Food & Lifestyle

More vegan choices sprouting up

NEW YORK • November is World Vegan Month and it is also a time when many people are taking year-end holidays.

And with an increasing number of places catering to all types of vegan travellers, there is a lot to celebrate.

Whether it is for health, religious or environmental concerns, the vegan community is growing and businesses are responding to its needs.

Pinterest, for instance, has noted a near-200 per cent spike in searches for vegan food travel guides since last year.

Adventure outfitter Intrepid Travel recently introduced three vegan food tours to India, Italy and Thailand led by local guides.

“Dietary choices shouldn’t hold anyone back from exploring the world,” said Mr Neil Coletta, its food tour manager.

“We make sure every meal is strictly vegan, so travellers can relax and enjoy themselves.”

Another company, VegVoyages, offers off-the-beaten-track vegan adventures in Asia, while Vegan Travel takes guests on all-vegan cruises in the Baltic Sea, Mekong Delta and Patagonia.

The publisher Well + Away recently came out with a series of healthy travel guides, called VitalGuides, with vegans in mind.

Guides for San Francisco and London are available and another for Philadelphia will debut this month, followed by one for Brooklyn next month.

“Not all restaurants included are vegan, but each must provide thoughtful vegan options beyond vegetable sides,” said founder Margaux Lushing.

The guides, curated by locals in each city, are available for download in print and mobile formats for US$12.99 (S$17.88) each.

The start-up also offers in-room “VitalKits”, with vegan snacks for a variety of hotels, one of the many ways hospitality brands are adapting their offerings to accommodate vegan guests.

Lodgings worldwide are introducing vegan menus at their restaurants, cocktail bars and afternoon teas, and in their guest rooms.

“Hotels are placing more of an emphasis on wellness and plant-based cuisine is part of that,” said Los Angeles-based chef and restaurateur Matthew Kenney. He recently opened Alibi, an upscale vegan eatery at the Ovolo Woolloomooloo hotel in Sydney.

This month, guests at Four Seasons Los Angeles at Beverly Hills can order Kenney’s veg-focused fare on the in-room dining menu.

“Talented chefs are elevating vegan cuisine around the world,” he said. “Travellers today don’t have to compromise flavour or the dining experience to get the health benefits of eating plant-based food.”

His next restaurant will open inside Casa Sur hotel in Buenos Aires, the meat-loving capital of Argentina – a testament to the diet’s widespread appeal.

As the meat-free revolution steadily inches towards the mainstream, its effects are reaching beyond the plate.

Portland, Oregon, is home to America’s first vegan mini-mall while a vegan food hall, Vshops, recently opened in Miami.

Toronto boasts Vegandale, an entire city block of vegan stores, whose annual Vegandale Food Drink Festival has expanded to Chicago, New York and Houston.

“Festivals are a great way for people to learn more about vegan values, experience the lifestyle, sample products and eat delicious food,” said chef Todd Erickson, co-owner of Miami restaurant Glam Vegan and culinary director of Miami’s Seed Food and Wine festival, which takes place annually during World Vegan Month.

“There’s something for everyone at every price point, from burger battles to private chef dinners,” he said.

“Vegan food is not just kale and tofu anymore.”


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