A list of amazing restaurants to check out in some popular cities, and some foods to pick up from the grocery store!
Let's put aside the anxiety we all secretly have about eating food in an unknown place. It's rough out here for us vegan folks when it comes to thinking about exploring a new country. In the back of your mind, before you even set foot on a plane, you are probably wondering what types of food you'll stumble across that coincide with your diet and lifestyle. After scouring the internet for advice and information, you might find yourself having more questions then when you started. I'm here to tell you to book that flight to Australia. You can be confident that you will find plenty of foods to keep yourself satiated throughout your trek. Even the novice vegan will have an easy time navigating the streets of Australia in search of some quality grub.
Big chain grocery stores scattered throughout the country are well stocked with vegan meats and dairy-free alternatives. Along with this, there are a lot of products and snacks in the grocery stores that are vegan as well. If you look hard enough you will find breads, granola, chocolate and even crackers that you can pick up each time you visit.
Similar to most western countries, Australia has an abundance of fresh fruits and vegetables. With such a reliable supply, you'll never find yourself going without, as long as you keep a good stockpile. All of the big metropolis' will have plenty of restaurants that are able to cater to those of us who eat a 100% plant-based diet. However, Australia doesn't come without it's challenges. Be sure to have some spare granola bars and crackers on hand when you venture down some of the less travelled roads.
If you happen to be in the area while one is open, check out local markets for a healthy selection of freshly baked vegan desserts, sauces, breads and snacks. Be sure to pick up tons of fresh vegetables and support the local farmers, the produce sold at the markets tends to be cheaper than the produce sold at the grocery stores.
While in Australia we compiled a list of foods that are commonly served in restaurants, diners and cafes. As you will notice, there is food from every culture you can imagine, but some Australian specific foods have been listed in the categories below:
Anywhere you go you will be able to find plenty of juice bars. Grab a freshly pressed green juice along with a heaping Acai bowl to start the day off right. Don't forget to try the infamous Vegemite on a slice of toast. One of the best breakfast foods you'll come across is avocado on toast with Vegemite, it's creamy, crunchy and salty all at once.
If you are planning on preparing most of your own meals while travelling, you have plenty of options. Go to the grocery store, grab some tofu and vegetables and make yourself a nice scramble, or grab oats, trail mix and plant milk for something a little more cozy. Check out the hot cross buns at Coles if you want to have a nice treat. Anything that you typically have for breakfast, you will be able to find in Australia.
Snacks will include most of your typical snacks found elsewhere in the world. Kettle Cooked Chips, fruit, vegetables and hummus, crackers and an assortment of candies and baked goods are all typical snacks that you will find in grocery stores.
Australians love their coffee. If you want to live like a local, go cafe hopping during your trip. Find some cool spots to kickback and relax in and be confident knowing that most places will have soy or almond milk available for you.
One of the most common meals you will be able to find veganized across the country is the traditional veggie burger that we all know too well. Of course these will come with a heaping serving of fries (or chips). If you want to try something new, grab a very popular veggie burger with beetroot. It's surprisingly a delicious topping that is very commonly added onto burgers in Australia. Give it a try!
Other dishes you will discover are anything from fresh power bowls, falafel salads, pizza and indian inspired curries with rice. Don't be shy to ask the waiter if the chef can whip up a little something for you when you go to a restaurant, they are generally happy to assist.
If you're still not convinced that being vegan in Australia is an easy feat, we've compiled a list of our favourite restaurants in each city we visited. Check them out while you're in the area!
SydneyOne of the most famous tourist cities is Sydney. You can bet that they know how to cater to a crowd. With the vegan population rapidly growing worldwide, this backpacking hotspot has you covered with more options then you can remember. You won't have to wander too far before you stumble across a vegan restaurant. Some of our favourites are:
Bodhi Restaurant - You will get good vibes from this place the second you walk through the door. Find some boutique wines as well as a large variety of vegan dishes. The perfect place to stop for an evening dinner. Order a few entrees and share with a group family-style in order to really treat your tastebuds. Don't forget to leave room for dessert because their sticky date pudding is seriously on fleek.
Yulli's - Not just a cool name, but a cool environment too. If you're a craft beer fanatic then you need to make your way to this restaurant - and maybe take the taxi back to your hotel. The food is very creative and colourful which will make for the perfect Instagram photo. They offer a takeout menu as well, so take advantage.
Afous - This is the place to go if you want to have Moroccan or traditionally Spanish meals and tapas. Just fair warning, this is not a strictly vegan restaurant, but it does offer a variety of vegan meal options. If you're really trying to watch your budget, you may want to avoid this place because dishes can get quite pricey.
Yellow - This is an artsy little restaurant hidden away in the streets of Sydney. It's chic and upbeat with an inviting environment. Check out their wine menu as you munch on some fancy nachos. Make sure you check with your waiter before ordering because not everything on the menu is vegan friendly.
MelbourneWalking down the streets of Melbourne will make you want to drop everything and find an apartment to rent. Artists from all over the world come together in this city to create unimaginable music and galleries. The influx of young people to this upbeat city has brought along the popularity of vegan food. Spend some time on rooftop patios, and explore some of the old buildings in the city. You'll stumble upon vegan food around every corner, so make sure you bring your appetite. Some of our go to vegan-friendly places are:
Loving Hut - This cute little restaurant will have you wanting to order seconds. The staff is friendly, and the food is miraculous. This restaurant has done an amazing job at veganizing some of the most popular asian dishes. You'll find chow mein, curry and even wraps. The best part about Loving Hut is that they are a chain restaurant that can be found in more than one city across the country.
Smith and Daughters - The best tip you'll learn about this place is to make a reservation early! It's busy for a reason because Smith and Daughters is simply amazing. Come for brunch with your friends, or stay late and have some dinner. You won't be disappointed with your decision. Make sure that you ask your server for some help navigating the menu so that you get a dish that is vegan.
Lentil as Anything - You'll find breakfast, lunch and dinner options on the menu al Lentil as Anything. Creative food and family style meal time makes for a pretty good combo. Don't miss out on the Paratha and Dahl, a flavourful Indian dish made vegan!
Fina's Vegetarian Cafe - Soups, springrolls and crispy tofu will be found behind the doors of Fina's. More than just entrees, you'll be able to track down some delicious desserts and beverages too!
Gong de Lin - Vegetarian Chinese food! Most Chinese restaurants don't cook very many dishes with dairy products, so it's safe to say that you will find many vegan dishes to order. This food is your typical western style Chinese take-out, so expect to find tons of rice, noodle and stir-fry dishes.
Gold CoastThis popular city will have you sipping on the sweetest juices in the perfect, warm sun. This hard to miss city is full of eccentric people from all over the world. You will notice a lot of young people here, and the best parties. But besides all of that you'll also find some pretty delicious vegan hot spots. If you plan on popping in on the Gold Coast, make sure you check out:
Tian Ran Vegetarian Restaurant - Although it says vegetarian in the name, most of these dishes are actually vegan as well. If you are in the mood for some Chinese takeout, you have to stop by and try it out!
Mandala and Co - This brunch menu will make you want to drool! Grab your buddies and head here for some beautiful, and delicious delicacies. They have more on the menu than just brunch as well, they have an assortment of creative mains to choose from, as well as plenty of raw vegan options.
Cardamom Pod - If you want to try something new, head on over to Cardamom Pod! This is a healthy vegan restaurant that features tons of salads, pastas and snacks.
Bootleg Juice Bar - All the juice you can ever imagine, you'll find that here. All freshly squeezed and delicious as well.
BrisbaneBeing the capital of Queensland, Brisbane is also the most populated city in the state. When you stumble upon a city like this, you can be sure that you'll find some killer vegan restaurants that can't be missed. Take a walk downtown and check out the skyline, and do some food sampling at some of these popular places:
Loving Hut Brisbane - This cute little restaurant will have you wanting to order seconds. The staff is friendly, and the food is miraculous. This restaurant has done an amazing job at veganizing some of the most popular asian dishes. You'll find chow mein, curry and even wraps.
Vege Rama - From pizza to pastas and everything in between you will be impressed with the quality of food you will find here. Grab a ready meal on your way out so that you have your next meal covered. Don't worry about driving all over town to find Vege Rama either, it's so good that they have more than one location!
Sun and Earth Organics - Think of this store as a health food shop. It's packed full with items you can take with you to go, so don't expect to find any tables and chairs here. Grab a fresh loaf of bread or some plant-based meat and cheese.
The Green Edge - This family owned business thrives off educating people about living a greener life. We all know that a big part of living green is eating green too! The Green Edge is more of a speciality grocer store, catering to vegans. Stop by this shop for snacks and speciality items that you may want to have on hand. You will find chips, granola bars, and a huge assortment of plant-based milk in this store. Stop by and try something new!
As I've mentioned earlier in this post, don't be afraid to go outside your comfort zone and see the world! Australia is a very easy country to be vegan in, you just have to know where to look. Any vegan that has a basic knowledge about how to cook and prepare meals should have no issues exploring the world!
Looking for more Australia travel tips? Check out some of these posts that will prepare you for the trip of a lifetime!
Did we miss something? Is your favourite vegan recipe not on this list? Please let us know so that we can add it for other travellers to enjoy!