Veganism is still a rather new concept to much of the Turkish population. Not much is known about the number of vegans in Turkey, though we can say with certainty that it’s definitely a growing movement amongst the younger generation.
People on the streets or in restaurants may not speak a lot of English in Turkey, so explaining what you do not eat or how to organize a dish may prove tricky. Make sure to learn a few words in Turkish, especially so, if you are planning on leaving the major cities and traveling through the country. Take a look at our Vegan Vocabulary tab for more info and useful words in Turkish.
Don’t despair, you probably will get along just fine as there are so many vegan options on most menus. So you will never go hungry and love every minute of it. Between the many mezzas – the mini-courses of salads that come before or with a main dish- and the zeytinyağlılar (pronounced Zeintinyalular) – the vegetable side-dishes sprinkled with olive oil, no vegan ever went hungry or bored in Turkey. The variety is such that you will always find something delicious to please your palate in traditional Turkish restaurants.
If you go to supermarkets for vegan food, you will find some vegan products including vegan meat replacements, cheeses, and meats. Especially if you know where to search for them. Be sure to check out our vegan Snacks and Products tab to get more info about possible options. Health food stores will often carry what you are looking for, and will mostly offer foreign products at a high cost.
Make sure to not miss the small family-run restaurants. Many times you will notice the formica tables out on the sidewalk or a small cafeteria at the petrol station. This is where you may have your best vegan culinary experiences. The families usually pride themselves on their fresh homemade food. More often than not using vegetables organically grown in their backyard. Enjoy the cheap prices as much as the food and why not indulge in dessert-like Baklava or Turkish delights, that are commonly vegan, but best double-check no butter or gelatin has been used. To learn more about vegan restaurants in the country, as always we recommend using Happy Cow.
To get a better understanding of the local vegan and veganizable food options, be sure to check out our Local Food tab. You will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of extremely delicious foods available to the traveling vegan.
A great location for Vegans in Turkey is Didim in the Aydin province. Their municipality boasts to be one of the most vegan cities in the world. It encourages vegan Mondays and offers vegan menus in almost all restaurants. It organizes a vegan festival usually towards the end of April.
Still, have questions? Visit our Uruguay Forum tab to get all the answers.
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