How to Find Vegetarian (or Gluten-Free, Vegan, Dairy-Free) Food Wherever You Travel

Photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash

This weekend, hubs and I were in Buffalo, New York for our cousin’s graduation. What did every travel site recommend we do/eat while we were there? Go eat Buffalo wings, of course. And not just any Buffalo wings, but the original buffalo wings. The only problem? I don’t eat meat, which meant missing out.

Luckily with a little bit of research, I was able to narrow down a few restaurants in Buffalo that make a veggie-friendly version of Buffalo wings. So before driving out on Sunday morning, we stopped at Amy’s Place. They not only had vegetarian wings but had the full menu available all day, so we were even able to get vegetarian Buffalo wings at 9 a.m. It was worth it. They were finger-licking good. (Thanks, Amy’s!)

The point is, whether you are vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free, or whatever, you shouldn’t have to miss out on fresh croissants in Paris, tacos in Mexico City, or other specialties wherever you go. There’s likely someone out there making a version you can eat. Here’s how to find it.

Photo by Gabrielle Cepella on Unsplash
  1. Check HappyCow
    I’ve used this fantastic site to find vegetarian sushi in Tokyo, veggie dumplings in Taipei, and vegetarian-friendly restaurants in the middle of nowhere. It’s an invaluable resource for vegans and vegetarians around the globe.
  2. Try searching on social networks
    If you’re going somewhere new, look up #vegetarianinphoenix or #glutenfreeMexicocity, or something similar on Twitter and Instagram. You’ll probably see some tempting options come up you didn’t even know you were looking for. Vegan donuts in Montreal? OK then.
  3. Ask on Chowhound
    I’ve sung the praises of Chowhound on this site before, but I’m bringing them up again because they are another great resource If you ever need a specialty restaurant recommendation or somewhere gluten-free-friendly to take your friend coming into town, check the boards here. Someone likely posted recommendations already. If not, post a new thread so someone local can help you out.
  4. Be flexible
    This is just a personal tip. Don’t be THAT guy. If you’re in a new restaurant or cafe where you don’t think they’ll be able to accommodate you, just have a tea or coffee and relax. You can always stop by a grocery store and stock up on essentials before you head back to the hotel or Airbnb.

How do you find new places to eat when you travel? 





How to Eat Like a Local

Photo by Puk Khantho on Unsplash

I’m going to let you in on a little secret… 

I used to spend hours and hours researching food and restaurant options before a trip. I’d check Yelp, Zagat, local blogs, social media and even old-school guidebooks. After all, if I’m going all the way to Tokyo, I don’t want to eat subpar sushi, or if I’m in Rome, the tourist trap pasta. No, thank you!

Then, I found Chowhound. It’s a food site and discussion board forum where you can ask questions and have a helpful (and extremely opinionated) group of foodies weigh in.

So where is the best gelato in Italy, anyway? 

Let’s say you’re on the hunt for the best macarons in Paris, or a romantic restaurant to celebrate an anniversary in New York City. Just check the Chowhound forums, and likely someone has already started a heated debate on the subject. You can also ask for recommendations by location, in case you want a lunch spot close to the Tate Modern in London or a place to picnic after a busy sightseeing day in Madrid.

I’ve inquired with Chowhound for everything from finding amazing croissants in Montreal, to vegetarian ramen broth in Japan, to a 20-person party room for my mom’s birthday in New Orleans.

I’ve never been steered wrong, and find it’s like talking to a friendly group of locals who know the lay of the land.

How do you find restaurants to try when you’re traveling?