November 1 is World Vegan Day, which is the perfect excuse to sample Ballarat's meat free scene, which restaurateurs say is growing in popularity.
From cafes to pizza and Asian food, Ballarat has a mouthwatering selection of vegetarian and vegan options which should please even the most devout carnivore.
Chat For Tea
Vegetarian restaurant Chat For Tea has been serving people from Ballarat with vegetarian food the past 20 years.
Co-owner Steve Lin told The Courier after slowly growing in popularity over the last two decades, vegetarian and vegan food had now become "quite a trendy thing".
"I would say people are more accepting and keen to try an alternative diet [now], where 20 years ago people were probably more conservative," he said.
Mr Lin said part of that is down to increased creativity and complexity in vegetarian food.
"Vegetarian and vegan foods are not just steamed veggies and beans," he said.
An example of the progression of plant based food is the restaurant's mock-duck dish, which Mr Lin said would be one of his top recommendation to customers.
He said imitation meat was a way for people to enjoy the texture and flavour of meat without having to compromise their diet.
Ballarat hospitality stalwart Forge Pizzeria is another business which is increasing it's offering of vegan friendly foods.
Owner Tim Matthews said they provide vegan cheese with their pizzas, which is part of a growing trend towards making food accessible for people with all manner of dietary requirements.
"There's definitely a demand for increased customisation of meals based on dietary preferences," he said.
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Mr Matthews said vegan customers love the option they provide as the alterative would normally be a cheeseless pizza, which even he admits is a "pretty tough" sell.
"When we provide it to people who are vegan they love it," he said.
The most popular dish among the Forge's vegetarian customers was the pumpkin pizza, which Mr Matthews said gets "pretty positive" reviews from the vegan community.
Visit Ballarat lists several other establishments as great locations for those looking to include more vegetables in their diet.
The list contains a diverse spread of establishments from cafes such as Drive, Eclectic Tastes Cafe and Pantry, and Webster's Market and Cafe, to Asian and Mexican restaurants including Saigon Allee and Pancho.
While the North Star Hotel is one of many pub's expanding on the traditional offerings of steak and chicken parmigiana to provide diners with a range of vegetarian and vegan options.
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