Post # 1
I am a vegetarian and in Ohio right now. I’m having quite a difficult time finding meals, there isn’t much of a selection here beyond salad. We’re eating Italian tonight and the restaurant didn’t even have pasta without meat sauce (really??).
Anyway, for our honeymoon, R and I would really like to go somewhere overseas, either Japan or somewhere in Europe. I’m a little concerned the same thing might happen whereever we go, where we can’t find good vegetarian meals, and then the issue is magnified because of a language barrier.
Have any vegetarians been overseas and had issues or am I just being paranoid?
Post # 3
No you aren’t being paranoid. Being a vege myself it’s tough going overseas and being able to maintain my diet. In fact one of the reasons why I’m pescetarian now is b/c of an overseas trip! LOL I spent a lot of time in Hong Kong and China and found it impossible to be vegetarian so I ate fish out of neccessity. Most of the time they look at you really funny if you say you’re vegetarian, it’s ilke being a freak of nature?
The same attitudes can apply to Japan as well. Funny thing is that you’d think they were more vege friendly b/c they’re reknown for their healthy diets. Not to say there aren’t any options out there for us but Japanese people consume a lot of fish and beef, there aren’t really any specifically vege dishes. Thailand would be a safe bet if you cared about maintaining your diet.
As for Europe, the England is a good place as well. Even my vegan friend loves the food there. I haven’t been to France or Italy but I can tell you that Germany would not work out for you. 😛
Post # 4
yes, if you go to europe you have to be VERY clear. no broth, no fish no animals. lol. i had french people say oh here is fish, it is vegetarian lol. i live in the pacific northwest so i am spoiled. we have raw vegan catering here and most restaurants have a vegetarian menu. if you eat dairy then france is a great place to go and eat, they make lots of delicous food with no meat.
Post # 5
I’m always a bit jealous when people rave about the food they have on vacation. I’ve always been able to find vegetarian choices in Europe, but I have had to adjust my restaurant choices and eat very plain food at very high prices (cheese pizza, plain noodles, etc.). I generally prefer renting a condo when I go on vacation so that I can cook some of my own meals 🙂
Post # 6
@jamieawh you should go on a vacation to Portland Oregon. lol best big city in the world for vegetarian eaters, although eugene isn’t bad either! 🙂
Post # 7
When I travel I generally have a ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy with broths which helps broaden my options. I’ve been veggie for years, but definitely try to be flexible when overseas. Just don’t be afraid to ask for what you really want, a lot of places are accomodating when you ask nicely. Also, carry snacks with you so you always have something to eat. I’ll pack instant oatmeal packets too that I can make in my room so atleast I have something to eat no matter what!
Post # 8
I’m a vegetarian living abroad (Korea), and while it is not difficult, I can’t be super strict. For example, almost all broths are made with some kind of fish or bones/meat boiled in, and many things (fish, ham, sausage) aren’t always popularly considered ‘meat’ – partly because of language and just partly because people’s aren’t used to the concept. If I was as strict as I was in Canada, I would either starve or never eat out which would be big social problem for me here. Therefore, my rule is that if I do my best to avoid meat but if I can’t (ie. ‘vegetable’ noodles which come with a piece of beef or there is fish sauce in something), I eat the meal but give the piece of meat to a person who eats it. I will not however eat something with tuna, ground beef etc. because I can’t remove the pieces of meat.
I have been to Japan – once with a guidebook with Japanese translation and once with a Japanese speaker. The first time was…interesting….my veggie friend and ordered soup without chicken and pad thai without shrimp at a fusiony Japanese/Thai restaurant. Well – the pad thai came without shrimp but the soup came with an enormous drumstick stuck in the middle…not sure how that happened! The second time was much better, but I still couldn’t avoid the fish flakes and I really had to rely on my friend to find veggie-friendly restaurants. But..it’s Asia and if I want to live and travel here, I have to just deal with those differences as best as I can.
My advice is a) be prepared to compromise a little – especially on the broth and/or picking something out despite the best efforts or….if that’s not something you are comfortable with, b) research research research before you go as to the food you can order and the restaurants that have something for you to eat at. Also, if you know someone who speaks the language, ask them to make up some cards for you with key phrases on them. I had a student make up a pack of cards for me when I was in China and the cards were really really helpful!
Post # 9
I’m concerned about this too. I don’t think we’ll be able to go overseas for our honeymoon, but we’d like to at some point. I have a hard enough time traveling to – how do I say this – more Midwestern states, like Iowa, Wisconsin, etc where they think it’s okay to only have cheese sticks as a vegetarian option. It’s really hard to get the proper nutrients in a place like that.
It’s actually one of the reasons I’m scared to move down to central Illinois if that’s where we get into graduate school! But overseas, where we don’t speak the language? That’d be so hard. I’d definitely recommend doing hardcore research beforehand.
I don’t know about you, but I’m not okay with mess-ups. I’ll admit that when I was a new vegetarian, I didn’t get that soups are usually made with chicken broth, that caesar dressing is not vegetarian, etc, and I did eat those. I try not to beat myself up over honest mistakes, but it’s hard to deal with, and at this point my body gets physically sick if I accidentally eat meat just because it’s been 9 years since I’ve regularly eaten meat.
Post # 10
first of all: vegetarians unite, rock on! 🙂
i’m a vegetarian and have traveled in the last few years to argentina, brazil, china, and hong kong. the south american countries were challenging in that they’re HUGE meat-eating countries: brazilian steakhouses everywhere! but i wouldn’t say i ever had trouble finding something to eat, and i was certainly never starving.
sure, in china i may have eaten more rice and cooked veggies than i would have liked, but i was never “starving”. i found plenty of pizza and sandwich places to eat at. and i took nutrition bars with me to have on hand, just in case.
i think the thing that you have to decide is what is most important to you in your overseas travels. if you are a foodie and cuisine is of utmost importance, you may not be as satisfied overseas.
for me, international travel is way more about the people i’ll meet and things i will see, so i never minded the tradeoff of not having my favorite veggie meals close at hand.
have fun on your honeymoon, regardless of the place you choose!
Post # 11
Resident Japan expert here. You have to be careful about food here. Even unassuming tofu may be prepared with fish stock. In general, they are really bad about understanding vegetarianism here. They’ll tell you it’s vegetarian but will be prepared with or next to things that are definitely non-vegetarian. I’m not one myself but my I’ve heard horror stories. http://markcity.blogspot.com/veg.htm That link might help you!
Post # 12
I used to be veggie but started eating meat again after moving to Europe. I have several veggie friends that I cook for and go out with on a regular basis. Also, some of FI’s family is veggie.
While the NL isn’t the most veggie friendly place in the world, there are veggie options (not great options, but veggie none the less) due to the high indian population. If you were to stick in Amsterdam you wouldn’t have a problem with the language barrier since a lot of wait staff are international students.
Germany and France would be a problem, however, there are vacation parks where you can rent a cottage. The kitchen has all the stuff necessary for cooking so you can easily go to a store and get veggie friendly stuff to cook meal. The great thing about this is it also saves money!!
Post # 13
We are headed to Argentina and it is going to be a problem, I am sure! But, FI loves steak more than almost anything in the world, so I guess I will have to be creative in what I find to consume. At least I know a little Spanish. I just hate it when I order something in another country and it is a surprise. (Even though we spoke Spanish- I said fish, the waiter said fish, and it seems like pork on my plate….) I have had this happen! It can be very scary. I just try to stick to something I am sure of- but even then it can come as a surprise- esp. if the waiter does not speak English…
Post # 14
Our honeymoon in Fiji had vegetarian and often vegan options at every meal.
Post # 15
I think that people who travel and stay at all-inclusives should be ay-okay, since they’re tailored to the (often vegetarian) habits of Americans, Brits, etc. But for those of us who travel abroad and prefer not to stay at all-inclusives, it can be a little more difficult. I usually am just fine though, because those non-resort places tend to come with kitchens, and even the least veg-friendly place has SOMETHING, like rice and beans, potatoes, fruit, and some lettuce (which is what I lived off of for weeks in the Dominican Republic and Haiti–least veg-friendly places ever, but boy did I lose weight). I usually bring copious amounts of Tofurky jerky (my jerky of choice) whenever I travel, abroad or not, and then scrape by on sides at restaurants plus whatever produce I can locate. I don’t starve, not even close, though it does sometimes get a little monotonous! I like to take local recipes and sub veg ingredients whenever I’m traveling and have access to a kitchen, too, makes me feel not-so-left-out.
Post # 16
Wow, I’m really surprised by the negative experiences and trepidation everyone is sharing. I’m a foodie, avid traveler, and strict vegetarian and have been for nearly a decade without encountering any significant obstacles. In fact, I’d even say that a huge part of the thrill of travel, for me, is in tasting the delicious and exciting cuisines of new places and cultures. I’ve had good experiences with learning the phrase in whatever the appropriate language would be for “food without meat;” or, in Sicily/mainland Italy, “pasta without meat” (“pasta senza carne.”) In Italy my friends were sometimes jealous of the special dishes the chefs would cook for me when I used that phrase! I had a great time eating my heart out in St. Maarten, a foodie paradise (there’s a reason why they call it the Culinary Capital of the Caribbean.) Kenya was great too; even though roasted meat is a staple cuisine there, they certainly don’t eat it at every meal since to do so would mean depleting their wealth as measured by their number of cows/goats. Greece was amazing as well! I still drool recalling some of the meals I had there: tzatziki, spanakopita, hummus, fried cheese, stuffed tomatoes and peppers… yeah.
I would say that the only travel experience I’ve had in which my enjoyment was negatively impacted by my ethical, principled eating was a week-long trip to the Yellowstone area of Wyoming. I ate a lot of grilled cheese and such, which is great the first time….
I’m looking forward to splendid eating in Tahiti and Moorea this summer too. 🙂