Traveling with dietary restrictions could be challenging, nonetheless it shouldn’t stop you from seeing the world – even on a backpacker’s budget. Blogger and food tour leader Akila McConnell is a devoted vegetarian her life time. In this guest post, Akila offers unconventional tips and practical advice for traveling the world as a vegetarian backpacker.
Whenever we tell individuals who we’re traveling all over the world, the first question I get is, “But, how will you eat?”
I grew up a vegetarian, stuck with my vegetarianism through college in the South (the land of vegetables boiled with ham hocks), and wasn’t likely to change my diet plan due to our round-the-world trip. As well, eating is among the significant reasons we travel, so twelve months of boring salads and convenience store packaged foods wasn’t likely to cut it. The glad tidings are that after eight months on the highway, I’m still a happy vegetarian backpacker because I follow these four rules:
1. Learn the neighborhood language.
Many languages have a word which means “vegetarian,” but I’ve often discovered that term isn’t used. For instance, we’re currently in Japan, where “bejetarian” means “vegetarian,” but I’ve received many blank looks because Japanese people don’t use that word. However, if I require “yasai” dishes, they’ll offer me vegetable-based meals.
“Vegetarian” does mean different things in various countries. In Thailand, the translation for vegetarian may also mean fish stock. In the event that you say “jai ka,” the restaurant offer Buddhist vegetarian meals, which don’t include any meat products or onions or garlic.
To ensure your dietary concerns are understood, jot down a few phrases prior to going. “I cannot eat fish. I cannot eat meat.” Translate these in to the local language so that you can suggest to them to the staff at the restaurant. That way you can communicate clearly and make certain many people are on a single page. Conversely, if you’re traveling with a smartphone and usage of data, you can download the neighborhood language and utilize the Google Translate app to communicate.
2. Do some research
HappyCow.net contains all of the vegetarian restaurants around the world, and most guidebooks give a “vegetarian listing.” I recommend finding locals who speak English to require recommendations. In Florence, our hotel owner recommended La Cipolla Rossa, a restaurant that specialized in creative Italian dishes. My hubby ate a perfectly cooked steak while I was served a lovely vegetarian entrée comprising grilled vegetables and cheese.
For additional restaurant tips, use an app like Couchsurfing to talk to locals. You can filter local hosts by words like “vegetarian” or “vegan” so just execute a local search and message anyone who shares your daily diet. What are a common local restaurants? Any kind of local hidden gems that may now be on Happy Cow? By calling locals you’ll not merely get great tips nevertheless, you could probably find you to definitely join you!
Furthermore to looking for specific restaurants, research local specialties. Just about any country specializes in a few vegetarian item, like tofu and tsukemono (pickled vegetables) in Japan, amarillos (fried plantains) in Puerto Rico, gazpacho in Spain, and bibimbap (a medley of rice, vegetables, and eggs) in Korea. Simultaneously, using countries, vegetarian specialties have “hidden” meat products; for instance, most Thai and Cambodian recipes are created with fish sauce, so it’s vital that you specify no fish sauce when ordering those dishes.
3. Be ready to move on
Unlike high-end restaurants that may afford English-speaking staff and a good amount of options, mom-and-pop restaurants frequented by backpackers might not have the ingredients open to cook vegetarian meals. In the event that you speak to the wait staff plus they can’t make anything, thank them for the difficulty and get to a different restaurant. Often you may end up eating a dish without meat but that is cooked with an animal-based product simply because of miscommunication. This may not look like a big deal for a few, however, not eating meat for quite a while can make it hard for the body to digest. It’s likely that you’ll end up sick (or with a stomach ache at the minimum). Don’t risk your wellbeing, just politely thank you and move on.
4. Carry backup supplies
On our yesterday evening camping in Australia, I was offered a baked potato and poker chips for dinner as the remaining group ate grilled chicken and baked potatoes. I supplemented that inadequate carb-heavy meal with my backup stash of granola bars. We always carry one day’s worth of healthy snack items, which we restock in major cities.
Finding vegetarian products in big cities is normally simple enough: granola bars, trail mix, nuts, and packets of dried fruit can be purchased in supermarkets and convenience stores. In small towns where packaged produce will not be as easily available, we haunt a nearby markets for fruits and vegetables. If you’re going somewhere that may not need the snacks you will need or want, bring them with you before you set off.
I admit that it’s a bit more difficult to acquire options for me personally than for my omnivorous husband. Yet you can always find vegetarian food if you believe creatively. In Italy, most first courses or primi piatti are vegetarian-based pasta dishes, therefore i often ordered two first courses rather than first course and a primary course. Though most Irish meals contain some form of beef, soups and baked potatoes are served in just about any pub. In Japan, a famously seafood-driven society, most Buddhist and Shinto temples provide a affordable vegetarian meal for lunch. For the vegetarian traveler, eating on the highway doesn’t need to be all salads, nonetheless it does take a little more thought and work.
Akila’s mind (and waistline) expands as she travels and eats around the world. She is currently located in Atlanta and owns the meals tour company, Atlanta Food Walks, a food tour that highlights Atlanta’s undiscovered neighborhoods, restaurants, and art It even contains recipes for healthy and easy-to-make dishes. When she isn’t busy leading tours, she’s