Asia is the most vegan-friendly continent on Earth with its sheer size, diversity, and cultural traditions all contributing to a wealth of vegan food found in incredibly alluring cities.
In fact, I made my transition to vegan in Asia, first going vegetarian in India to later 100% vegan in Thailand.
The beauty of Asia's vegan food is its often tied to the local cuisine meaning you can experience the local flavors while staying aligned with your values.
So if you're looking to discover the best cities in Asia this year, let's jump right in!
Top 10 Vegan-Friendly Cities in Asia
1. Tel Aviv, Israel
Recommended vegan restaurant: Anastasia Cafe
Tel Aviv has been high up on the vegan radar for many years now and the city still stands tall as one of the best cities for vegans, not only in Asia, but the world too.
The reason for Tel Aviv being so vegan-friendly comes from a high population of local Israelis who have truly embraced the movement. In Tel Aviv you'll find a wide range of all-vegan eateries from traditional Israeli street stands to International vegan restaurants.
Tel Aviv also hosts The Tel Aviv Vegan Festival, one of the world's largest vegan festivals that features the latest innovations in vegan food, and products while addressing sustainability, ethics and health.
2. Chiang Mai, Thailand
Recommended vegan restaurant: Pure Vegan Heaven
You can't talk about Asia's vegan scene without mentioning Thailand. And while most of Thailand is extremely vegan-friendly, Chiang Mai stands up as one of the absolute best for vegan eats.
Chiang Mai is known for its bustling night markets and delicious Thai street food scene and offers plenty of vegetarian and vegan options wherever you go. From vegan pad thai to meat-free curries, you'll be spoiled for choice in Thailand's most northern city.
3. Colombo, Sri Lanka
Recommended vegan restaurant: Any small local restaurant 'Hettiya'
Sri Lanka in general is one of the best destinations to indulge in local vegan food - and this is highlighted in the capital, Colombo.
Sri Lanka has a long history with vegetarian and vegan food, known for their South Asian flavors and spices that are served in iconic meals like dal, roti, Sri Lankan rice and curry - not to mention the wide array of vegan snacks available on the streets. Colombo also has a growing number of vegan restaurants and cafes serving international cuisine, as well as juice bars and vegan dessert shops.
4. Ubud, Bali
Recommended vegan restaurant: Sage
Like much of Bali, Ubud is a fantastic destination for vegans due to the huge yogi community that frequents the city.
There is a good mix of local vegan restaurants 'warungs' and international vegan restaurants in Ubud including Indian, Mexican, American and Middle-eastern. However, the prices vary considerably in Ubud between eating locally and internationally and can get expensive if you're not eating at warungs often.
Bali is known for its delicious tofu and tempeh dishes which you can find at almost every warung you visit.
5. Rishikesh, India
Recommended vegan restaurant: The Eat Story
Rishikesh, the Himalayan city in Northern India is known for its incredible scenic views, spiritual community and wellness culture - but it's also become a popular destination for vegans due to the wide array of veggie-friendly options in the city.
Like most of India, you can get classic vegan Indian dishes in Rishikesh, but the spiritual city is also home to many vegan-only cafes and restaurants, such as The Eat Story, Pure Soul, and The Sitting Elephant. With its focus on yoga, meditation, and natural living, Rishikesh offers a unique and authentic vegan experience.
6. Georgetown, Malaysia
Recommended vegan restaurant: Real Food
Malaysia is a true melting pot of culture, religion, and food. While vegan food is widespread, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, the island of Georgetown has a different vibe to the rest of the country, and one that appeals to conscious eaters.
The local hawker centers are known for their vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, including dishes like hokkien mee and char kway teow made with tofu and vegetables. Georgetown is also home to several vegetarian and vegan-only restaurants, such as Real Food, which serves organic and wholesome plant-based meals. With its fusion of traditional and modern cuisine, Georgetown is a must-visit destination for vegan foodies in Asia.
7. Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam
Recommended vegan restaurant: Saigon Vegan
Ho Chi Minh City, (Saigon), has a vegan scene like no other in Asia with mouthwatering flavors of Vietnamese influenced by French culture, the food here is truly otherworldly.
Many of the Vietnamese classics like Pho and Banh Mi are easily made vegan by locals with tofu or seitan on hand. As for the city itself, Ho Chi Minh is extremely modern compared to the capital, Hanoi, and offers many all-vegan restaurants throughout the city.
8. Taipei, Taiwan
Recommended vegan restaurant: Ooh Cha Cha
Taipei isn't on the typical backpacking trail, but the small island country is packed with things to do and delicious vegan food to eat.
When it comes to Taipei's vegan scene there is a mixture of old traditional dishes like "lu rou fan" (braised tofu with rice) and "gua bao" (steamed buns with vegetables) to modern vegan cafes and restaurants like Ooh Cha Cha, which is Taipei's first 100% plant-based cafe.
Recommended vegan restaurant: VeganBurg
If you're a vegan traveler in Asia, there's a good chance you'll be passing through the International hub of Singapore. The city is a melting pot of cultures, and this diversity is reflected in its cuisine, which offers a wide range of plant-based options.
Local markets, which are mostly open-air food courts, often feature vegetarian and vegan-friendly options, such as laksa and nasi lemak made with tofu and vegetables. In addition to this, there are many vegan-only restaurants like VeganBurg and Elemen, which serve a variety of tasty and creative dishes.
Singapore's commitment to sustainability also makes it an ideal destination for vegans who want to support eco-friendly practices.
10. Bangkok, Thailand
Recommended vegan restaurant: Vistro
Bangkok is a major world city, so it's unsurprising that there is also a thriving vegan scene in The Big Mango.
While vegan restaurants are spread out more than you'd find in a more compact city, Bangkok has enough vegan eateries to keep you exploring the city for a while.
Asia is a melting pot that provides some of the best vegan food experiences the world has to offer.
Whether you're traveling long-term or have a short stopover on the streets of Bangkok or the mountains of India, Asia has delicious, traditional vegan options to indulge in.
If you've been planning an Asian escape... now is the time!
*Note that while these Asian cities are vegan-friendly, it is advised to do your research before traveling to these destinations. Not all restaurants or cafes may offer vegan options, and some may have limited options. It is always best to check ahead of time to avoid disappointment.