Vegan food tour experience in India
The majority of people in India practice vegetarianism (which includes veganism). That’s why it is quite easy to find vegan dishes in India. One can come across a vast range of vegetarian dishes almost everywhere in India, right from big restaurants to small cafes, and from five-star hotels to roadside stalls. However, one can easily differentiate between vegetarian and non-vegetarian dishes as it is mandatory to label food products in India. You can spot a green dot on vegetarian food products while non-vegetarian products have a brown dot mark. In case of a doubt, you can always seek help from the chef, waiter or tour guide.
India is one of the major tourist destinations in the world. Tourists visit India for multiple reasons, out of which a significant one is culinary tourism. India hosts a variety of cuisines, hailing from different cultures, civilizations, and regions. Moreover, Indian cuisine represents the diversity of the country. India can delight all types of culinary tourists, irrespective of the type of food habits. It is also a suitable destination for vegan tourists as the country has the world’s highest population of vegetarians, which includes the subset of vegans. It signifies there is a wide variety of vegan dishes available in India.
Since veganism is not much famous among Indians, it is often confused with vegetarianism. Undoubtedly, the concept of both is quite similar. Moreover, vegetarianism or veganism is practiced out of regard for religion in India rather than concern for animals’ welfare. The major religions in India, namely Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism promote the philosophy of ahimsa, i.e. non-violence. That’s why it is important to bear in mind the following points to enjoy a vegan tour in India.
- Vegetarian dishes in India are prepared using a few dairy products, which are not consumed by a vegan. So, make sure to ask the ingredients of every product/dish before consuming it.
- In India, ghee (clarified butter) is used in the preparation of maximum dishes. Vegans can ask it to be substituted by vegetable/mustard/coconut oil.
- Dahi (yogurt) is also a by-product of milk. Hence, you must ask for different varieties of yogurt before consuming it.
- Vegans can get paneer replaced with tofu as paneer (non-melting farmer cheese) is prepared using milk and other products. Hence, it cannot be consumed by a vegan.
- Indian dishes are using several spices and condiments, which are plant products and therefore fit for consumption by a vegan.
- Breads such as bhature and naan are prepared using yogurt. That’s why vegans should go for chapati, puri, etc.
- Desserts are also made using dairy products in India. Therefore, vegans can go for items like chocolate, jaggery, coconut, etc.
Vegan Cuisines by region
Now that you have got to know the things that you need to remember during the vegan tour in India, you must have a look at a wide range of dishes of the Indian cuisine. Indian cuisine comprises of various dishes, which are native to the Indian Subcontinent. The dishes are prepared using herbs, spices, fruits, and vegetables, which are available locally. Cuisine varies as per differences in the local culture, climate, geographical location, etc.
1. North Indian Vegan Cuisine
North Indian cuisine includes a lot of fruits and vegetables along with spices. There is a wide array of vegan dishes that you can enjoy during the India tour. Some of the most popular ones include paranthas, samosa, aloo puri, pakora, daal chawal, chana masala, etc.
2. North-East Indian Vegan Cuisine
The cuisine of North East India is as beautiful as its nature and culture. Several spices and locally available herbs are used in preparing food in northeastern states of India. Few famous dishes are alu muri of Meghalaya, Kelli chana of Manipur, khar and pitha of Assam, Sanpiau of Mizoram, Zan of Arunachal Pradesh, Ombhl of Nagaland, etc.
3. Central Indian Vegan Cuisine
Central India offers some mouth-watering dishes. There are some dishes that you must not miss during a vegan tour to Central India. These delicacies include poha, palak puri, mawa bati, jalebi, etc.
4. East Indian Vegan Cuisine
East Indian Cuisine is characterized by local fruits, vegetables, rice, and a variety of spices. Mustard oil is prominently used for cooking in East India. Other vegetable oils are also used along with items like coconut, maize, and gram flour. Some of the popular dishes are Cheera Doi, Alu Pitika, Bengena Pitika, Goja, Litti Chokha, Luchi, etc.
5 West Indian Vegan Cuisine
The cuisine of West India represents diversity. The region includes states like Gujarat, Maharashtra, and Goa. Gujarat’s cuisine mainly comprises of vegetarian dishes. You can taste multiple dishes, prepared from gram flour, lentils, peanuts, spices, coconut, and vegetable oils. Some of the famous dishes are bhel puri, thepla, basundi, etc.
6 South Indian Vegan Cuisine
South Indian Cuisine includes the dishes of 5 southern states and 3 union territories. The rice is a staple food in the region. Moreover, the dishes are cooked using lentils, grains, spices, vegetables, coconut, and local fruits. The famous South Indian dishes are upma, pesarattu, bendakaya fry, sakinalu, masala dosa, appam, etc.
Though all of the above-mentioned dishes are vegetarian, they can be converted into vegan dishes as per the wants of vegan tourists. Moreover, it is important to note that the preparation of vegan dishes depends on the availability of vegan products.
Since veganism is not so prevalent in India, the thought of finding vegan restaurants in India might worry you. But you don’t need to fret as there are vegan restaurants in almost all major cities of the country. However, you can have vegan food by providing information about your preferences in advance. So, brace up and get ready for taking the most exciting trip of your life. Vegan tour in India will surely be an exciting journey for you and your dear ones. During the tour, you will also come across some unique and mouth-watering vegan dishes.