Being vegetarian is 99% positive, but there are also some major downfalls that come along with it. Not poor health benefits or anything as such; the one and only downfall I’ve personally experienced is, travelling. Some countries around the world just don’t know how to cook meat-less food!
Since becoming a ‘pesky vegetarian’, finding restaurants overseas is next level. I, and most of the vegetarians around the world are not prepared to eat meat because of the difficulty in finding a restaurant. I’m more inclined to eat a packet of crisps for breakfast, lunch and dinner than I am to cave in. Although that is certainly not ideal, there are some sacrifices you may have to make when on your overseas adventure.
There are some things I quickly discovered to be much more difficult as a vegetarian traveller, that I’m sure my fellow vegos will 100% relate to.
Your first option is never your last
If you’re in a new country with foreign food choices, you basically have to face the facts that your first restaurant option, more than likely won’t be your last.
It may take twice as long to find a restaurant with suitable food for your requests. The fancy restaurants with amazing reviews just may not cut it. I have spent a ridiculous amount of time in search of a place to eat with reasonable food, eventually to discover it’s just not possible and decided to eat a bowl of fried instead. It’s certainly not ideal, but as a vegetarian, I’ve realised you need an extra 30 minutes to ensure you find yourself a decent meal.
Going out without researching is risky
I’m a researcher no matter whether I’m in my home city or not. I love to find what places are the most popular in countries that I’m not familiar with. Especially since travelling in countries such as Iceland and Alaska that struggle to make anything other than seafood or burgers. Researching has become my lifeline.
You could spend hours finding food, or like I said before… You may have to fall back on a bowl of fries. So research until your heart’s content.
Snacks are your Best Friend
Every country has a supermarket. Depending on the country you’re in and how sparse vege food really is to find, snacks will save your life. Vegetarians are known for living off ‘rabbit food’, so we can easily survive from fruit, veg or other supermarket goods. I’m a snacker anyway, so this is the most useful way of keeping myself clear from becoming hangry.
Hotels with Kitchenettes are the best!
Air BnB, hostels and cabins really are the best for Vegetarians. Not only is this option a money saver, but it’s amazing to be able to stay in your room with a meal on your lap after a big day of exploring. After more than a couple of weeks of travelling, I’m ready for a home cooked meal and this is the closest thing I’ll get when on the other side of the planet.
You need to learn the local way to say ‘Vegetarian’
Especially if you’re in an Asian country, getting the message across that you don’t eat meat can be a little difficult. I can only imagine what it would be like if you had some serious dietary requirements, I feel for you.
To save yourself from confusion and awkward situations, Vegetarians need to learn how to tell the staff that we don’t want any animals on our plate.
Walking for an hour for food is the norm
In Canada, I walked an hour for poutine that was vegetarian-friendly… It’s just a regular occurrence for us.
You need to learn to be happy with a bowl of Vegetables or sloppy Pasta
My recent trip to Borneo, Canada, Alaska and Iceland really showed me that Australians are pretty good at cooking for meat-less eaters.
Borneo had nothing but plain rice with some greens and the occasional carrot.
Canada had nothing but burgers, poutine and fries.. with the occasional Italian restaurant.
Alaska and Iceland had nothing but meat and seafood.. literally.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ve stumbled across amazing vegetarian food just around the corner from our nights stay, but it’s a very unusual occurrence. I’ve learnt to be satisfied with a bowl of fries, and sloppy bean burger or a plate of vegetables (only just).
Vegetarian travel can certainly be tricky, but don’t be discouraged… It’s definitely do-able with a little – or a lot – more time and effort. Some countries just haven’t adapted to the vego way of life, but that’s okay!
When you think about it, it’s our fault… Not theirs!
What country has treated you with the best Vegetarian food? So far I’m going to say India!
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