The Nicest Way To Be A Vegetarian Abroad

How far would you go in pursuit of the best vegetarian food? Vegetarianism has taken its sweet time to catch on. Made increasingly trendy through the lens of food bloggers on Instagram, sweeping through niche, boho-looking bars in London, Paris and, predictably, California, the following is now huge.

It comes with its own perks; a cleaner conscience, a reduced carbon footprint, happier cows, the list goes on. Yet the perpetual effort of finding vegetarian food abroad causes veggie travellers to fall short at the first hurdle. The challenges are not to be underestimated; travellers are met with language barriers, culture differences and the lurking threat of an upset stomach. ‘Strategic laziness’ might be the best bet, choosing ‘cleverly’ to do less. Therefore, this list should benefit everyone, including the smartest of lazy travellers…

1. Do your planning in advance
As simple as it may seem, researching restaurants often ensures your best chance of finding the cuisines you prefer at value for money. Make sure you know exactly what is being served, as well as making sure you take out travel insurance before you go in case of any mishaps! Lonely Planet as well as The Good Vegetarian have advice on the best places to check out vegetarian food.

2. Check the language barriers before you meet them
It’s always best to have a few phrases up your sleeve before you travel to better prepare when asking questions about the food being served. Phrases such as “is this vegetarian”, the words “meat” and “fish”, as well as a lot of active role play can really help in getting your point across. Knowing the local dialect and customs before you go will really help you to get what you want.

3. Compromise, and a love of supermarket picnics
Knowing you can’t always be limited to the food in the area is part of the adventure of travelling. Travelling whilst vegetarian on a budget can often result in a diet of bread and crisps, however, one great way to enjoy cheaper cuisine whilst checking out the sites is a supermarket picnic. Grab some bread, cheese, salad and other snacks (brie from France, olives in Spain…) and a bottle of wine and have a picnic dinner in a local park or along riverbanks. However, if you are drinking, make sure you’re aware of the local laws on drinking in public as they differ greatly from country to country.

4. The perks of social media (namely Instagram)
Enviable dinner posts are a highlight of travelling! Search your chosen location on Instagram, which will show you great spots not only to visit but also to eat! Food bloggers are often more than happy to answer questions of where is best to eat, as well as dishes to try! Even contacting restaurants in advance and reading TripAdvisor reviews can be a massive help to know where to eat.

5. Sides on a menu (your own personal tapas)
And if all else fails, there’s always sides on the menu to get you by. Try a mix of the salads, breads and other small dishes available, or even asking if they do any other vegetarian sides. Practically a way of creating your own tapas wherever you go!

Naina Mangtani

Image credit: Bernard Spragg. NZ via Flickr.

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