Which Indian city has the most vegetarians?

Vegan in South India

Living vegetarian in India is not a problem at all. Much of the population of India does not eat meat. Vegetarianism is firmly anchored in the culture of India and taken for granted. Pure veg also means doing without eggs, only cow's milk is often used in any kind. This is exactly what makes India a paradise for vegetarians with countless places to eat, but a bit complicated for vegans. Ghee (clarified butter) is used in many sauces or for frying vegetables and the chai is usually already cooked in milk, so that chai cannot always be obtained without milk.

India is a very hospitable country and so they are happy to cater to the wishes of the guests. Ghee cannot be substituted for all dishes as many curries or masalas have already been pre-cooked in huge portions, but you can always find something vegan by asking.

Naan Almost always contains ghee and often also yoghurt and is therefore unfortunately not vegan. But there are so many other types of bread that are vegan, like Chapati, a wheat flatbread made from wholemeal flour, Papadam, a crispy flatbread made from chickpea flour and therefore often gluten free or Puri, balloon-like fried flatbreads made from wheat flour.

A real meal is the Masala Dosa, a kind of crepe made from lentils and rice and filled with potatoes, which is very popular in South India.

Tea and coffee are always served with milk, but if you cancel the milk you will be served a super sweet coffee or tea in a small metal cup.

Popular vegan dishes in South India

  • Plain, Rava or Onion Dosa
  • Masala Dosa
  • Idly
  • Dal
  • Masala and curry (ask if ghee is included)

Bread flatbreads

  • Chapati
  • Papadam
  • Roti (may contain ghee or milk depending on how it is made)
  • Puri

Snacks with tea / coffee

  • Vada (fried dough rings)
  • Onion tempura
  • Samosas (may contain ghee in the batter)

As in every Asian country, there are numerous fruit stalls and shops in India on every street corner where you can stock up on enough fresh fruit in case you really haven't found anything vegan. The best thing is to just stroll through the streets, enjoy the many colorful houses and dresses of the women and follow the next cow to the fruit stand :).

- JL

Image references

  • India vegan variety:, India vegan

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