Vegetarianism Abroad

As a vegetarian whenever i head off on holiday anywhere or to stay with friends I always get a little niggle of either am I going to find something I can/want/is nice to eat of I really don’t want to put anybody out by being the “oh I’m really sorry but I don’t eat meat” one. So when I decided to go travelling I was pretty intrigued and slightly worried about how easy I would find it to be vegetarian around the world. And surprisingly I have to say it’s not been too bad although it’s not always been the countries you’d expect to be easy/good for vegetarians.

Canada = short but sweet, very much a land of meat but tonnes to dig your teeth into if that’s not your thing! Great restaurant food, will often tell you if there’s meat in an option that looks veggie – I check quite a lot!! If your home cooking, stores do carry tofu and substitute options, but they can be a little pricey compared to the UK.

India/Nepal = very much a no brainer, so much veggie food that as long as you like curry it is impossible to go wrong! You can even get more than one version of a veggie burger from McDonald’s not that you should even consider that the amount of amazing food that’s on offer

Beijing/Hong Kong = not quite as easy but if you look hard enough you will find the noodles and the fried rice. If you like aubergine (or eggplant) this is also pretty common as a veg dish. However you may find at times items turning up in your dinner that you were pretty sure you didn’t read on the menu. Me and a friend got totally different meals hers came with pork, mine didn’t. The only item they had in common on arrival was tat bits that we think were supposed to be pork. So be prepared for a bit of scouting around. Food is tasty though!

Malaysia/Singapore = the best food I had in Malaysia was actually on Tioman Island, fresh, amazing, insanely cheap food. However I did order some noodles on the main land and checked they were meat free to be told yes and them arrive containing chicken. When we mentioned this the guy said chicken wasn’t meat, so make sure you 100% clarify what you don’t want. He was lovely about it and made me a new ‘animal free’ version! Singapore is home to a tonne of restaurant chains so you can usually find something decent. We ended up having a Cheese and Chocolate Buffett at the top of the Mariner Bay Sands so I’ve kind of forgotten about all other food there! P.S yes it was totally awesome!

New Zealand/Australia = New Zealand not bad, we did a lot of hostel cooking so mainly supermarket based where you can obviously find a tonne of things depending on your budget. Australia was expensive and unfortunately did not bowl me over in the food department. Fell way short of expectations! Veggie options are limited in restaurants and supermarkets. No tofu or substitute products found until we hit Brisbane and Sydney. McDonald’s will take meat out of a burger if you really want to eat there, Hungry jacks will actually offer you an ok fast food veggie burger.

Vietnam = has been going well until tonight when my veggie curry turned up with chicken in it and I stupidly thought it was fake meat, yes that’s how bad the chicken was. Kat had to taste it twice to try and help decide before we called the manager over, who did look horrified and was extremely apologetic when he realised. I’d been waiting for this to happen as I’d heard it could be tough in Asia but so far Vietnam has been a dream. Most restaurants have a page of vegetarian food so it’s so easy! This was a simple translation issue. If I was at home I’d have been so made. Here you can only shrug it off and laugh about it.

I have no idea what to expect from Laos, Thailand and Cambodia, all I can hope is for a lot more great options. I’ve been spoilt for great food, despite the few mishaps along the way, and really that’s all I could ask for. I’ve tried not to be too picky and difficult and I think only had the occasional food paddy because I’m not managing to eat anything healthy and meat free (listen up Australia!).