Travel and Vegetarianism don’t always go hand in hand. I work and live in a fairly vegetarian and vegan friendly area. So things get rough sometimes when I travel. But for every not so ideal situation, there are about five others which went fantastically well. Here’s one example: a restaurant was about to close for the night but allowed us in and prepared a fresh and delicious vegetarian meal for a friend and I. We were so grateful to them! What made it even better was that it was a family owned restaurants and the chef and his children were all helping out. It was almost like a meal at a friend’s house. But now on to the not so great “being a vegetarian” moments!
Presenting: Top five things I’ve heard as a “Vegetarian on the Go”
- Question: Do you serve vegetarian food? Answer: Yes, the chef can make a Caesar Salad for you. We have some nice dressings on the side – This line really makes me sad (cold salad on vacation?) especially when I ask it at a place where I expect some vegetarian options like burritos, enchiladas or noodle dish sans the meat, poultry and seafood. I don’t want salad. I’m not on a diet. I just don’t wish to eat meat. I can eat salad at home.
- Question: Is it your culture? Are you really a vegetarian all the time? Or is it just when you travel? – I sometimes want to answer “No, I just pretend to be one on vacation”. But I admit, that’s not nice and I’ve never said that.
- Is seafood okay? Is fish okay? – I fail to understand how seafood is any less vegetarian than beef, chicken, turkey. Even in my past meat eating days (over a decade ago) I never liked seafood.
- “Why are you here in the first place? This place is known for its [insert carnivorous or seafood specialty dish here] *chuckles laughs*” – I enjoy trying new foods on the go but I will not avoid a city or country because it caters to carnivores more. Its a pro versus con situation and generally you can find some non local cuisine that’s vegetarian friendly. I might not get to eat that world famous stew or dish but I can live that.
- You’re in a new place so time to get adventurous and eat everything! – No. Nope. I am vegetarian for a choice and its a decision I’ve learned to live with and embrace. I won’t let down my guard in a new place.
And a bonus your parents won’t get upset if you eat meat this one time. This one annoys me. It wasn’t said to me that long ago (last year, April 2016) In Austin, Texas. So here’s my story. I was a vegetarian before my parents. My mom still occasionally eats non-vegetarian food. So this is not a dietary restriction enforced by parents. And don’t get me started on “how do you get enough protein” which is something I hear at home and on the go.
“Protein sources for vegetarian” cheat sheet, please!
“Animals are my friends…and I don’t eat my friends.”
― George Bernard Shaw