I have travelled to the world’s most carnivorous cities and survived, even enjoyed being a vegetarian! Of course, quite often, I feel like it’s just me against the whole establishment. When I eat at a local restaurant in a strange city and ask,” Do you have anything which is vegetarian; they say, “Yes, we have a lovely plate of steamed vegetables”. But I have learnt to adapt and I can say if you are inventive, you can find interesting options around the world, as a vegetarian.
Some pointers for vegetarians:
1. Plenty of research: Do read up on what is the local food, what vegetarian options exist and write it down so that’s it easy to communicate when there. Make a list of vegetarian restaurants by visiting sites like happy cow.com.
2. A sense of humour: In most countries and cultures, meat is a kind of status symbol and you are perceived to be some kind of freak so it helps if you can see the funny side of things!
3. Know how to say ‘vegetarian’ in the local language. The International vegetarian Union lists a range of vegetarian phrases in various languages. Carry a pocket dictionary from English into the local language. Write down the word for ‘vegetarian’ and ‘no meat’ in the local lingo.
4. Hit the local grocery stores: there is always some form of bread and cheese.
5. Look out for the hidden meats: Beware of stews and soups which usually have some meat broth.
6. Look for local vegetarian specialities like a potato pie in Poland, or a vegetarian thali in India or a Middle Eastern mezze with lots of salads.
7. Carry some back up supplies like dried fruits, granola bars and nuts.
8. Think outside the box: if there is nothing on the menu, order sides like potato wedges, salads and a fruit salad and make a meal of it.
9. Go Italian: What is often available is good vegetarian pasta in a tomato or cream sauce or a vegetarian pizza.
10. Carry a bottle of hot sauce. Even the most uninspired meal can be set right by this
11. I subscribe to the ‘When in Rome’ theory generally. Every culture can give you at least one vegetarian dish. So ask for it!
12. Ask: Unless you ask local people for help you are not likely to get it. So use a phrase book and communicate.
13. Fast food chains like Burger King or Hungry Jacks or Subway usually have at least one vegetarian option Find out in advance if they exist in the city that you are visiting.
Browse the following web sites for some help:
Would love to know your tips and experiences of travelling as a vegetarian?