Living in Asia as a vegetarian 1

How to survive in south and far east asia as a vegan/vegetarian:

Japan:  Pretty tough. Fruits and veggies are crazy expensive, only affordable options are udon, katsu-udon but have to fish out some seafood from it, tempura, and foreign restaurants which cost at least twice as much as local ones. The only cheap supermarket is called “super tamade” where they sell lots of pre-cooked vegetarian options, and of course sushi, tempura, salads, at around 100 or 200 yen a tray. Hyaku-en, 100 yen shops are your best friends to find some salads, fruits, drinks, noodles and many other things. It’s pretty much same as a 7/11 but everything costs 100 yen. And as a last resource you can always throw away the inside thing of the onigiri and eat the rest.

Korea: Moderate. While eating out you have like 2 options, kimbab or bibimbab. While ordering kimbap make sure you say something like “ham bek chusaio” so they dont put ham on it. If you’re not vegan there’s always “Pizza school”, they are everywhere and you can get a huge pizza for 5.000 won. Street food is alright, there’s a fish-shaped pastry that has red beans inside and is pretty cheap, often you can find tempura and fried veggies. They have many chigae, which is like a stew or hot pot, sundobu chigae, or kimchi are good but you may have to take out some seafood from it.
Mr pizza could be the best value for money restaurant, they have salad buffet for 6.000 won, so all you can eat of salads, fruits, some cold noodles and other stuff.

China: Fairly easy. Fruits and veggies are dime a dozen and they are everywhere, options are plenty, rice and noodles with vegetables everywhere, beans, vegetable bbq at night. They use almost no dairy while cooking, so very easy for vegans.

Taiwan: Very easy. By far best vegetarian food in east Asia. Vegetarian restaurants everywhere, and most normal restaurants have at least a few vegetarian options. Great variety, affordable and extremely tasty. Even 7/11 are quite cheap and have fresh fruits and salads, noodles, vegetarian fried rice, vegetarian dumplings, fries, nuts, pastries, tofu and many other things.

Malaysia: Delicious Indian food, samosa, curries, roti, paratha, puri, chapati, many dosas, delicious Chinese vegetarian restaurants, delicious Malay food, some fried noodles, rice with veggies, lost of street food and fruits. From Penang, to Melaka, to Sabah, most dishes are delicious + juice bars + fruits everywhere.

Philippines: Probably worst food in SE Asia, there are some fruit markets and western food places, so it’s possible to kind of get by on a vegetarian diet.

Laos: Rice with veggies + fruits.

Singapore: Same as Malaysia, just more pricey.

Indonesia: Not as bad a Philippines, but local cuisine doesn’t have much to offer for vegetarians, there’s is gado gado and that’s pretty much it. You may find some Indian food in Bali if you’re lucky, but in Sumatra, Java or Borneo you’re going to eat your rice with veggies, every day + fruits 🙂


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