A proud moment for Israel’s cruelty-free movement: Tel Aviv has been named the ‘world’s vegan capital’ by the Independent, one of the UK’s leading online newspapers. This just two years after the city was named the ‘world’s vegetarian food capital’ by Conde Nast Traveler.
Vegan capital of the world Photo Credit: Miriam Alster, Flash90/ Channel 2 News
In an article entitled “How Tel Aviv Became the Vegan Capital of the World,” Israel’s White City is celebrated for its vast guilt-free cuisine. According to The Independent, Tel Aviv’s eclectic vegan scene manages to cater to the trendy vegan lifestyle while embracing local tastes and produce.
Israel is home to about 300,000 vegans- not a small amount for a country whose population currently stands at 8.5 million- making it the highest per capita vegan population in the world. Vegetarian and vegan restaurants in Tel Aviv are booming, numbering at around 400, and new ones are popping up all the time.
As the article mentions, two of the Israeli culinary ‘staples’- hummus and falafel- are already vegan and readily available to hungry cruelty-free bellies all over the country. Israel is also famous for its wide variety of local salatim, or mezze-style salads, most of which are either vegan or vegetarian (mayonnaise or hard-boiled eggs being the usual offenders). But what makes the vegan restaurant scene in Tel Aviv so remarkable, says The Independent, is the creativity that the vegan chefs put into their plant-based dishes and menus.
Falafel Photo Credit: Rachael Cerrotti, Flash90/ Channel 2 News
Many of Tel Aviv’s non-vegan restaurants have begun offering vegan or vegetarian options on their menu, with some even going completely meat-free once a week to celebrate Meatless Mondays. Fast-food chains like Domino’s and Aroma now offer popular dishes sans-animal products like pizza with vegan cheese and chick-pea breakfast omelets.
According to the Independent, Israel’s Tourism Ministry was not wrong in promoting Israel as a ‘vegan nation.’ In fact, in 2015, Conde Nast Traveler named Tel Aviv the world’s vegetarian food capital and described it as a ‘herbivore smorgasbord.’ Israel might be a small country, but it certainly knows how to make the headlines.