Spanish people are no strangers to eating meat. Walk down a street in the country and you’ll see animals hanging in the air in the markets, ready to be sliced and sold. Meat is known to be such a staple there that Lonely Planet’s World Food Guide to Spain, which was published in 2000, advised plant-based visitors to pack “a small stash of vitamins and a big sense of humor,” and said that many Spaniards “consider a dead pig to be a vegetable.”
Yikes! But don’t worry, fellow plant-based eaters who want to visit Spain – things are looking up there, and vegetarianism IS growing!
To understand how much it’s grown, consider that in 2011, Happy Cow vegetarian listed 353 vegetarian or vegan restaurants in the country. This year, the guide has listed 686, an increase of 94 percent. That number nearly doubled! By comparison, over the same period, the number of such restaurants in the UK has increased by 60 percent, from 842 to 1344, as reported by The Guardian. We’re so glad that people are becoming more conscious of their food choices and taking a walk on the veg side!
And then, there’s the trend that vegetables have become more prized at high-end restaurants. In 2011, Rodrigo de la Calle became the “new revelation” chef of the year at Madrid Fusion awards. He said, as reported by The Guardian, “If I could get away with it I wouldn’t cook with fish or meat at all.” So would we!
It’s safer to say that some Spanish people are becoming more v-curious than full-blown vegan or vegetarian. Still, the restaurant offerings have increased, a perfect sign of the changing vegetarian times! This is great news to hear about Spain, who is joining China in having more meatless food offerings.