Food is one of the most important parts of our lives. As a vegan or vegetarian, it can be hard to survive in certain countries. But is Australia easy enough to survive for vegan or vegetarian international students? Let’s check it out in this guide.
For those who don’t know, while both vegans and vegetarians avoid eating animal meat, vegans avoid eating any animal produced products like milk, cheese etc. as well.
Can I survive as vegan or vegetarian in Australia?
In short, the answer is definitely Yes, You Can!. It is certainly possible to survive as vegan or vegetarian in Australia. While most of the major cities have plenty of options for Vegans and vegetarians, you might feel short of options if you are in regional towns and cities.
Who would know better about how to survive as a vegan/vegetarian than our very our founder, Sam, who has been living here in Australia for more than 12 years and never felt an urge or being short of so many food options that Australia has on offer for vegans and vegetarians in Australia.
Things you must know about vegan and vegetarians in Australia
- Australians are considered to be one of the most meat-eaters in the world.
- Although, the latest research shows that many Australians are adopting a vegan and vegetarian lifestyle.
- Around 12.1% of Australians follow a vegan or vegetarian diet.
- Although lots of people, especially in cities understand the concept of being vegan and vegetarians, there are still plenty of Australians who don’t understand that.
- Don’t feel offended when you are going to Aussie BBQ/meeting/social setting if there is no vegan or vegetarian food available.
- Australia has lots of fresh produce of fruits and vegetables so there are plenty of choices there. Some fruits and vegetables especially the one imported from other countries can be expensive though
- There are plenty of grocery shops available from countries all over the world like Asian, Indian, European, etc, so you can still have a taste of your home country.
Tips for surviving as vegan and vegetarian in Australia
Before arriving in Australia
Even before arriving in Australia, make sure to contact your airline and pre-order your flight meals.
If you have already have made arrangements for the accommodation in Australia, then you should contact your host or accommodation provider and make an arrangement for the food meeting your dietary requirements.
Learn to cook
It is a good idea to learn how to cook your own meals as it is not only a cheaper option but you also know what is putting inside your food.
Cooking can be a fun thing to learn and once you master the skill, there is no stopping you. You can buy your plant-based groceries from local supermarkets, local markets, and specialty stores and learn how to cook using YouTube, reading cookbooks or family’s help.
Check the labels
Read the ingredients on the packaging. Any food served in Australia whether packed or not must have nutrition information and ingredients used.
Unlike other countries, there are no specific labels requirements for Vegan and Vegetarians friendly foods by the Australian government. Although many companies have started using those labels now.
Adjust your tastebuds
The flavor of the food might be different than your home country so you will need to adjust your tastebuds accordingly. If you have same taste expectations like your home, then you might get yourself disappointed,
If you are out and about
If you are going to be out for a long time during the day, then it is advisable to bring your own food from home and especially if you are going to be in the regional areas and outer city areas.
If you can’t carry around too much food, then we recommend you to at least keep some snacks in your bag.
Ask when eating out
If you are eating out, then confirm with the restaurant waiter/waitress about the food before ordering as some restaurants consider eggs and fish as part of a vegetarian diet.
If you can’t find any vegan or vegetarian dish on the menu, then you can ask the waiter/waitress if there is any chance they can alter or modify one of the menu items so it is a vegan or vegetarian.
Ask for help and connect with others
If you are still unsure and struggling to find the right food for you, then we suggest you ask around from your landlord, friends, teachers and support service officers from your education provider.
If you are new to the country or coming soon to Australia, then we also suggest you connect with like-minded people through Facebook groups (like vegans in Australia), Whatsapp groups and WeChat groups.
Where you can buy vegan and vegetarian groceries
There are many vegan and vegetarian-friendly groceries and supermarkets available in Australia. All the major supermarkets in Australia have products meeting the needs of vegans and vegetarians. You can easily find a substitute for any food item. Almond milk, tofu, vegan burger, vegan tacos, and even vegetarian sushi.
Vegan toiletries are also becoming popular by the day and you can find them in the leading supermarkets as well. Here is a list of popular supermarkets where you can buy your vegan and vegetarian products:
Apart from these supermarkets, there are specific vegan stores in most of the major cities in Australia. Most of them you can easily found out using a simple google search.
Websites and Apps for eating vegan or vegetarian food in Australia
This website compiles all the vegan and vegetarian restaurants from all over the world.
Veg out is an app powered by Happy Cow team and complies all the vegan, vegetarian and vegetarian-friendly restaurants but in an app.
Vegaman is another popular platform for vegans and vegetarians to find the restaurants meeting their dietary requirements,
Vegan Australia is an organisation that provides information regarding veganism in Australia. They also have lots of resources, articles and organise events throughout Australia.
Popular Vegan and vegetarian fast-food restaurants in Australia
Although, we suggest you check more restaurants and eating places for vegans and vegetarians in your city using one of the apps or websites mentioned above. Here, we are giving a list of popular food chains that you can find vegan or vegetarian food (pretty much) throughout Australia. Most of these restaurants can be found in all major metro and regional cities.
Please note that most of these restaurants have vegan or vegetarian options only and are serving food with meat as well. We can’t make comment on if they are cooking vegan or vegetarian food using the same equipment or not. So if you have a strictly religious or dietary requirement, we suggest you do your own research before eating at any of these restaurants.
Hungry Jacks offer Vegan breaky Muffin and Vegan Cheeburger along with their fries and hashbrown as well.
Grill’d offer not one, two but four vegan burger options on their menu. You can also request to customise any burger on the menu making it vegan and vegetarian. Fries are vegan as well.
Subway in Australia offers few options for vegans and vegetarians. You can their try Veggie Delite or Smashed Avocado. Their toasties are vegetarian as well.
Lord of the Fries
Everything on the menu of Lord of the Fries is 100% plant-based and vegan. So you are good to order anything from their menu and be assured that it is vegan.
You can try their vegetarian burger from the main menu or try their word famous Peri-Peri chips.
Schnitz are known for their innovative menu. You can customise most of their rolls or wraps by avoiding few ingredients and swapping with vegan cheese and vegan mayo.
Guzman y Gomez
Guzman y Gomez is one of the leading Tex-Mex Mexican food chains in Australia and they serve a variety of burritos, enchiladas, tacos, and nachos. You can easily get a vegan and vegetarian option while eating here.
Whether, you want to order burritos, chikitos, bowls, nachos, tacos or quesadilla, vegan and vegetarian-friendly options are available for all these items. Plus make sure to try their spiced cauliflower side.
You can enjoy burritos and nachos without having any meat inside them. They have also added a vegan cheese option for meeting the needs of vegans as well.
Salsa’s offer Mucho burrito and veg bowl for vegans and vegetarians. You can try their Mexican salad, corn chips, and nachos.
Domino’s not only offered 3 vegan pizzas but has many options for vegetarians as well. They even offer vegan garlic bread on their menu.
Pizza Hut in Australia offers 3 vegetarian pizzas which can also be customised to be vegan. If you want to completely customise the pizza, you can do so on their website as well.
If you are seeking vegan pizza options, then Crust is definitely the place to be. With 3 vegetarian and 2 vegan options, Crust has upper hand than most other pizza franchise. They also offer pasta and salads as well.
Pizza Capers also offer 4 pizzas which can cater to the needs of the vegan (2 of them) and vegetarians. They also offer vegan calzones as well.
Sumo salad provides a range of salads, soups, wraps, sandwiches and other healthy snacking options. You can also customise their salads as they allow you to build your own.
Soul origin is also famous for soups, sandwiches, soups, baguettes, paninis and other healthy food. Their menu has a decent range of options for vegetarians but they have fewer vegan options.
With so many options for vegetarians and vegans in Australia, it is certainly possible to survive as a vegan or vegetarian in Australia. So if you are a vegan or vegetarian and planning to study abroad, then we would definitely recommend you to choose Australia as a top destination to study.