Vegan food in Hanoi – featuring gelato, Pho and ‘chicken’

There’s no shortage of vegan food in Hanoi. In fact, in nearly two weeks there I only got round about 2/3rds of the restaurants, and that’s with my appetite, too! I even found a few more places that aren’t on Happy Cow. Despite the crazy scooter traffic, hassling street vendors, and smoggy pollution blocking the horizon, I fell in love with Hanoi. It’s vibrant, crazy, and full of life and – most importantly – food.

First off, get your lingo down. My wonderful friends at Vegan Food Quest have written a handy guide of how to say your dietary requirements in Vietnamese, as well as a guide of what’s what in case you’re confused by what you’re ordering.

Secondly, allow half an hour more than you think you need to get there for when the address has moved. I’ve tried my best to update the locations on Happy Cow, but the pin doesn’t always send you to the right location regardless. There are so many little alleys in Hanoi, and at the end of the day, it makes finding them more rewarding (I think afterwards, anyway. Hangry me doesn’t really agree.)


Vegan food in Hanoi

May Trang/White Cloud

White Cloud had just, literally just reopened in their new premises the night I visited. It was also their 6 year anniversary since they first opened. As a result their menu was limited, but the lovely owner gave us a load of food and refused to let us pay, because it was a special occasion. The food was delicious, light and full of flavour. I’d love to go back some time and try more from their menu.

Note: on Happy Cow it’s changed to saying closed since I went. I don’t know if this is because they’ve closed since I was there, or if it’s because someone went to the old address and reported it closed. If you go please let me know! Open lunch and dinner times, closed Sundays.

New address: No 299 Au Co street, Tay ho District, Ha Noi, Viet Nam.
Tel: 0912143647 Homephone: 0466517859

Vegan food in Hanoi

Hieu Sinh Vegetarian Restaurant

Hieu Sinh only opened in July 2015 and is a little further out than some of the other places. It’s well worth the visit though. Unlike most of the fully vegan restaurants in Hanoi, Hieu Sinh doesn’t do mock meats. Everything I tried was delicious, especially the spring rolls which are breaded and fried, and the vegan yoghurt which is sweet and creamy and doesn’t have the curious sour taste of some soy yoghurts in Asia. I tried to go back a second time early in the morning and they were closed, so the hours on Happy Cow aren’t correct and need checking. They’re open till late in the evening, though. If you’re vegan in Hanoi, don’t miss visiting Hieu Sinh.

Happy Cow

Vegan restaurant in Hanoi

Bo De Quan

I here went with a friend after a Muay Thai class, and we were both extremely hungry. We tried to order everything on the menu, and the woman looked at us (two 130lb, quite tall women) in horror. ‘Too much food!’ ‘We’re really hungry!’ we said. Perhaps luckily for us, they didn’t have half the dishes on the menu (a common theme in Asia) and we had to settle for the two soups, some spring rolls, and a Vietnamese pancake. The banana soup came with rave reviews, but although it was good we both agreed we preferred the other one which was a stew like concoction. The spring rolls and the pancake were both good, and all of it set us back hardly any money at all. Towards the end of the meal a rat wandered up to the counter and started helping itself to some fresh broccoli in a bowl. The woman came in, saw the rat and screamed a lot of Vietnamese at it, then looked at us and split her sides laughing. If you’re used to the food hygiene standards in Asia, then go here. Don’t worry, you’re not going to get ill. The food is good, cheap and hearty. But if you’re expecting a Western style place, maybe think twice.

Happy Cow

Vegan food in Hanoi

Truc Lam Trai

Truc Lam Trai isn’t quite vegan as they still use honey, but it’s definitely somewhere to check out. They have an extensive menu of mock meats that are tasty but not too real to freak me out, although the Ukrainian couchsurfer I went with didn’t realise it wasn’t really fish that he was eating until we told him it was vegetarian. It certainly looks real (unlike the chicken). Truc Lam Trai wasn’t the cheapest place, but neither was it expensive and it’s was tasty and lots of food. Worth a visit if you like mock meats.

Happy Cow.

Vegan restaurant in Hanoi

Com Chay Ha Thanh

Don’t follow the directions that Google maps will send you to for this one, it took us about half an hour of wandering to find it. Follow the alley and street address. 116 Ngo 166 Kim Ma – go to 116 Kim Ma, go down 116 Ngoc (the alley) then turn left at the first left, walk for about 20 second and it’s on your right. Don’t give up! It exists, and once you’ve found it once you can find it again. It’s really worth it. They have an English menu, although they don’t speak English, and they have a huge range of food that is excellent. This is one of my favourite local places that I ate at. The food was exceptional, especially the cauliflower – it was a little but different. Take the time to find this place, you won’t regret it.

Happy Cow.

Vegan restaurant in Hanoi

Zenith Yoga Cafe

Vegan, not vegetarian like Happy Cow says. The only place in Hanoi to get vegan cake, although they had sold out when I went there. I had the black bean burger and the cookie. The bean burger needed more flavour and a sauce of some sort – it was very dry – but other than that it was good. The cookie was very dry and more like a biscuit to dunk. Sadly I couldn’t finish it. The shakes were delicious. It’s the most expensive restaurant in this list, but I would go back to try some other options and take a Yoga class with them. The studio itself is beautiful and the staff are friendly.

Happy Cow.


Vegan ice cream in Hanoi, Vietnam

Gelato Italia

This is one of those really really exciting discoveries. Gelato Italia is an Italian run ice cream shop in Tay Ho, and it’s really, really good. Especially the dark chocolate. On one of the days I went, I discovered that I’d got there just in time for the all you can eat buffet for only 110,000D (about $5). I made myself a little ill that night. They have a list on the board of what’s suitable for vegans, and their list changes regularly I’ve heard. It’s hard to find good vegan ice cream options in Asia, so this was a very exciting find.

Trip Advisor


Vegan food in Hanoi

The Hanoi Social Club

This is one of those ‘chill here all day’ places. They offer a vegan breakfast of a coconut chia bowl, which is delicious, and they have vegan options clearly marked on the menu. They also have homemade soy milk, which curdled and developed a weird cakey consistency when it was turned into a latte. It wasn’t pleasant. The music is good, the staff are lovely, and they have a handmade jewellery store on the first floor that has beautiful and original handmade items. I couldn’t resist buying a couple of pieces. They also sell vegan chocolate. They just need to get their latte sorted! The prices here are more Western prices, but the portion sizes are good, as is the food.

Happy Cow.

Vegan food Hanoi

Joma Cafe

Joma Cafe are a chain that you can find all around the city, and of all the cafes I found they’re the best option for vegans. They have Arabica coffee (read about why Vietnamese coffee isn’t vegan here) and soy milk that makes a pretty tasty soy latte. They also have a few soup options (although make sure you ask for no cream) and a couple of Western style hummus/veggie options – a plate and a wrap. If you’re looking for somewhere to sit and work with a coffee and some food for a few hours, I definitely recommend Joma Cafe.


Vegan restaurant in Hanoi

Aubergine Cafe

Aubergine Cafe was the first place I ate when I arrived in Hanoi, and it was good – really really good. The options were a little different to the usual ones, and the decor is quite cute and endearing. The staff are very welcoming and lovely. For a busy backpacker area, the food was a very reasonable price and I meant to go back several more times during my stay in Hanoi, I just never made it. There’s a clearly labelled vegetarian menu, and f you’re in the area and looking for somewhere for lunch, definitely give Aubergine Cafe a try.

Happy Cow.

Vegan restaurant in Hanoi

Minh Thuy’s

Minh Thuy’s is another omni place with a clearly labelled vegan menu, although you have to ask to not have egg added to your food. It’s good Vietnamese food in a convenient area, and is a very decent price. There are lots of options for vegans, and you should definitely wander in for a bite to eat if you’re in the neighbourhood and hungry.

Happy Cow.

There are still quite a lot of places I didn’t get to on this trip. Have you found more places in Hanoi that are vegan friendly? Let me know in the comments below.

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Christmas gifts for nomads, backpackers and adventurers

Wondering what to get the person in your family who lives out of a backpack? Don’t want to weigh them down or give them something they can’t take with them? Chances are there are a lot of upgrades or useful things they’d like but can’t really justify buying when they have something similar that sort of works, or little gadgets that are shiny and exciting, but the two paperclips and shoe and a coconut they put together to do something similar works okay for now.


These are the gifts for your friend or family member you worry about sometimes, because last you heard they were climbing a mountain, sleeping rough on a beach, or doing a motorbike end-to-end country trip.

Camping Hammock 

I want one of these so much, because they’re lighter than a tent and great for travelling with through hot countries. Find a handy beach and just string it right up, whether you’re sleeping there or just relaxing. It’s light, waterproof, and has hardcore straps (which you need to buy, they don’t come with the hammock). This one, the Eagles Nest Outfitters Hammock, packs down to the size of a grapefruit and is about mid-range price wise, you know it’s not going to fall apart beneath you in the night, but neither will it break the bank.

Samsung 1 TB M3 Portable HX-M101TCB/G – Disco duro externo (HDD, USB 3.0, 8 MB cache, 2,5″, RTL externo)

Buy the straps here: Eagles Nest Outfitters Atlas Polyester Hammock Hanging Straps (FFP)


This is one for the ladies. I really wished I had one of these the other day when I was on a night train in Vietnam and my thighs were burning from hovering over the toilet seat that looked like a hotbed of who knows what. Maybe too much information, but the Shewee takes the stress out of long bus journeys, hitchhiking trips, and anywhere where you really don’t want to be touching the seat. The name is also nicely comical – maybe a gift for that female friend who keeps finding herself caught short? You can buy either the extreme version which comes with a little packaway pot, or just the basic version which is the ‘funnel’.

A laundry kit

At the moment I’m travelling with too many clothes for this to be necessary, but I’m downsizing to just hand luggage next year and can see a lot of hand washing on my horizon. Here’s the essential hand washing kit for hardcore travellers, as compiled by yours truly after wandering round and asking a lot of people for recommendations. These are all items I’ve heard of being used a lot by travellers, so they come with recommendations. A little note – if the person does a lot of travel in South East Asia, this won’t be as helpful because laundry here is cheap and easy to get done everywhere.

Item one: a hand washing (portable washing machine) bag. As a bonus A portion of the proceeds from Scrubba sales go towards providing clean drinking water in areas of the world with those in need.

Item two: a pegless clothesline (too many times I’ve had to cover a dorm bed with my underwear in the hope it dries) –Sea to Summit Lite Line Clothesline

Item three: a laundry detergent. This one does everything: hand soap, face, hair, dishes, clothes, etc. And it’s biodegradable so you won’t be polluting any streams when washing your breakfast dishes. Sierra Dawn Campsuds All Purpose Cleaner, 2-Ounce

Extreme traveller First Aid Kit

For someone who’s getting bumps and scrapes a lot, sometimes a simple plaster doesn’t quite cut it. Liquid skin sprays an antiseptic liquid bandage over the would and is very useful for small cuts and scrapes that travellers mysteriously pick up everywhere. Compeed are also something that I try to keep in my kit, as I find that the non-brand name blister plasters just don’t have the sticking power, but they’re a little expensive. To top off the set, for an extreme traveller it can be worth having a stop bleeding quick kit, for when they’re far from civilisation and hospitals.

Buy liquid skin here: New-Skin Liquid Bandage, First Aid Liquid Antiseptic, 1-Ounce Bottles (Pack of 4)

Compeed here: Compeed Blister Relief Pack Plasters – Medium – White

And stop bleeding quick kit here: AllaQuix Stop Bleeding Quick Kit – First-Aid Trauma Kit with AllaQuix Professional-Grade Hemostatic Gauze (Blood Clotting Bandage)


These are the gifts for the travel who packs ultra light but still has a lot of technology our gear to haul around. They’re also for the traveller who likes to stay stylish, because let’s face it – the majority of us who live full time on the road sometimes like to have nice things.

Packing Cubes

I’m travelling with compression sacks right now, but I’ve seen this in action and I want to trade. These are so perfect for someone travelling out just hand luggage, and they’ll vastly increase the amount you can travel with and keep your stuff organised. If I don’t find these under the tree, I’ll go out and get them myself I want them that much.

Cable organiser

I’m losing count of the number of cables and headphones I’ve destroyed by having them jammed down the bottom of my back and them getting crushed, or occasionally sitting my overheating laptop on them and melting them a little (oops!). This would save me all that bother and make me feel really organised.

USB charging port

Not the most romantic of gifts, perhaps, but very practical if like me you have a lot of devices to charge and are constantly running out of places to plug them in.

Gorilla Pod 

Again something I’ve been meaning to get for a while, the Gorilla Pod is a tiny tripod that will attach anywhere and is very light to carry. This one is dslr suitable, too, although probably don’t strap on your massive Canon with a zoom lens.



This is the list mainly for women because, let’s face it, I am one and at the end of the day this is what I’d want. This is list is designed for travellers who stay fit, do Yoga, and try to stay feeling nice while on the road.

Versa: Convertible Dress, Skirt, Shirt, Tunic, Halter Top. Magic Versatile Infinity Dress.

I’ve seen various bloggers and things online talking about convertible travel clothing: a scarf that has pockets, a scarf that’s a dress and a top and a skirt, but the thing is that I haven’t seen any I like or would wear. Much as I love the idea of having one item in my backpack that can be 30 different items of clothing, I also want to wear the majority of those 30 items. So I went onto Etsy and found one, and I really like it and would definitely wear it myself/appreciate it as a Christmas gift. It works for Yoga, the beach, or a nice dinner, and it’s more boho than boring which fits my style. Best of all, it’s supporting an independent seller and it’s made from Organic cotton, which fits into my ethics of not buying clothing from a store.

Follow this link to be taken straight to it: Etsy UK

stylish clothes for female travellers

Lightweight travel Yoga mat

I like travelling with a Yoga mat: between teaching, self-practice, and sleeping rough it gets a lot of use. And there is no way it will fit in my backpack next year when I downsize. After a little internet hunting and asking around, I’ve found two alternatives that I’m eager to try out. The first is a lightweight Yoga mat, and after reading reviews the consensus seems to go with the Manduka mat – although the Gaiam Banyan and Bo Foldable Yoga Mat seems like a close contender, it’s lighter, thinner and cheaper. Yoga Nomads has done various in depth reviews that you can find here.

This is the Manduka:

And this is the Gaiam Banyan:

The second alternative can also buy Yoga Paws, which take out the mat from the equation. I don’t personally know anyone who’s used them, but I’d be curious to try them or hear from people who have.

Solid perfume

I used to have quite a lot of perfume, and sometimes I miss it but it’s just too impractical to travel with. Solid perfumes, which are about the size of a tin of lip balm, are the perfect size for travel. Etsy has a really good selection of handmade natural vegan ones that are very reasonably priced, so you can order a few to save on postage. This Etsy UK link will take you straight to the ones below.



More my ‘if I win the lottery’ list than things I expect to be receiving for Christmas, here’s the latest in travel suitable gadgets that I’d love to have in my bag.

Kindle Paperwhite

My Kindle is about to celebrate its 4th birthday, and it’s still going strong – it’s now my oldest piece of technology except for my iPod classic that I no longer use much. I would love, however, to have a Paperwhite that’s a little better organised, a little nicer to look at, lighter in weight and can be read with the lights off.

Fuji TX10

I’m pretty sure I’ll be upgrading to this at the end of the year, unless I find any research towards the contrary between now and then. It’s (along with the slightly advanced version the TX1 which you can find here: Fujifilm X-T1 16 MP Mirrorless Digital Camera with 3.0-Inch LCD and XF 18-55mm F2.8-4.0 Lens one of the best cameras for travellers who like their photography, as it’s very light and versatile without (debatably) a compromise on image quality from an SLR.



Got any more ideas? Let me know in the comments below.

If you buy anything from the links you click on I’ll get a small percentage at no extra cost to you, whatever it is you buy. This is massively helpful to me and will help pay for my next latte as I compile more hopefully helpful and amusing posts for you to read. I only ever recommend products I use or at some point want to buy. Thanks so much!

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The ultimate guide to vegan restaurants in Taipei, Taiwan

I wrote a Taipei vegan restaurant guide a while ago, but then I visited a few more places that became firm favourites and didn’t add them to my guide. So here it is, in no particular order: the ultimate, not to be missed guide for vegans and vegetarians in Taipei, Taiwan.

Vegan food Taipei


I love this place, and I’ve just started on my third loyalty card (yes, they do loyalty cards! Although only after I’d already spent a fortune there). Run by Spencer and Mai, who are hopefully expanding at some stage (not sure if this is fact or my wishful thinking) it’s quite a small and often noisy and crowded cafe.

They do healthy green smoothie/juice mixes, sandwiches, macrobiotic bowls, and raw vegan cheesecakes that are utterly amazing. They also do some pretty tasty hot drinks that often get forgotten about.

My regular order: Balsamic Mushroom or Garlic Hummus sandwich; GoGo Goji drink; Mocha Fudge Pie.

Directions: walk out of Guting MRT exit 2, take the first right, and you’ll be there 10 seconds later. If you go around lunch (12-2) or dinner (5-7) expect to wait. They get busy! They’ll take your number and call when there’s a seat available.

Happy CowFacebook; Phone – 02 2367 7133; Website

Vegan Restaurant Taipei


This one’s a little more out of the way than the others, but it’s close to iVegan so you can pick up some groceries afterwards. It’s also the last to close, as they serve food till 10 most nights. About Animals is one of my top burger places in Taipei. Actually, their wasabi burger is so good, I’ve never ordered anything else when I’ve been there… it will satisfy vegans and omnis alike, just make sure you order a side with it if you’re a big eater. The last 4 times I went in though… they didn’t have it. So maybe call ahead. They serve burgers, hotpots, rice dishes, and various deserts. They also have beer in the fridge, and animal rights/lgbt rights/everything rights postcards and labels on the walls. They have good music and a good atmosphere to chill out with friends and enjoy a burger.

My regular order: the wasabi burger; fried yams; banana chocolate pie.

Directions: walk out of Wanlong MRT exit 2, and walk past the 7/11 and out onto the street. Turn right, then left, then right at a decorated white stone at about knee height and you’ll be backtracking along a little lane. It’s on your right. They’re open later than most places, so they’re good if you get hungry after 8.

Happy Cow; Phone – +886-983683024

Vegetarian restaurant Taipei


This is the only vegetarian place to feature on this list, but it’s also the only place that does a good vegan brunch and nut milk lattes. If and when Naked food does a nut milk option then their latte will take the vegan latte in Taipei prize, until then it’s held by Herban. They also add syrups, which also not many places have as an option. The menu is currently about 50% vegan and is expanding all the time.

They’re a little pricey (around 300nt for a main, plus 10% service charge) but the decor is amazing and they have outdoor seating. They now have a vegan dessert and a vegan burger, too, that’s excellent.

My regular order: the tofu scramble and a cashew vanilla latte for brunch, the raw pad thai for dinner. They provide unlimited rosemary and lime water on the tables that’s delicious, so I don’t ever buy a drink apart from the latte.

Directions: walk out of Zhongxiao Dunhua exit 8 and walk straight on till you reach the crossing, then cross to the other side of the street. Walk straight on and take the first right at the family mart, then it’s right again almost straight after. It’s very easy to miss so look for a small sign on the wall and then walk down the tiny alley and you’ll see it on your right at the end.

It’s very popular, so if you’re there for dinner try and book a table a few days in advance or be prepared to wait, especially on the weekend.

Happy CowFacebook; Phone – +886287737033

Vegan food Taipei


I’ve had a love affair with vege creek since I moved to Taipei. It’s cheaper and more convenient than the other places on this list (although still pricey for what it is). You walk in, take a basket, and select vegetables, mock meats and leafy greens from where they’re around the walls, suspended in bowls. Then you select a noodle card, hand them your basket, and they boil it up for you in about 5 minutes in a medicinal broth. You can add spice and condiments to your own taste.

The best thing about Vege Creek is that it’s so fresh. You see everything that goes in and 5 minutes later you have a hot meal. A filling bowl will cost you between 190 and 230nt, depending on how hungry you are.

Directions: there are 2 branches, one by S.Y.S Memorial Hall, and one in the 24 hour Zhongxiao Dunhua Eslite on B1. To get to the S.Y.S one, leave exit one and walk on, then follow the street as it curves round. Take the fourth right and it’s on your left. To get to Eslite, walk out of Zhongxiao Dunhua exit 5 and walk straight on. Cross the large crossing and you’ll see it on the other side.

Happy CowFacebook; Phone – +886227781967

Vegan restaurant Taipei


Mianto is my favorite lazy Saturday/Sunday place if I want to go somewhere and work for a few hours. They have plenty of space so I don’t feel like I’m taking up valuable customer room, they’re really friendly, and their food is good and filling. They do pasta, curries and cupcakes/cakes. The pasta servings are more generous than the curries, so if you’re hungry go for that. They also have a pizza. Prices are around 250nt.

See my complete review here.

My regular order: the mushroom and tomato pasta, a cupcake and a Miantochino. If I’m feeling cheeky I ask for some of the vegan ham to be added to my pasta. Mmm…

Directions: Walk out of Dongmen MRT, Exit 7. Walk straight and turn left on Xinsheng Rd. Continue till you reach the YuanTa bank. That is lane 146, turn left. Continue 50m and see Mianto on the right

Happy CowFacebook; Phone – +886223219749

Vegan bread and cake Taipei


I love Fresh, and I go there a lot. You should definitely visit if you’re in Taipei. The only reason they didn’t make the top 5 is that they’re a bakery, not a sit down and eat place, although you can have a seat and they’ll make you feel welcome. I recommend the banana chocolate cake and the bacon and cheese bread. They’re also very reasonably priced.

Directions: Walk out of Kunyang exit 4 and cross the large street, then go left and you’ll see it to your right about a minute later.

Happy Cow.


Raw vegan food Taipei


This is Taipei’s first raw food vegan place, but their prices are high and their portions are small. You’re going for the experience, more than the food. My omni friend asked me the other day if I’d been there, just to complain to me about the size of the portions for the price! Probably  not somewhere I’d take a non-vegan if I was looking to introduce them to vegan food. Find my full review here. Warning – the wine may or may not be vegan, the owner was unable to find out.


Vegan cafe Taipei

[email protected] VEGAN CAFE

One of my favourite vegan restaurants in Taipei, BioPeace is worth the trip. Take the MRT to Xindian at the end of the green line, walk down the street and get a bus for about half an hour. It’s a bit of a trek, but it’s worth it. Jesse from Vegan Taiwan has written a more complete day out guide with a detailed description of how to get there. I went there with him the time I took the bus, so I’d probably trust him over me. The cafe itself is an oasis nestled in the mountains, quite high up. The staff are lovely, and the food is excellent. I particularly recommend the pizza, the quiche and the cake. It’s 100% vegan and the owners are constantly working on improving the menu. After lunch at the cafe, you can take another bus to the hot springs for a relaxing soak, or you can go on a hike. Don’t miss the chance to make this into a day out away from the big smog that is Taipei.

Happy Cow; Facebook

Vegan restaurant Taipei


Soul R. Vegan was right next to my apartment in Taipei, but sadly – or luckily for my waistline – I had a bad first experience here that led to me not going back for months. When I did go back, I realised what an amazing place I’d been missing. Our Taipei vegan group of friends had birthdays here, leaving parties, nice dinners, lunches… the food and drinks are amazing and the staff are friendly and full of love. I can’t recommend this place enough, just be aware that the food can be a little slow arriving. The burgers are on the afternoon tea menu (2-5) and so are Soul R. Vegan’s best kept secret. They’re fantastic, as are the waffles. Go there and give them some love – just book in advance, as it’s a small place.

Happy Cow; Facebook


These ones aren’t my favourites, but they’re worth checking out if you’re in the area and hungry.


Miss Green is by Xinyi, and does burgers and raw desserts among other things. The interior design is worth a trip for, but the portions are too small for the price and you’ll leave hungry. Both omnivores I’ve been there with commented that they could do it better and one went away and ate fried chicken afterwards because he was still hungry – not a good recommendation at all! The desserts are okay but lack flavour, same as the burgers.

Happy Cow.



The S.Y.S Memorial Hall Loving Hut has been unanimously voted the best in Taipei – it has hotpots, cakes, and bibimbaps amongst other things. The food is good but not exceptional, and the decor is like every other Loving Hut I’ve been to here – slightly clinical, with a strong overtone of Grand Supreme Master. It’s a place to take other vegans, unless you reassure the omnivore you’re taking there that you’re not trying to induct them into a cult.

Happy Cow.



Cheap and easy, Delicious Addiction serves traditonal Taiwanese food like noodles and soups. Their daily meal set will cost you 70ntd and leave you full up and satisfied. Their noodle soups are like Veggie Creek, but half the price. Two of my friends here swear it’s their favorite place in Taipei, but it’s not somewhere I personally would take someone for a meal. The decor is basic and it’s a quick meal place, not a fine dining experience. It’s also a little out of the way, as it’s near Dingxi MRT.

Happy Cow.

If you want to know to find more restaurants, check out my posts on how to be vegan in Taiwan, and being vegan in Taiwan. I also talk about the best cake in Taipei, and where you can find a good vegan latte.

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15 stories behind the ink – tattoos from awesome travellers

Have you ever noticed that a lot of travellers have tattoos? I was standing on a train recently in Bangkok with a lot of other travel bloggers, and it being a hot country we were all showing a lot of skin – and a lot of tattoos. It occurred to me that travellers make up a very high percentage of the tattooed population. And so, I asked some fellow travel bloggers to share the stories behind the things we’ve got inked while travelling in far off lands. Incidentally, we’re all vegan travellers and you can read about why some tattoos aren’t vegan here. For my last tattoo (the bird) it was totally spontaneous so I connected to their wifi and did a quick Google of the ink they use. Luckily, it was vegan. He pretty much freehanded it so the transfer paper wasn’t an issue. And I carry a little pot of Lush ultra balm (Lush Ultrabalm Body Balm 1.5oz Tin which is lip balm, chapped hands balm, and excellent spontaneous vegan tattoo aftercare. It lasts forever, too (I used it for both of mine and still have 1/3rd left – enough for my next one?). On with the stories.

Amélie – Mostly Amélie

Durian fruit tattoo

I wasn’t going to get a travel tattoo because I think they can sometimes be a little tacky, but I have developed such an obsession with durian fruit while in Thailand that I decided to go ahead and get one tattooed on my leg. The meaning goes beyond the simple fact that I am passionate about the stinky fruit: I would say it’s a bit of a metaphor for the quest for new and exotic things I am on when exploring new countries. And the crown and “hail to the king” writing is a bit of a cheeky double sense wink to what is called the “king of fruits” and the country where I got the tattoo, Thailand and its beloved king.

Amélie is a hungry fun-loving vegan Canadian graphic designer and travel writer who’s ditched the 9 to 5 lifestyle in favor of something that lets her roam the world at her own will and follow her ever itchy feet. She is currently cycling between Istanbul and Berlin. Follow her adventures on her blog Mostly Amélie. You can also catch her on Facebook.

Randi – Veggie Visa and Just a Pack

Watercolour travel tattoo

Watercolour travel tattoo

I remember admiring Michael’s tattoo while sitting across a table from him the first time we met. It was the first one I had seen in this style and it was magnificent. The colors, the meaning, even the fact that he got it in Nicaragua made me envious.

Nearly a year later, I found myself in the same small surf town with Michael where he got his sunset backpacker tattoo. I was constantly surrounded by people with fresh ink from the same artist, Guy Mark.

I knew I wanted one of Guy’s incredible watercolor tattoos but couldn’t decide on the subject. For days I wrestled with different ideas but in the end was drawn to the splatter marks that appeared as an accent on so many of his tattoos.

About an hour before my appointment I decided I would ask Guy to design an abstract piece for me that loosely represented my intense connection to, and love for, water.

Randi is the co-founder of the travel website Just a Pack and Veggie Visa. She is a vegan, loves to cook, and is happiest when lying on a beach in a foreign country.

Facebook: Just a Pack & Veggie Visa

Twitter: Just a Pack & Veggie Visa

herbivore clothing co elephant tattoo

Tattoo Charlies in Louisville, KY

In the fall of 2011 I set out on what turned into a pretty epic adventure. I had quit my job earlier that year, got rid of almost everything I owned, and moved into a renovated Chevy van. My Dad helped build a bed in the back of it and everything! The goal was to try and eat at every vegan restaurant in the United States.

About six months into the journey I landed in Louisville, Kentucky. I’d discovered a lovely coffee shop offering a variety of vegan treats, called Highland Coffee, on Bardstown Road.

Looking around the coffee shop I realized I was about 10 tattoos short of “fitting in.” Almost everyone around me was covered and I had but one wee vegan “V” on my left wrist at the time. So, I sent out a tweet about how I needed some more ink, in order to fit in. Seconds later I received a reply from @TattooCharlies. It read, “@wtfveganfood We can help! 39 years of quality in Louisville, cruelty free inks too! No animal ingredients or testing.” I loved this for many reasons but mostly that a business took the initiative not only to keep an eye out for potential client opportunities, but to start the conversation on a note that made it clear that they “get me.” Amazing!

After a few more tweets we moved our chat to email. I learned that the shop owner had recently become vegan, as did his family, and before I knew it he’d invited me in to get a tattoo.

I hadn’t exactly planned ahead for this so when I walked in on the day of my appointment I peered down at my shirt, looked up at the artist and said, “Could you put this on my arm?” I was wearing a grey fitted tee from the Herbivore Clothing Company. It had a picture of an adorable, bubbly elephant on it that read, “I’m vegan and I love you.”
About 30 minutes later I had my first forearm tattoo as well as a horseshoe on my right wrist.
Van travel tattoos
Scapegoat in Portland, Oregon

My dear friend George (@linchipin on Instagram) is a fellow vegan foodie traveler. We first met a couple of years ago when he’d arranged a vegan lunch for some local San Fran vegans, when I’d arrived in the area during my road trip. After the meal a few of us walked across and back, over the Golden Gate Bridge, then went out for some donuts. It was an awesome day! George and I stayed in touch thereafter and would occasionally chat online about boys and food (of course).

We had a few opportunities to hangout over the years, one of which was only about a month ago when George met me in Portland, Oregon. I was there on book tour and he came out for the food and to finally get our matching tattoos! We’d been talking about getting matching “Gerty” tattoos ever since George finished reading my memoir, Will Travel for Vegan Food. He said he’d felt inspired by the journey and wanted to get a tattoo of my road trip van (ie, Gerty – short for Gertrude).

So, we planned ahead for my arrival in Portland and each booked appointments with our favorite artists at Scapegoat Tattoo; a vegan owned and operated shop on Stark St. in Portland, Oregon.

I started the day with some folks from the Farm Animal Rights Movement (FARM), protesting a local dairy company, then met up with George to grab some food from Homegrown Smoker, Back to Eden, and Sweetpea Bakery, before heading to Scapegoat. I got my piece done by Aron Dubois (a black outline of the van, hand drawn rendering by artist Jacki Graziano)​ and George’s was done by John Wilson (his was based on Jacki’s art as well, and then John added in some color and accent imagery).

Even though Gerty is no longer with me she will now forever be “with” me, carrying me through life’s adventures, as she’d once done during my “Will Travel for Vegan Food” cross country road trip. D’aww.

'Limitless' tattoo in Sanskrit

No Coast Tattoo in Fargo, ND

Just before I left for my road trip my mom gifted me a t-shirt that, hidden on the *inside* bottom seam, contained the mantra, “I am limitless.” This phrase stuck with me and has very much become how my family, friends, and adventures have made me feel; as I nomad around, living out my wildest and most passion-driven dreams.

Post road trip I landed in Chicago for a few months before heading to Fargo to visit North Dakota and check it off my bucket as I only had 2 states in the country left to visit, at the time. As I was prepping to leave Chicago I had a sudden urge to finally get this piece of art that I’d been thinking about for a few years (since I got that shirt from my Mom). Since I ran out of time to plan ahead, I made an agreement with myself while on the flight out to Fargo: ‘If there happens to be a tattoo shop located across the street from whatever place turns out to be my favorite coffeehouse, only then would I commit to getting the tattoo.’

After the third or fourth day in a row at Atomic Coffee, on Broadway, I happened to notice a tattoo parlor…you guessed it, immediately across the street from the coffeehouse. THE BEST PART—I walk up to order a soy mocha latte and the woman behind the counter says, “You know, you look a lot like this vegan chick I follow on Instagram. She travels around for vegan food.” We have a good laugh, I find out she’s vegan, AND she ( @ramblinfever_ ) just so happens to be a tattoo apprentice at the shop located… yep, just across the street.

And so it goes (in Sanskrit): “Limitless.”

Kristin Lajeunesse is the author of Will Travel for Vegan Food: A Young Woman’s Solo Van-Dwelling Mission to Break Free, Find Food, and Make Love. In 2011, Kristin quit her job and moved into a renovated van in an effort to eat at and write about every vegan restaurant in the United States. Find out what she’s eating now on Facebook.

Cristina Luisa – Chronicles of a Travel Addict

Argentinian tattoo

Buenos Aires, Argentina

The first tattoo I got while traveling was in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Eight months beforehand, I’d bought a one-way ticket to EZE and swore I’d never return to the U.S. But after living in Argentina and backpacking through five other countries, my pockets were empty and I decided to return. Finding myself drastically changed from my time in South America, I wanted something permanent to always remind me of all that I had discovered. And so, two nights before my northward flight, my Ecuadorian friend and I decided we’d get tattoos together. I had been pondering this ink for months, and I still was at a loss as to how to put all of my experiences into one little tattoo. I thought of the Incan and indigenous cultures in South America and their belief in the power of four- a perfectly balanced number representative of the sacred animals, elements, and cardinal points. Overestimating my rusty artistic abilities (I had drawn my first tattoo, after all!), I drew a square- a symbol of strength and solidity. I then drew another square within, which would be colored purple to represent the third eye chakra. This would help me to see clearly and maintain my passion for travel when I returned to the United States. Coincidentally, my friend stuck with the geometric theme and got a small dot. I’ve debated on removing this tattoo, as it’s not the hottest piece of ink, but I can’t bear to erase the reminder of my beginnings as a traveler.

Kuching Iban tribal tattoo

Headhunter Studio – Kuching, Borneo

Tap, tap, tap. Tap, tap, tap. I lay on a bamboo mat in Kuching, with one man stretching the skin on my back and the other nailing ink along my spine. I had just landed in Borneo – a land I never dreamed I’d actually visit- a few hours prior and here I was, already getting inked. After serendipitously discovering Headhunter Tattoo Studio, I met Ernesto Kalum, a world-renowned artist, and jumped at the chance to get a traditional Iban tribal tattoo. Ernesto designed an intricate owl for me, representing protection, wisdom, freedom, and solitary power. The nail-tipped bamboo repeatedly submerged the ink into my skin for over three hours. There was no comparing the pain this traditional method set upon me with that of a mechanized needle. I reminded myself to breathe. Three quarters of the way through, I couldn’t take it anymore and needed pause. The owl was headless, and I seriously contemplated leaving it like that. But I’m not one to surrender. 45 painful minutes later, skin freshly swollen, the results were breathtaking. I’d endured this unexpected rite of passage, and my Iban owl will forever remind me of the tenacity and bravery I possess.

Dia de los Muertos Gato tattoo

Martian Arts Tattoo Studio – Portland, Oregon


In 2013, I went through a major life change, propelling me to finally to take a road trip from the Bay Area, California, up to the Pacific Northwest, hitting up Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Vancouver, BC, Canada. I’d been to Seattle once before, but Portland and Vancouver were completely new territory. For some mysterious, cosmic reason, I knew I’d eventually move to Portland before ever stepping on its green city streets. Once I arrived, I was equally drawn into Martian Arts Tattoo Studio’s colorful Victorian lair, seating myself and preparing for two new tattoos done by Joanne. This incredibly talented woman, and her husband Jerry- also a brilliant tattoo artist- would eventually become my good friends as I settled into Southeast Portland. Flash forward to Halloween 2014, and I once again felt the rush of the needle buzzing into my skin. I lay on my stomach in a meditative state as Joanne etched a Day of the Dead cat calavera into my calf. This was partly an homage to my Mexican roots, but more so a dedication to my cat Cuddles, who grew with me through the awkward preteen years until my carefree post-college years. She was my soul mate, my best friend, and is still very much alive in my dreams. And now, her memory has manifested into gorgeous artwork that will be close to me, no matter where I go.

Cristina Luisa is a travel writer, photographer, and freelancer with a passion for animal rights and all things Latin America. Follow her journey on Chronicles of a Travel Addict.

Amelia – Plant-Powered Nomad

Japanese Mandala tattoo

Shi Ryu Doh – Tokyo, Japan
I had known I wanted a tattoo on my back for a long time, and being a traveller it seemed logical to get one while I was in a different country. When I moved to Taiwan I did a Google search for ‘tattoo artists in Japan’, and that led me to Shi Ryu Doh. The moment I saw his work I knew I needed to something by him, as he specialised in mandalas. Mandalas are something I’ve always loved: the geometry, the symmetry, how grounding they are. Traditionally they also represent journey through life, and so it seemed appropriate that I got them at the start of the biggest journey I’ve been on so far. A year after first finding the artist I flew to Tokyo, Japan, having quit my job and decided to travel full time, and spent two days being tattooed by the artist, Ron. His studio was tiny and full of beautiful Balinese (mainly) artwork, collected on his travels.

Thailand watercolour bird tattoo

Forever Tattoo – Chiang Mai, Thailand

I’ve wanted a watercolour bird for years, more so since I worked in the Amazon doing bird research and working with them. I admired a friend’s tattoos in Chiang Mai, Thailand, and asked if she’d got any here. She told me three of them were from a studio right by our guesthouse, and so I decided to wander in and have a look. “I want a bird, coming out of lots of colour, and it needs to be a bird that isn’t recognisable as one type of bird,” I told the man behind the desk. “You’ll have to show me what you mean,” he told me, looking confused. I pulled up my favourite watercolour artist, and scrolled down the images until I found a bird. “Like that, but with a longer tail, and more colours,” I said. The artist did it in his style, filling the colour in totally freehand, and this is what I came out with two hours later. It couldn’t be more perfect: it has colour, movement, and symbolises freedom.

After 5 years of flirting with travel I became fully nomadic when I quit my job in Taiwan in July 2015. Now I travel the world doing Yoga and eating delicious vegan food. Follow the links on the right to find all my social media doodads.

Giselle and Cody – Mindful Wanderlust


Animal rights tattoo

Jodi – Chiang Mai, Thailand
During our time at Save Elephant Foundation in Chiang Mai, Thailand, we met a solitary little dog named Nit Noi, who would roam the park as a lone wolf, and really didn’t like people touching her. She wore a red ribbon around her neck for this reason, to alert people not to come too close as she would growl or possibly bite.
While working at the dog clinic, Nit Noi came in as a patient and was diagnosed with a contagious canine venereal cancer. She had to stay in the clinic for quite a few months; and during that time, Giselle, and I cared for her, bringing Nit Noi in and out of the clinic, comforting her, and spending time with her.
Nit Noi grew to trust us. Months later her cancer was cured, and she was able to roam freely again around the park. The one thing that changed was her willingness to interact with us. She would always approach us, and I would give her belly rubs, while people would gasp and tell me to be careful as she was one of the dogs with a red ribbon. I spent a lot of evenings just giving Nit Noi love, and she would follow us around the park when we would go on elephant walks with our friend Jodi. I became very connected to Nit Noi, and decided to get a tattoo of her by Jodi.
And there was no better person to give me this tattoo, as Jodi would carry Nit Noi around as a little puppy around the park. Nit Noi is now passed, so this tattoo is especially meaningful.
Meat is murder tattoo
Jodi – Chiang Mai, Thailand
This little tattoo is self explanatory. What makes it special, is that Jodi’s 8 year old son Raki drew it up, and Jodi tattooed it on me.

Nepalese rose tattoo

French Artist – Kathmandu, Nepal
The traditional rose on my hand is an especially significant tattoo to me although I had never desired to get my hand tattooed until that day. 

Cody and I were in Kathmandu, Nepal having some lunch when two men approached us and asked if we were there for the Nepal tattoo convention.

We told them that we were not, but that we would check it out, and so we did.
I had absolutely no intentions of getting tattooed at the convention but something came over me after seeing so much beautiful work that day that I decided to get my hand done by a French artist. I knew that getting my hand done might deter someone from hiring me in the future, but it was at that moment that I had decided that I would live my life exactly as I wanted to-freely, and with no regrets, and I have been doing that ever since. The rose on my hand represents freedom, and living my life for myself, free from the expectations of others.
Thailand cat paw tattoo
Good Times Tattoo, Jason – Saskatoon, Canada
During our many times in Thailand, Cody and I lived and worked at PAWS in Bangkok for 2 months, and fell in love with a little one eyed street cat named Owl who was rescued by PAWS. We had no choice but to adopt her and take her back home with us to Ontario where she had a wonderful life at my mom’s place with a green backyard where she played and rolled around in the warm sun. We spent a lot of time with Owl, and got to learn that she was a sweeter cat than we had even known in Bangkok.
Cody and I moved to Saskatoon for 5 months this past July and said goodbye to Owl for a while. Sadly, two months into our living here, my mom contacted me to tell me that Owl was very ill.
I flew home immediately to be with her, to give her fluids, and make her comfortable until the day we had to say goodbye. It was extremely painful to see her go, as she was such an affectionate cat who was so full of life.
As soon as I flew back to Saskatoon, our good friend Jason tattooed this memorial of Owl’s little paw reaching down from a cloud on my leg.
I love this piece, as every time i see it, it reminds me of our lovely Owl.
Spider tattoo Thailand
Lady Luck – Koh Lanta, Thailand
I think by now you’ll have noticed that I adore nature, and all of the creatures that help it to thrive.

While volunteering at Lanta Animal Welfare on Koh Lanta, Thailand, Cody and I found a very talented artist named Bezt, at a great professional shop on the island named Lady Luck. I literally just chose this beautiful spider out of Bezt’s book of art, and let him choose the colours for the design. There is no deep meaning to it. I just love the bold traditional design, and nature, and all of the creepy crawlies.

Giselle and Cody started traveling full-time in 2012, and through Mindful Wanderlust the couple shares slow travel stories, great cruelty free food, cultural experiences, animal rights, education, musings on life, and colorful travel videos. Keep up with them on Facebook.

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