April 19

Top 10 Vegetarian Cities in the World

Filed under Traveling in the Raw by Frederic Patenaude

I just came back from an eight-month trip around the world, visiting over 25 countries and countless cities and islands.

During this “tour around the world,” I gave talks in many countries, including Denmark, the Czech Republic and Australia, and met many of my readers, as well as many very interesting raw foodists, vegan activists and other health minded people.

Coming back to “reality” has been a little challenging, especially considering the fact that we had no official place to stay when we arrived. Fortunately we were able to quickly find an apartment in beautiful Vancouver, but we’re still in the process of moving in. No more traveling for a while!

There’s still a LOT about the trip I haven’t had a chance to share with you, simply because of lack of time while traveling and bad Internet service in some islands.

So to end this trip with a bang and celebrate our return to North America, as well as to show you some of the most beautiful places I’ve seen on this trip, I’m announcing a special event next week called:

Raw Island Week!

Starting on Sunday this week, and running every day for 7 days, you’ll get to see in video seven amazing islands of the South Pacific, including my commentary on what it’s like to live as a raw foodist and a vegetarian there.

I think you’ll be quite surprised and even enthralled by these tropical islands, and it will not only give you something to dream about, but also give you some insights as to what it’s *really* like to live on a tropical island.

Every day of the week, in addition to the videos and possibly some articles, there will be a special for one of our product. Each product will be on sale for 24 hours, and you’ll be able to get the discount using a coupon code that has the name of the island of the day.

Make sure you check your email every day for these “Raw” island videos and the special of the day.

For now, I wanted to share with you some more insights I had after my trip and some of my “Top Best Lists” from around the world.

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Did you read the Raw Food Controversies? One of my readers writes:

I loved “The Raw Food Controversies” – it filled in so many blank pockets of missing knowledge I was unaware of, both regarding the history of the raw food movement and shedding light on the weaknesses and strengths of eating this way. My value system regarding what to eat has totally changed and I finally consider I have my feet on the ground with my food choices.

If you haven’t read the book, go immediately to: http://www.rawcontroversies.com
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Top Places in the World for a Raw Foodist, Part 1

This article may surprise you, but it comes from the genuine opinion of someone who just travelled to over 25 countries in eight months, having visited many more prior to this last trip. Although I may be missing some places I haven’t yet visited… this is just my opinion based on what I know. Feel free to comment.

Part 1: Top Vegetarian Cities in the World

Let’s start with the big cities that are the most vegetarian friendly in the world, especially those that understand the concept of veganism, gluten free and raw foods. Based on my experience, my choices would be:

#1 London, England — Let’s start with the city that has the longest tradition of vegetarianism in the world for any Western country. This is where vegetarianism was born! This is where Gandhi famously studied and lived as a vegetarian. London today may not seem as vegetarian-friendly as other cities I will mention below, but it has the longest tradition of vegetarianism, and the country in the world after India where the most people label themselves as “vegetarian.”

#2 New York City — There’s no lack of vegetarian, vegan or raw vegan option in New York City. This is the city that has it all! HappyCow.com, the website that inventories vegetarian restaurants around the world, lists over 111 vegetarian, vegan, or veg-friendly restaurants in the Big Apple.

#3 Vancouver, Canada — Okay, I may be a little biased, because this is where I live now, but I find Vancouver to be one of the most health-conscious, vegetarian friendly places in the world. The city is practically Asian, but almost every single restaurant has a vegetarian or vegan option, and we even have a couple raw restaurants. But more importantly, Vancouverites seem to care about their health, and it shows in the thriving health food culture here.

#4 Toronto, Canada — There is a sort of rivalry between Vancouver and Toronto as to which city is the most vegetarian-friendly. There’s no doubt that Toronto boasts more vegetarian, vegan and raw vegan restaurants, but to be fair I will tie it in with Vancouver!

#5 San Francisco — HappyCow lists 45 vegetarian or veg-friendly restaurants in San Francisco, but everybody knows that San Fran is a health conscious city where it’s very easy to eat healthy and live healthfully.

#6 Singapore — The number of vegetarian restaurants in Singapore in mind-boggling. HappyCow lists over 200, but I suspect there are many more. When I visited the city, I located approximately 20 vegetarian restaurants within a five-minute walk around my hotel. I am not kidding! Generally the food is vegan, and the only downside is that the menu only varies slightly from one restaurant to the next. Raw vegans will love the fruit and durian sold in Singapore year round. Singapore is also known for its “durian bars” on the street where you can buy several varieties of durian and eat on the spot.

#7 Portland, Oregon — I have to admit, I have never spent much time in Portland, but everybody tells me it’s one of the best places in the world for vegetarians and raw foodists, beating many the cities I have mentioned previously. I can’t argue with the consensus!

#8 Hong Kong — I found Hong Kong to be like a combination between New York City and Singapore. Hong Kong has a vibrant vegetarian culture based on the buddhist tradition, and most restaurants are not listed online. But you’ll find them everywhere as you walk the streets of the city. I won’t rate it as high as Singapore simply because not as much fruit is sold on the streets.

#9 Chiang Mai, Thailand — This is the most vegan-friendly place in Thailand, boasting many vegan restaurants. By definition: any vegetarian in Thailand will be vegan because the word for “vegetarian” in Thai literally means “vegan” (no animal products). In addition to its many vegan restaurants and observance of the Vegetarian Food Festival in November, Thailand has all the fruit and fresh produce you could hope for. Think massive quantities of the best fruit you’ve ever tasted, at rock-bottom prices!

#10 Melbourne, Australia — Melbourne may not have as many vegetarian restaurants as the other cities I mentioned, but it’s a very health-conscious city where the word “gluten-free option” appears on more restaurant window than anywhere else I’ve seen. It has a vibrant raw vegan culture and its central market is one of the best I’ve seen in the world to buy fresh produce.

In my next article, I will share with you the top places in the world I’ve discovered for raw foodists!

Stay tuned for Raw Island Week starting next week!

9 Responses to “Top 10 Vegetarian Cities in the World”

  1. Ryan says:

    Great article. I’ve only been to a couple of the places listed, but I have visited at least 11 countries and many cities in the US, and I think Austin, Texas is the most veg-friendly city I’ve experienced. There is great vegan awareness, many health & fitness minded people, loads of sources for organic produce, and a lot of raw, vegan, vegetarian and veg-friendly restaurants. For LFRVs, there’s a great chain of 3 locations called Daily Juice that makes all sorts of simple, fruit-based smoothies that are fully customizable. All-in-all the city is fun and has a great vibe. [I don't live there, but I kinda want to]

  2. Interesting list!

    Did you not visit Spain or Portugal during your trip? I have been thinking about moving to Spain… I would love to have a garden full of fruit trees :)

    I was living in Barcelona for 6 months and on Majorca for another 6 month in 2009/2010, but I was very busy due to my work and because of my kid, so I did not really have much time to explore to what degree the country was vegetarian friendly, but I did meet a few Spanish vegans during that year though. I know there are some raw vegans living down in the south of Spain, but never made it down there.

    I loved this organic fruit delivery service they had in Barcelona, where I could order my fruit online and they would bring it to my house :) I forgot what they were called though, I was trying to find the name of the website because a friend asked me, but could not remember it…

    Regarding London – I spend a lot of time there and you are right that it is a quite vegetarian/vegan/raw vegan friendly city. What I don’t like though is that the air quality there is so much worse than in other places (at least it is a big difference from where I live by the sea in Helsinki… or where I lived by the beach in Barcelona or in the little mountain village on Majorca…) so even though I eat better when I’m in London, I still don’t feel as healthy as I would like to feel when I’m in there.

    Thanks for a great article. Looking forward to the top places in the world for raw foodists. Maybe I will take your advice and move to one of them one day – yes, I like moving around the world and discovering new places and new cultures! :)

  3. Marcy says:

    Wow…no mention of L.A. or other surrounding cities in California. I would have thought it to be one of them.

  4. Quinny says:

    I think Hong Kong should be the last one. Even though they have a lot of vegetarian restaurants, the diet is based on the religion. If you try to have a conversation with the people and ask them what do they know about a vegan diet or especially raw vegan diet, they will not be able to tell you anything…

  5. Frederic Patenaude says:

    I admit I should have added LA… but wait for my next article on my “Most Raw Friendly Places”

  6. Frederic Patenaude says:

    I’ve visited Spain a lot in the past, but not during this trip.

  7. Frederic Patenaude says:

    I’ve heard a lot of great things about Austin… I should go one day!

  8. VeganJus says:

    Nice to see my home town of Melbourne on there! I knew we were the most veg friendly city in Australia – but nice to see us stand up around the world! I am also very well travelled and I really appreciate food options when I come home. The vegetarian, particularly vegan, scene is exploding here at the moment, so I expect we’ll be even more veg friendly next time you come!

  9. Hola, even though I agree with a lot of of what was said on this page there are some I simply don’t agree with by any means. Even with that said, this was an overall good high quality post.

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