8 Great Destinations for Vegetarians ...

Being a vegetarian is not just about caring about the future of animals, it’s about caring about your future too. There’s a lot to be gained from a vegetarian diet, as well as being delicious, the vegetarian life is sure to make you a healthier individual. From the exotic Far East to the tip of South America, vegetarianism is becoming seen as the correct way to live, follow us on the road to 8 Great Destinations for Vegetarians.

1. Singapore

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The culinary world of Singapore is a delicious mix of Chinese and Malay cuisine with dazzling aromas and flavours for every preference. If you like to go posh for your nosh or slum it in a traditional hawker market, that exquisite oriental tang of lemon grass, tamarind, galangal and coconut milk get the message across about this great destination for vegetarians. For those not-so-devout vegetarians, surprise yourself with a dish of Sweet & Sour Mock Pork Ribs! Yes it really is vegetarian conjured up from tofu and soya, a striking resemblance to the real thing.

2. India

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The secrets of South India's culinary delicacies are as enchanting and mystical as the people who live there. Get your tongue around the names before you get stuck in to that finger lickin' food. Just look at those names from the menu, puris or appams papad with chapatis, followed by different vegetarian curry specialities to tantalize the taste buds. A must try are dosas; a mixture of rice and dhal blended with water and fermented overnight. Hot off the griddle and served with chutneys or spicy vegetable filling, delicious curried egg mayonnaise and even cheese.

3. San Francisco

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The Golden Gate city of San Francisco a multi cultural city with food styles to match, it is a tremendous place for any true vegetarian. China town specials like veggie chop suey and pot stickers to vegan extravaganzas at Millenium and Greens even the most extreme of animal product abstainers will find titillating treats. From veggie burgers and veggie hot-dogs to 5 course vegetarian dinner in style, San Francisco is quickly becoming the veggie capital of the world. Look out McVeggies namesake you've got some competition.

4. Morocco

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In search of more great destinations for vegetarians I find myself strolling through miles of twisting walkways surrounded by drug dealers, white slave traders, arms dealers and money launderers - a harsh contrast to the heady aromas of jasmine, orange trees and cumin, in the heart of any Marrakesh souk. Discover the tantalizing savour of Moroccan food. Among the numerous tagines (pronounced ta-jheen) dishes try the veggie tagine along with traditional couscous and a spicy tomato based soup, called harira.

5. Italy

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Mamma Mia! Spaghetti and pizza; although the most well known of Italian cuisine,it's not the real heart of the delectable Italian culinary brilliance. Simple but savoury. Capich? First take some bread, delicate focaccia or crisp Sardinian pane fresa. Trip out to il mercato for starters of olives, red ripe tomatoes, marinated artichokes with peppers. Match with soft speciality cheeses, pecorino, taleggio or maybe dolcelatte, and a glass of Chianti Classico to wash down the goodies. Save the best for last exquisite regional specialità - truffles of course, black ones from Umbria or white from Piedmont, asparagus from the province of Treviso all topped off with succulent Sicilian capers. Buon appetito!

6. Lebanon

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The Lebanese mezze is the symbolisation of conviviality, that's party time to you and me, so jump on them camels and off to the oasis of Middle East culinary culture. What a spread, a feast for a sheik, as well as being time memorably spent with friends and family. With multitudes of small dishes, the greatest decision is which one to start with - hoummos, (purée of chickpeas with sesame seed oil and lemon), dippers delight with pitta or breadsticks, tabbouleh salad, fattoush salad, warak enab (stuffed vine leaves)and of course everyone’s favourite Baba Ghanouj (purée of grilled aubergine with sesame seed oil and lemon juice). Lebanon's varied vegetarian cuisine is brilliant if you’re looking for great destinations for vegetarians in love with the Mediterranean diet.

7. Thailand

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Thailand, like San Francisco also celebrates a vegetarian festival. The most colourful event takes place in Phuket, renown for certain participants known as mah song that perform self-mutilating practices like piercing their cheeks with assortments of objects and bare foot walking on hot coals; nothing to do with vegetarian diet, but it sure brings tears to the eyes. Thai vegetarians get protein and nutrients from soy beans, soy products, tofu, mock meats, beans and vegetables whilst Michael Jackson learnt the moonwalk from the hot coals guys!

8. New Zealand

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A flavoursome mix of culinary creation and ethnic variety has lifted New Zealand's reputation to new heights as an exciting alternative gourmet destination for discerning food lovers. Some original Kiwi vegetarian recipes to have on your plate: baked summer vegetables, lentil cottagers pie (substitutes meat pies and in demand countrywide), bean with tomato pot-roast and coconut mild curry. What could be better than a good bottle of New Zealand plonk after a hard day with the clippers and sheep.

The variety is endless with the only limitation being the imagination of the chef. As more people get to understand the nutritional importance of vegetables and not just see them as an accompaniment to their meat, there will be no need to head for somewhere that offers something special for vegetarians. The world is an ever changing kitchen and the number of great destinations for vegetarians continues to increase.

Top Photo Credit: karmakazesal

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