments

  1. When I eat Indian food I often choose the Veg option on the menu. I really enjoy potatoes in my currys and Spinach is yummy to!

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  2. Well, I can't say I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes, even at home. But I've tried at restaurants and sometimes they taste better than meat versions.

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  3. Such a helpful post. Although I'm not a vegetarian I sometimes opt for veggie dishes (and I'm allergic to fish and seafood) so I found this really useful. I love Thai food, especially vegetarian Pad Thai.

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  4. What a great post and really helpful to someone who is thinking of becomming vegetarian or is new to being a vegetarian x

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  5. Very useful and interesting. I like the idea of being vegetarian but I am such a fussy eater and I'm not a fan of many veggies or nuts etc. Perhaps trying some Thai or Indian dishes is a way to try some new things.

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  6. My friend is vegetarian and would be inspired by this post, I'm sending her the link :)

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  7. I am a vegetarian and for me Indian and Thai are the most veggie friendly and has the most variety too.

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  8. I don't eat vegetarian dishes really but this is a great list for people who do

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  9. I can imagine that finding vegetarian food must be hard when you go out, it's a shame that more restaurants don't offer a larger range.

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  10. I'm not a vegetarian but when I eat out I very often choose the vegetarian option.

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  11. I love Thai food! The vegetarian options are amazing. I'm not a vegie but often opt for the meat free option because of the lovely flavours!

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  12. These are some fab tips for eating meat free and I live Thai food X

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  13. I always eat vegetarian options as i am not a fan of meat so definitely happy about these tips!

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  14. This is a really helpful post for what to look for in restaurants. Although I do eat meat occasionally I have noticed the poor choice for vegetarians and vegans usually have nothing on the menu!

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  15. Oh do you know, I would never have thought to ask if something was cooked in a fish sauce! x

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  16. I wish I could go to a restaurant and order vegetarian options but I love my meat too much lol but these are nice ideas

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  17. I'm not veggie so don't have the same trouble, but this is really useful I wouldn't have thought of things bein cooked in fish sauce, or Parmesan being a problem.

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  18. This is such a great post, I'm not a veggie but I actually eat a lot of veggie options and have to eat at a lot of veggie places as my daughters dad is a vegan! x

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  19. I haven't grasped the whole Thai food things, that said I would never think to ask about fish/oyster sauce which as you say is a staple food!

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