Being a massive continent, Asia is home to many countries with a variety of cultures, experiences, architecture, and food. No matter how many times you visit, there always seems like there is more to explore. From the beautiful tropical paradises to the snowy mountains, there are so many beautiful things to do and see in the region – especially through your taste buds.
Every region in Asia has its own local food scene full of delicious, traditional food and exceptional fusion food, including unique takes on Western cuisine. No matter what country you visit, there will always be something for everyone, including vegan and vegetarian options. Although some may view veganism as a modern food trend, eating plant-based is integral to various different cultures in Asia.
The ancient religion of Jainism (which promotes a meat-free diet), date back to 5th Century BCE in India. As the primary tenet of Jainism is Ahimsa, or non-violence, many people who practice this religion refrain from eating anything that causes harm to another living creature. This idea of non-violence toward animals is also present in other religions, like Hinduism and Buddhism.
One of the most popular meat substitutes within Western culture veganism is tofu, as the soy-based product soaks up flavor and can mimic the texture of meat! However, people in China have consumed tofu for more than 2,000 years. Although vegans may be a small part of the population in China, there is a large Buddhist population that continues to drive the plant-based population in the country.
A lot of food in Asian culture is also accidentally vegan. For example, Nasi Lemak is the unofficial official dish of Malaysia, and is sometimes made completely plant based. Starting with a rice base, the dish is cooked in coconut milk, cucumber slices, roasted peanuts, and sambal. Sometimes fried anchovies are added, or one could add fried tofu too.
Plant based foods are nothing new to Asia. In fact,a lot of the differing cultures within have been eating some of the more popular vegan foods for thousands of years.
Below you can find a list of eight pretty amazing vegan restaurants located across Asia:
- Miss Lee – Hong Kong
Serving up vegan and vegetarian traditional Chinese food, Miss Lee’s in Hong Kong is a definite must-try. Miss Lee offers a traditional Chinese menu that swaps out meat for veggies in the most delicious way. You can order a-la-carte, order 3 or 4 course meals, or you could even just order takeaway. With a variety of different dishes from noodles to ice cream, Miss Lee has so much food you need to try.
Must Try: Sweet and Sour Mixed Mushrooms
2. Osegye Hyang (오세계향) – South Korea
If you’re looking to eat some delicious everyday Korean food with a vegan twist, Osegye Hyang is definitely the place to go. This place is known for cooking some of the best homemade vegan food in Seoul that will absolutely feed your soul. Although, if you’re not a fan of spicy food you may need to watch out here, as Korean food is known for being some of the spiciest.
Must Try: Spicy Tofu Stew
3. Aharveda – India
Aharveda, located in Mumbai, India, is one of the best vegan restaurants around. The restaurant is also oil, gluten, and sugar-free, which is perfect for people with varying food allergies. There is a wide variety of food, from more traditional Indian food to a unique take on Mexican food. One thing that stands out about this restaurant besides the food is the unique ambience that calls people back time and time again.
Must Try: Tandoori Platter
4. Satya Graha Café and Restaurant – Philippines
Tucked away in Los Banos, Philippines is the perfect garden-side vegan café. Satya Graha serves up some unique takes on traditional Filipino dishes, like Burger Steak, Sisig, and Filipino Spaghetti. This place stands out as even meat-eaters enjoy grabbing a bite to eat there. Ask to sit in the garden to increase the tropical ambience of this sweet little spot.
Must Try: Lechon Kawali
5. green common – Singapore
Green common is a plant-based restaurant and market located in VivoCity, Singapore that serves up some unique takes on Asian and Western food. They have multiple different menus that are perfect for either a whole meal or small snack. You can pick between the normal main menu, a cake and tea menu, or a lunch set menu, which allows you to pick an appetizer, entrée, and drink.
Must Try: Omni Musubi
6. Aniyor Veg & Vegan Restaurant – Nepal
Serving a mix of Nepali, Indian, Thai, Chinese, and Turkish food, Aniyor has such a variety of food for every taste bud, and it’s all vegetarian or vegan! They’re known for their generous portions and ability to cook every meal to order. Everyone raves about how deliciously seasoned the food is, but one thing they rave even more about is the kind and friendly owner. Make sure to stop by to get some motherly advice when you’re in Nepal.
Must Try: Palak Tofu
7. Nourish Café – Thailand
Located in a Muai Thai gym in Bangkok, Thailand, Nourish Café is a unique plant-based restaurant focused on fueling people’s nutrition. This restaurant serves everything from small protein-packed snacks to full veggie-focused meals. But what invites numerous people back time and time again is their all day breakfast. If you can’t make it to Thailand, check out their sister location in Myanmar, Nourish @ Yangon Yoga House.
Must Try: Breakfast Wrap
8. Saido – Japan
Utilizing vegetables and mushrooms, Saido is a traditional Japanese restaurant serving some of the best food in the country, vegan or not. At Saido, you buy your food in sets, meaning instead of buying a-la-carte, you buy all of your food in one package. At lunch, your set includes a combo platter with your choice of noodles, rice, or curry soup. At dinner, you can enjoy your meal in courses or tapas style, and pair it with a unique list of different liquors.
Must Try: Katsu Set with Vegan Eggs
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Want to learn more?
The History of Veganism Around the World – Live Kindly
Vegetarianism in Asia – Appropedia