Ime chortofagos! I’m a vegetarian!2 min read
Ime chortofagos, is Greek for “I’m a vegetarian.” A poll from 2005 estimated that 4.7 million adults in the U.S. are vegetarians. Vegetarians that travel sometimes worry about how to maintain their diet while in a foreign country, but as the population of vegetarians has grown, so have the resources. Here is some advice on what to eat while abroad. (If you are looking for ways to maintain your vegetarian diet in a culturally diplomatic way, check out this HTH Worldwide-sponsored post on Glimpse.)
Where to go? India, Italy, and (perhaps surprisingly) Turkey are often recognized as being vegetarian friendly. India is traditionally vegetarian, with 20%-40% of the population identified as vegetarian. The popularity of pasta in Italy is a safe bet for travelers, and local fare like couscous, hummus, and roast vegetables in Turkey is a nice alternative. Most other countries can accommodate vegetarians as well. The vegetarian website HappyCow allows you to search for restaurants around the world. There is even a vegan-only restaurant search. They also have some helpful traveling tips.
What to avoid? In many countries, vegetarianism is not very common. Occasionally, people may assume that you eat fish, just not meat, so you’ll want to be clear about what you will eat. You should also check to ensure condiments and sauces don’t include meat or fish products. In Japan, for instance, many things are cooked in fish broth, and even convenience food has fish or meat in it.
How to order. Check out the International Vegetarian Union. They have translations for vegetarian (and some vegan) phrases in many languages, some with printable cards. They also have lists of common vegetarian recipes—the titles could be helpful when looking through a menu. Just remember to be clear and respectful when communicating your needs, and enjoy the local food!