7 Best “Non-Western” Cuisines to Eat as a Vegan (& thoughts on political correctness)

“Eating out as a vegan can be sooo hard.”

Q: How many times a day do I hear that?

A: Not as much as you’d think.

Granted, I don’t know many vegans personally, but I know myself, and I know that I eat pretty damn well. Also, I internet-stalk several other vegans who seem to have no problem finding vegan food porn on the daily and taking perfectly-lit pics to prove it (those lucky bastards).

With so many ex-pats moving to the States (and Australia, my current residence), finding veg-friendly cuisine is easier than ever.

I don’t know what everyone is complaining about with all this anti-immigration bullshit. We should welcome new cultures and their fine, fine delicacies!

Before their influence, most developed, Western countries were left to choke down sausages, meat pies, and apple pie with a heap of ice cream on top.

Now we can stuff our faces with the healthiest (and unhealthiest) vegan delights from all over the globe. We have the opportunity to open our palates to a world of new tastes and textures.

Now isn’t that exciting!

These are some of my favorite non-Western* cuisines to indulge in when dining outside the comfort of my bedroom (but actually just my bed).

Countries:

Japanese

macrobiotic

Clockwise- Macro meal (greens, tahini, tempeh, seaweed salad, brown rice), mango/cucumber sushi, miso soup

What else to try: veggie tempura, edamame, inari

Indian

curry

Clockwise- lentil dahl, eggplant and veggie curry with rice/papadum, lentil dahl and curried veg over rice, potatoes and peas over rice

What else to try: pakoras, samosas, papri chaat

Thai

vegetarian_vegetables

Clockwise- Collard wraps with tamarind, peanut, onion & fruit filling, coconut curry with rice, tofu stir-fry

What else to try: pad thai, rice wraps, grass jelly

Mexican

tacos

Clockwise- Black bean, avocado & veg tacos, plantain empanada, tamale/side salad

What else to try: guac (always), corn on the cob, gorditas

Regions:

Caribbean

plantains_beans

Fried rice, black beans, plantains, katuk salad

What else to try: mofongo

Mediterranean

falafel_hummus_dolmas

Falafel, hummus, pickles, salad, tahini, hot sauce and rice

What else to try: baba ganoush

*Now on a more serious note: Think for a second or two about what term you typically use to describe the aforementioned food.

Ethnic is probably one of the first to come to mind. The problem with this term is that it is “othering” the cultures in question, placing white, western culture at the forefront (i.e. making it the “norm”).

Yes, yes, white privilege is at it again.

While throwing around words like “ethnic” an “foreign” may seem harmless to you, it can be damaging to those who feel alienated because of these terms.

So what are we to say instead?

I’m not quite sure. As you saw, I said “non-Western” here and still felt like a slight douche bag.

Society’s increasing awareness of political correctness is an awesome step forward, but it is still lacking consistent standards for what’s “okay” and what’s not.

And who’s to determine that anyway? And how can we be sensitive without taking ourselves too seriously?

Too many questions and too few answers, atm. I am trying the best that I can, people! But I can always try harder, because of my privilege and whatnot.

I want to know: who else relates and what your thoughts are?

But in the meantime, I’ll shut up and let you go find your new favorite food destination.