Past Monday I came back from my holiday. I traveled to Budapest with my partner and two friends (the coming weeks I’ll tell you more about the traveling itself). Today I want to talk about another sustainability aspect while on the road: vegan food. I personally find the Netherlands a walhalla for vegan food (but we can do much better) and I know where to look for vegan food. But in other countries this can be tricky. Luckily there’s an amazing website/app for finding vegan restaurants: HappyCow.
For me personally, veganism is not just a diet. Diets are temporary. Therefore, I don’t consider myself as someone who is on a diet. For me, veganism is an ideology and I consider myself an ethical vegan. Want to know why I am a vegan? Consider reading this, this or this post. But anyway, since veganism is an ideology, it’s not something I will let go off. Not on a holiday, not when people have difficulties with it, not when it gets difficult, not ever.
I have found my way in the Netherlands when it comes to veganism. I soon will celebrate my 5th vegan anniversary and so it’s become my baseline. However, I have to admit that it can be difficult when you’re abroad. I’m usually not familiar in foreign countries. And so, when I go on a holiday it gets a little tricky to find vegan restaurants. But as I said, I will not let go of my vegan lifestyle just because it gets tricky. I won’t let my personal values go. And also, if there are little vegan options in a city or country, I want those options to grow. For the next vegans that will visit. If I let go and say: ‘vegetarian is fine’ then we will never get much further.
Non-vegan vs. vegan restaurants
With that small battle in mind, it’s always a difficult decision whether to go to a non-vegan restaurant or a vegan restaurants. If I visit the non-vegan restaurants I send a signal, I remind them to put a vegan option on the menu. For me personally this is the most uncomfortable option, because not everybody understands what veganism is. Also, if you’re going with a group of non-vegans out for dinner, you will usually go to a non-vegan restaurants since veganism is not the norm (yet).
On the other hand, there are the vegan restaurants, 100% vegan. I find it extremely important to support those restaurants. First of all because it’s the best option for me personally. There’s no awkwardness of having to ask if they have any vegan option at all. I can order anything on the menu. And usually the food is magnificent. And secondly this also send a signal. When vegan restaurants do well, more will open. So both options, choosing to go to a non-vegan or vegan restaurant send an important signal. The latter is just easier for me personally.
So, if I could choose myself, I would always go for the vegan restaurants abroad as well. But how do you find vegan restaurants in a country you’re not familiar with? That’s not difficult if you have the right tool. You honestly only need just one: HappyCow. HappyCow is a website and app where you can just type in any city in the world (yes, all around the globe!) and it shows you which vegan restaurants there are in a city and where they are. I personally always use the website because I don’t like too many apps on my phone.
So here’s what I did the past month: I just typed in Budapest on the homepage of HappyCow and then selected a filter. HappyCow is also for vegetarians and so you can choose between 3 filters. HappyCow can show either 100% vegan restaurants, vegetarian restaurants and restaurants that offer vegan options. I always select the ‘vegan’ option and tadaa, a list of vegan restaurants appears with a map and their location in the city you’re visiting.
How to Use HappyCow
As I said, it’s really easy. Just type in your location, choose the vegan filter and the website/app will show you a list of vegan restaurants! There are more elaborate filters available as well. Some examples for what you can think of, there are filters when you’re looking for bakeries, vegan supermarkets, bed and breakfasts, juice bars, farmer’s markets, and the list goes on. But so far, I have only used HappyCow for finding vegan restaurants.
When the website/app shows you the list of restaurants, you can then click on a single restaurant. The next page will then inform you about the opening hours, the price range, the location, a redirection to the website, their contact information, reviews, and very important: pictures! I usually select the option which looks the most tasty, or which is a ‘Top Rated’ restaurant.
Contribute to HappyCow
There are also ways to contribute to HappyCow yourself. I would say the best way to contribute is to list new vegan restaurants if you know of any which are not on the website yet. You have to do this through a form and there are submission guidelines on this. If you do so, vegan options available around the world become known to many vegans! Another way to contribute is to write a review of vegan restaurants you visited. But beware, writing reviews and listing new restaurants can only be done if you have an account (which is free). You can also order vegan stickers for spreading the vegan word in your city via HappyCow. Want to find out about more ways to contribute? Check out the HappyCow website.
So, there you have it: a very useful tool to finding vegan restaurants: HappyCow! It’s honestly the only tool you need when finding vegan restaurants. I personally always use HappyCow when I’m abroad. Let’s turn this world vegan!
Did you know about this tool to finding vegan restaurants: HappyCow?