Sunday 3 January 2016

Tips and Advice for Travelling Vegans in India

how to be vegan in india
India, being rich in culture, history and diverse landscapes is a marvellous location for any tourist. For vegans, India provides a special gustatory adventure with flavours and spices along with plant-based delicacies. Travelling to India as a vegan can be amazing - with some basic prep work and knowledge, of course. In this short guide, we’ll offer some tips and recommendations to ensure that vegan travellers can fully utilize their tour of this subcontinent.

Vegan In India: An Introduction

We visited the bustling capital of Karnataka, Bangalore, which is a metropolis that combines an age-old cultural persona with high-tech modernization (btw it's also known as the ‘Silicon Valley of India’). It has plenty of sites to visit that meet different needs. For example, in the middle of the city, there is a cool huge green park called Cubbon Park which offers a relaxing atmosphere with absolutely lush greenery and bright colours along historical buildings. Another botanical wonder is Lalbagh Botanical Garden which displays a beautiful flora and a famous glasshouse. Here are some further places to visit in Bangalore for history lovers:

  • The palace (which actually resembles Windsor Castle in England, features Tudor-style architecture and has an array of artifacts too);
  • The Tipu Sultan’s Summer Palace, with lavish arches and intricate carvings, gives the city traces of its royal past;
  • The Bull Temple, also known as the Nandi temple is consecrated to Lord Shiva’s mount, a big stone bull sculpture.

You can also just immerse yourself in the energetic streets at crowded markets such as Chickpet, or wander around trendy areas like Indiranagar and Koramangala to enjoy some more unique places for dining, shopping, and entertainment. The variety of options that Bangalore offers makes it a very interesting place to visit, for sure. But now, on to being vegan in India!

Understanding Indian Cuisine: A Vegan's Paradise

Indian cuisine is by nature a vegan-friendly one, with its rich store of herbs and spices. Indian meals are typically vegetarian and many of these dishes by nature have no animal products. Indian meals are built on staples such as dal (lentils), sabzi curries, roti flatbreads and rice. Built on these foundations there are countless regional differences in Indian cuisine ranging from dosa of the south to thali of the north... remember, India is as big as Europe so all the subregions are like countries themselves with their own traditions, landscapes and cuisines and languages with as much differences are European countries!

Before You Go: Research and Planning

  • Research vegan-friendly destinations: we recommend finding locations in India where being vegan will be easy. For example, towns such as Mumbai, Pune and Chennai amongst others usually have several vegan restaurants.
  • Learn some basic phrases: Learn some primary phrases in Hindi or the specific dialect of that vicinity. The capacity to specify what you want to and don't want to eat yourself can be extremely useful. Otherwise, just use Google Translate (the Photo Translate option is a life-saver in supermarkets!)
  • Download vegan apps: Install applications such as Abillion (our favourite vegan app), HappyCow or Zomato to discover vegan restaurants and cafés and to examine evaluations from different travellers.
  • Accommodation considerations: select places which have kitchens. With this method, you can prepare your own meals and vegan snacks easily!

Dining Out: Navigating Indian Restaurants as a Vegan

  • Communication is key: provide clear information about your diet. Make sure that simple phrases such as 'vegan' or 'no dairy' are included in the message.
  • Customize your order: feel free to modify dishes according to your tastes. Indian restaurants are very accommodating and will change recipes without any problems.
  • Opt for local cuisine: focus on local specialities that are vegan by nature. These delicacies which include Baingan Bharta, Aloo Gobi, or Masoor Dal are present all across India.
  • Beware of ghee and paneer: be wary of hidden dairy ingredients. Ghee or paneer can be found in most Indian dishes so make sure to check preparation processes with employees.
  • Explore street food safely: street food is very important in India. You can easily find vegan options such as samosas, chana chaat or bhel puri. Make sure to verify the ingredients and oil used before trying these, though!

Vegan-Friendly Indian Dishes: Must-Try Delights

  • Masala Dosa: a masala matter parantha is filled with spiced potatoes and sambal;
  • Chana Masala: boiled chickpeas in tasty tomato sauce with fragrant spices;
  • Baingan Bharta: smoked roasted eggplant pulped and mixed with tomatoes, onions, and blended spices;
  • Aloo Gobi: a soothing meal prepared using potatoes and cauliflowers flavoured with fragrant spices;
  • Pani Puri: hollow puris that are stuffed with the spicy and tangy mixture of tamarind water, chickpeas, and potatoes;
  • Roti with Dal: a combo of bread with lentil curry is a staple, basic and simple.

Staying Healthy: Nutritional Considerations

  • Protein sources: ensure that your consumption of protein is proper by including lentils, chickpeas, beans and tofu in your meals.
  • Stay hydrated: India is hot and frequently requires a drink, such as fresh coconut water, fruit juices, and herbal teas.
  • Supplements: make sure you take supplements along with you that rare in a vegan diet such as Vitamin B12.
  • Local markets: Go to local markets for fruits, nuts, or seeds. They are convenient and healthy snacks.

Cultural Sensitivity and Etiquette

  • Respect local customs: get familiar with local traditions and customs, in addition to non-secular teachings. Some Indian subcultures may additionally use unique nutritional habits for cooking, be aware of this.
  • Dress modestly: in more conservative neighbourhoods, cultural knowledge and popularity can be endorsed using modest dress codes.
  • Participate in local festivals: remember, festivals of the local subculture are to rejoice in! Many of these fairs often have vegan dishes, too.

Dealing with Challenges:

  • Language barriers: In locations where language can be a trouble, use simple words that can be recognized regionally to deliver your dietary needs.
  • Carry snacks: If you are visiting non-vegan environments, ensure that you stock up on a few vegan snacks like nuts & dried fruits or energy bars.
  • Seek recommendations: do not hesitate to ask locals or maybe fellow tourists for recommendations on whether there are any vegan-friendly restaurants around. They often have great insights in our experience!

Wrap Up: A Vegan Journey in India

Exploring India as a vegan is an interesting journey that uncovers cultural and gastronomical richness. By practising premeditation, adaptability and a love for neighbourhood cuisine vegan tourists can enjoy their trip to India at the same time as gorging on vegetables and fruit. India reveals a luxurious panorama of vegan-associated adventures – the bustle and hustle of metropolis markets to amazing countryside sceneries! Here's a video to help you out:

P.S.: If you're interested in an app designed for vegans & wanna support the vegan movement and us, veganvstravel as well, use this link plz to download Abillion. When registering, please use our referral code: TRAVELLINGWEASELS. If you wanna know why we think this is a great app, read here.

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