Is it difficult to be a vegan in the Philippines? The short answer is yes, it can be tricky… but it is by no means impossible.
For one thing, Filipino’s truly love meat, with pork being a borderline obsession throughout the country. Then there are chickens being prepared for the pot wherever you look, and an incredible range of seafood.
For these reasons, perhaps, it’s rare to find a recipe or a menu main course that doesn’t include some sort of meat.
But let’s look at the positives…
Filipinos eat rice with every meal
Almost every meal in the Philippines (yes that includes breakfast) comes with rice. While rice is obviously not really a meal in itself, it at least means you should never have to go hungry.
Amazing fruit and vegetables
The Philippines are made up of thousands of tropical islands, so as you would expect there is enough fresh and delicious fruit available. The coconuts and mangos are particular highlights. But what might surprise some are the ‘cold climate’ type vegetables such as carrots and potatoes that grow in abundance in the mountains.
Chinese food that speaks your language
Thankfully there is little to no language barrier in the Philippines, so you can order a decent chop suey, or noodle dish without meat. However, do be prepared for your confused Filipino server to wonder why on earth you would have a meal without meat.
The supermarkets are great
Supermarkets in the Philippines such as SM have an abundance of fresh produce, as well as packed stuff that you would expect from back home. If you plan to cook then being a vegan in the Philippines is no issue at all.
Vegan restaurants in the Philippines
In tourist-friendly places such as Manila, El Nido or Boracay, you will certainly find vegan restaurants, although few and far between. If you are travelling to the provinces don’t expect to find very many, if any. For a helpful listing of vegan and vegetarian restaurants in the Philippines, check out the website Happy Cow.
So can you survive as a vegan in the Philippines?
Yes. Another great advantage of the country is that people like chefs and waiters are so eager to please. So, a polite request for a meatless meal should never be a problem. Add to this the fresh produce, shopping opportunities and the ubiquitous rice, you’ll be fine.
Now, please excuse me as I pop out for some delicious lechon…
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