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Sustainable travel has never been easier. Food tours are a massive part of the travel industry – and now, many cities around the world offer day-long walking experiences for vegans and vegetarians. Here are six where you can enjoy the local fare without meat.
I don’t know about you, but there are two things I always really want to do when I’m on a holiday: go to the highest point of a city and take in the views, and check out all the local food. The latter has become tougher since I’ve been vegan, but there are a growing number of kind people who are helping me have my dream vacations.
These people take you to the best food spots in the city, where you can eat what locals eat. Whether that is automatically plant-based or has been made veggie, it all still tastes like it’s meant to. And all that aside, who doesn’t just love a good food tour?
Seville Vegan Tours
Runs Tuesday to Friday, €65 per person
Known for its incredible art, gushing buildings and romantic vibes, the Andalusian city of Seville has its very own vegan tour, where you can try out local Spanish favourites while taking in the history of your surroundings.
Seville Vegan Tours‘ walk starts at the Mercado de Triana and lasts 3.5 hours, taking you to four spots to try six different plant-based tapas (yes, you’ll get tortillas). There are also two local drinks: don’t miss out on the tinto de verano – it might have been exploding on the internet this summer, but Spaniards have been drinking it since the early 20th century.
The experience is a nod to the tradition of tapeo, which “consists of meeting friends to spend the afternoon sampling the tapas of different bars in a specific area of Seville”. Gastronomy is deeply rooted in Andalusian culture, and Seville Vegan Tours wants you to witness it.
Frying Pan Dubai
Price and availability on request
So what if traditional Middle Eastern food is meat-heavy, completed with some of the world’s best produce? In Dubai, Frying Pan runs with the latter to offer a vegetarian version of its signature Middle Eastern food tour.
Frying Pan takes you away from the glitzy hotels Dubai has become famous for, instead putting you at the heart of Old Dubai. During the tour, you can feast on koshari, fatayer, stuffed falafels, foul medames and Egyptian crépes.
Desserts are, of course, part of the parcel. There are some classic sweet treats you get to try on this tour: kunafa, baklava, data paste bars, vegan-cream-dipped pistachio cookies and saffron ice cream. (You can turn the last one into a falooda too!)
Eat Like a Local Mexico
Runs Monday to Friday, $110 per person
Home to Mexico City’s creative and culinary enclave, the Bohemian-inspired Roma Norte neighbourhood has loads of green spaces, museums, uber-hip mezcalerias and eateries – something for everyone. It’s also home to Mexico City’s vegan food tour, Eat Like a Local, which is a four-hour experience for plant-based culinary enthusiasts.
You begin at La Condesa, the city’s main square, for coffee and concha (a traditional sweet bread), followed by vegan tacos on the streets. Then you head to the famous flower market, Mercado Jamaica, for more street food and fresh produce.
Next, you visit a 100-year-old pulqueria to learn how the alcoholic drink is made, and sample curados (pulque with fruits). The tour ends either with ice cream at Condesa, lasting over 15 tastings and three pulque flavours. You truly do eat like a local.
A Mad Food Tour, Hong Kong
September 7 & 14, 575 HKD ($73.5) per person
In this Asian vegetarian food tour, Simran Savlani, author of the cookbook A Spark of Madness, takes you to some of Hong Kong’s quaint and hidden spots. The walk has drinks, food and a lot of conversation about it.
The one-off tours will be in Hong Kong’s Sheung Wan and Sai Ying Pun neighbourhoods this September. Hong Kong’s street food scene is legendary, so going with somebody in the know makes your life a lot easier. The tour promises visits to the island’s famed dai pai dongs (food stalls) and cha chaan tengs (Hong Kong-style diners).
Expect dumplings, bánh mìs, egg tarts, cheung fun and loads and loads of noodles.
Eat Like a Local South Africa
Price and availability upon enquiry
Not the same company, but Cape Town’s very own food tour company offers a plant-based walking tour – a first for the city. The four-hour tour by Eat Like a Local operates on a private basis, making it all the more exclusive.
You start at Mustacchio Cafe on Kloof Street, the first of seven food establishments on the tour. Alongside the food at both iconic and hidden eateries, you’ll learn about Cape Town’s architecture and history too. There’s tea, coffee and kombucha, and tours with alcohol are also available, which will involve local beer and wine.
You’ll be able to have plant-based spins on local dishes like mushroom biltong (traditionally a dried cured meat), samoosas, koeksisters (fried plaited dough in syrup), vetkoeks and roosterkoeks (both types of bread). These are interspersed with some stunning global-inspired dishes, making it a truly complete experience.
Vegan Vacation Time, Florence
Runs Monday to Saturday, €90 per person
A three-hour walk in the Tuscan capital, surrounded by gastronomic wonders that have taken the world by storm? It’s hard to resist this plant-based food tour in Florence.
Vegan Vacation Time is a Tuscany-dedicated website for plant-based holidays, which organises food and wine tours, as well as cooking classes and dinners for vegans. The food tour starts near the Grom gelato store on Via delle Oche – upon meeting, you have a cappuccino and vegan pastries to begin your day.
Vegan versions (whether automatically or tailored) of local food all feature too – think breads, pizza, cheese, salami, vinegars and olive oil – leading you to a plant-based bistro. Come for the wine tasting, stay for more Italian food (Tuscan bean soup, anyone?), and go along for the vegan gelato to end your morning on a high.
And then, it’s lunchtime.