Five vegetarian foods worth travelling for
Veggies can find a limited choice when it comes to eating abroad, especially in countries where abstaining from meat is pretty much unheard of. It’s not much fun watching your friends tucking into obscure national delicacies while you’re stuck with a plate of soggy fries, or having to repeatedly explain your eating preferences to bemused waiters or offended locals.
This is why it’s such a treat to travel to destinations where delicious veggie dishes are a central component, or even a highlight, of national cuisine. From the mouth-watering street food of India, to Greece’s irresistible feta and spinach dishes, there’s plenty for vegetarians to get excited about when it comes to international cuisine.
With this in mind, here are the Citybond team's favourite vegetarian foods from around the globe.
Greece is heaven when it comes to vegetarian cuisine, with all the filo pastry, feta cheese, and spinach you can eat. Spanakopita is a savoury pastry containing spinach, feta, onions, egg, and seasoning, and it tastes like the food of the Gods. Vegan versions, without the eggs and cheese, are also readily available in Greece. You’ll be spoilt for choice in Greece, so make sure you also tuck into a traditional veggie meze: think tzatziki, dolmades, and courgette balls. Another delicious - and beautifully unhealthy - dish is a fried cheese known as saganaki, which tastes like it came from Zeus’s own kitchen.
Bombay sandwich, India
If you ever find yourself in Mumbai don’t leave without sampling this very special sandwich. The essential ingredient in a Bombay sandwich is the generous helping of sandwich masala - made from black pepper, fennel, cloves, star anise, mango powder, chili, black salt and cumin - in every layer. The vegetable layers are made up of boiled potato, chutney, cucumber, onion, and sometimes a sprinkling of cheese. Once all the ingredients are in place, the sandwich is grilled, which toasts the bread and melts the cheese. It’s not hard to find these in Mumbai - simply visit any street food stall for this wedge of veggie culinary perfection.
Pampoenkoekies, South Africa
Pampoenkoekies are mouth-watering pumpkin fritters, where flour has been supplemented with or replaced by pumpkin. Drizzle them with caramel sauce or syrup for a sweet treat, or add spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for an autumnal twist. Alternatively, add a dash of lemon for a simpler and more savoury dining experience. You’ll also see variations on the recipe, including Patatkoekie, where sweet potato is used in place of pumpkin. You’ll find pumpkin fritters on the menu in many South African restaurants, but if you can get a local to cook some up for you, you’re in for a real treat.
While guacamole is widely available across the world, there’s nothing like the real thing in the place it was invented. Mexicans keep their guac simple, crushing onion and garlic in a pestle and mortar before adding the main ingredient: soft, ripe avocado. Sprinkled with chilli, coriander, salt, pepper and small tomato pieces it’s an easy dip enjoyed across Mexico, from street food vendors to fine dining restaurants. It’s either eaten with fried tortilla chips, or used to top more substantial foods like tacos and flautas. Whichever way it’s eaten, the freshness and creaminess won’t be forgotten in a hurry.
Triplo sandwich, Sicily
For vegetarians in seafood-heavy Sicily, pasta and pizza are widely available. But if you fancy venturing a little further from your comfort zone, look out for the traditional Triplo sandwich that is served in the island’s most authentic joints. This satisfying sandwich makes the most of Sicily’s favourite vegetable: the aubergine. Bite into the thick bread and you’ll also discover potato and fried chickpeas inside, with the ingredients combining to a surprisingly delicious effect. Traditionally, Sicilians would eat this fried treat for breakfast, so order it in the morning to impress the locals.
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