Ten percent of Taiwan’s population is vegetarian because of its large Buddhist population. This makes Taipei among the best places for vegetarians and vegans to enjoy a wide availability of meat-free cuisine compared to other cities in Asia and the rest of the world.
Numerous vegetarian options
It is said that Taiwan has over 6,000 restaurants that serve vegetarian meals. An average meal here costs around $3 but if you can spend around $5, you can even dine in the popular vegetarian buffets. There are also diners where you can pay by the weight, too. Some vegetarian eateries are also open 24 hours, which makes it very convenient for travelers to stick to their vegetarian or vegan diets when traveling in this country.
But, don’t be mistaken that only Taiwanese cuisine here is vegetarian-friendly, as other world cuisines such as Western, French, Italian, and Japanese cuisines are available in Taipei, and there are options from these cuisines made suitable for vegetarians and vegans. Taiwan’s culinary landscape has greatly evolved to have meat-free alternatives to any meat dish, making even Japanese sushi possible. Taipei is truly a vegetarian traveler’s ultimate foodie destination.
The best mock meat
Taiwan is known for being excellent producers of the best types of mock meat in the world. Mock meat are plant-based alternatives to meat, and Taiwanese mock meat has a large variety ranging from not only the usual which are chicken and fish, but also mutton, duck, beef, pork, scallops, shrimp, to name a few. These mock meats are made of wheat gluten or soy. This abundance of mock meat makes it easy for traditional Taiwanese cuisine to be made meat-less and enjoyable for both vegetarians and meat-eaters alike, as Taiwan’s innovative mock meat boasts great flavor and texture that’s just like the real thing. If you’re traveling to Taiwan, it’s recommended that you sample the various kinds of mock meat, as you can’t get it as good and as “authentic-tasting” elsewhere in the world.
Convenient and hassle-free food shopping
Since there are a lot of vegetarians in the country, it’s very appropriate that their food products are labeled suitable/unsuitable for vegetarians. This makes it easier for vegetarians to quickly determine if a food product is meatless or not, and definitely saves a lot of time from reading the entire list of ingredients. Taipei even has all-vegan supermarkets.
Vegetarian Street Food
Taiwanese street food is extremely vegetarian friendly and features meat-free dishes such as stinky tofu, sweet plum sweet potato, all-veg pancakes, deep-fried mushrooms, tofu fries, and much more. These foods are relatively cheap, and fit for a vegetarian backpacker’s shoestring budget.
Vegetarianism on the rise
In Taiwan, vegetarianism is very much promoted by the government. A meat-free Monday movement is popularized on a nationwide scale, wherein even school cafeterias and government office participate in serving meatless meals on Mondays to encourage healthy eating among their citizens.
Taipei is truly a city that’s worth visiting if you are a vegetarian or vegan, and will surely make for an amazing foodie adventure that even meat-eating travelers will find enjoyable.