Meat-free travel spots: Vegetarian hits and misses
Central Asia: Miss
This little-travelled region (consisting of Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan and Afghanistan) may represent the global nadir for herbivores. As a rule, dishes on the Asian steppes and mountains feature mutton or horse. You might happen on Kazakh manti (steamed dumplings filled with meat), Kyrgyz besh barmak (boiled horsemeat with noodles), lagman (noodles cooked in meat broth) or regional favourite plov (mutton, horsemeat or beef fried with rice and carrots – in fat). If you are vegan, forget it – chances are if it is not meat, it is dairy. Is it worth it? Explore ancient Silk Road cities, roam vast steppes, trace the Pamir Highway, and then make up your own mind.
Meat rules across South America, so picking the least vegetarian-friendly country is tricky. Argentina gets the nod partly because of its prodigious meat consumption – a whopping 70kg per person each year. In Buenos Aires and larger cities you can dodge the ubiquitous parrillas (grill houses) and unearth some excellent vegetarian restaurants. But if you want to fall off the wagon, this is the place for it. Pick up a sharp knife, douse your carne de vaca (beef) with chimichurri (olive oil with parsley and garlic) and dig in.
Eating flesh-free in Europe is easy… in theory. In practice, you will need to stay sharp; many chefs still seem to believe that chicken and ham sprout in vegetable patches. But it really pays to be alert in Germany. Yes, Berlin has a wide selection of excellent vegetarian options in a range of international cuisines, but all too often that pink dumpling in your soup is bacon. However, Teutonic food does not get the acclaim it deserves, and for carnivores it is a treat. Wurst isn’t just sausage – it is 1,500 sausages, an almost infinite variety.