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leo30's Profile Photo

customs

by leo30 Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 9:58 AM

here is a wierd question or rather a wierd conundrum.

i have recently started travelling a little in the middle east. just back from a wonderful time in syria and am now planning to go to iran in spring 2009.

which brings me to my problem.

i am a strict vegetarian. no meat. no fish. but am not vegan.

on my travels i met many wonderful people who invited me to their homes but always had to say no because i knew it would have been very rude to refuse food people had prepared for you. i think i offended a number of people by not taking up their offer to come to dinner. but i think it would be even more offensive to accept an offer and then tell your host what i will and will not eat.

anyone have any opinions on this or any cunning plans i could put into action to lesson any offence caused.

sorry this is a bit rambling.

can't wait to be in iran

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16 Answers
  • grets's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by grets Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 10:01 AM

    You will find Iran and absolute nightmare as far as food goes, and will be so fed up with eggplant by the time you leave you will never want to see one again.

    We travelled with a vegetarian through Iran, and she had major problems trying to make people understand she didn't want meat. 'Vegetarian dishes' would have a sauce of meat on them. She lived on eggplant and rice, with Iranian salads for variety.

    Good luck.

    Iran btw is an amazing place, one of the friendliest places I have ever been.

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  • leo30's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by leo30 Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 10:06 AM

    some countries can be challenging for us veggies. france for instance!!! but as long as i can get some bread and cheese i'll be ok. syria was surprisingly easy actually. i guess i'll come home extra skinny.

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  • jethanand's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by jethanand Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 10:18 AM

    You could try and keep your appointments calendar busy with a preferred list.

    I have two lists - preferred and other. I book myself ahead of time for lunch and dinner arangements according to my preferred list so my calendar looks busy. If invited by someone from my other list, I ask if I could come for tea and refreshements instead or even ask if I could combine the event with another invitation I already have.

    Also, I do not think it is impolite to mention my dietary needs ahead of time

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  • Re: customs

    by venoquine Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 10:31 AM

    Just tell them:
    no kababs
    khrechts
    dolmeh
    kefteh
    they all are cooked with meat.
    For example there are different soups:
    sup, with lentilles and tomatoe
    arch-ejo,with
    Salads:
    the best one is shirazi salad
    rice:
    chellowtahdig(rice with potatoes cooked in a special casserole)
    all sorts of fruits, and drinks, breads also.
    Bon appetit

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  • unaS's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by unaS Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 11:27 AM

    If invited to dinner the best policy imo is simply to state clearly what your dietary requirements are.

    Very politely explain that you eat no meat or fish, not even in sauces or soups. Tell them in advance that you would be happy to be in their company but that you will eat rice, plain vegetables cooked without sauce and salad only.

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  • margsch's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by margsch Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 12:23 PM

    I agree with the others, say that you don,t eat meat or fish , or else if by chance you decline an invitation, could you suggest going out for a meal instead? I know it,s awkward, I have a strong dislike of many cooked vegetables and this makes eating at someone else,s home embarrassing for me, there are certain things I couldn,t eat if you paid me. And leaving much of a meal on the plate does look very impolite.

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  • Behi's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by Behi Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 1:00 PM

    I’ve same problem, but I eat meat just in some foods.
    & I even can’t endure fish smell
    can you eat a food that meats are part of it??
    or food must be pure of any meat or its essence?
    We have sorts of food that called Khoresht, serves with rice(=Berenj or Chelow or Polow).
    Khoresht are vegetable based but have meat pieces.
    I just easily don’t eat meat pieces!
    Some famous Khoresh are:
    Ghorme Sabzi
    Gheime
    Fesenjon
    Karafs
    & Bademjan (what grets experienced)
    Easily found in most restaurant

    *rarely Khoresht cooked with grinded meat in some houses but I’ve never seen in restaurants, it’s real danger in parties & have no solution
    Other one, Sorts of Chelow(=Rice) as:
    Sabzi Polow (=vegetable+rice) *(Sometimes serves with fish, ask it without fish)
    Shebid Polow (=vegetable+rice) *(mainly serves with meat in restaurants, ask it without meat)
    Albalo Polow(=cherry+Rice) *(mainly serves with chicken, ask it without meat)
    Adas Polow(=lentil+Rice)

    Some Sorts of Chelow comes with meat pieces as:
    Lobia Polow(=French bean(?)+Rice)
    Lobia cheshm bolboli(=black eyed pea+Rice)
    I’ve never seen in restaurants
    grinded meat problem is potential

    Soup & Ash
    Ash are vegetable based soup as
    Ash-e Reshte & …
    *some Ash has meat but never serve in restaurant or parties
    Koko are egg based as:
    Koko Sabzi
    Koko Ghandi
    Koko Sibzamini
    Some foods as
    Kashk-o Bademjan
    Adasi
    & Baked bean
    All sorts of Kabab & Kofte & Dolme has meat & have no solution.
    At last as you said bread & cheese easily available everywhere.
    * be careful in parties about flying meats!, your host put meats in ur dish, Host do it to respecting guest.
    & mainly foods has more meats than usual in parties.

    It’s 25 years that I’m living with this problem, I’m sure you would handle it for some days
    Good luck

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  • Behi's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by Behi Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 1:03 PM

    Some Persian equivalents:o

    Meat = Goosht
    Chicken = Morgh
    Fish = Mahi
    Egg = Tokhm-e Morgh
    Bread = Nan
    Cheese = Panir
    Butter = Kare
    Honey = Asal
    Jam = Moraba
    Yogurt = Mast
    With = Ba
    Without … = Bedon-e …
    and = Va
    or = Ya

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  • Behi's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by Behi Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 1:04 PM

    Grets it’s not a nightmare, it’s just lack of information.
    & I agree in small town & small restaurants eggplants are most available one.
    Next time ask me ;)

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  • grets's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by grets Online Now Oct 17, 2008 at 1:06 PM

    It wasn't me who had a problem, it was my friend. I loved the Iranian food, particularly the Gormeh Sabsi and Fesunjen (camel one), but thanks for the offer. :-)

    The Iranian words for food are very similar to those used in India. Interesting.

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  • aliamiri's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by aliamiri Online Now Oct 27, 2008 at 1:06 AM

    Hi Leo30

    I live in Iran and I understand your situation, as one of my colleagues is vegeterian too. Actually being vegeterian is almost something unknown in Iran. If you like I can address you some veg. restaurants in Tehran, but in other cities I have no idea!
    BTW, in fast foods you can always order vegetables or margarita pizza. And if you get this chance to get invited to homes, you better to state your special diet conditions in advance.

    Wish you happy moments in Iran.

    Regards,
    -- Ali

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  • leo30's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by leo30 Online Now Oct 30, 2008 at 11:35 AM

    thank you so much for your reply. if you have information on veggie restaurants in tehran that would be very helpful. i will i suppose be eating lots of margarita pizza but hopefully also some tasty iranian veggie dishes.

    leo30

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  • Re: customs

    by venoquine Online Now Oct 30, 2008 at 2:44 PM

    Sorry I don't know any , but if you explain (they will laugh at you , but understand) it happened to me to.I did not have to eat pizza margherita!!!!!

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  • aliamiri's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by aliamiri Online Now Nov 2, 2008 at 1:08 AM

    Hi,

    I know two vegeterian restaurants in Tehran:
    1. Khane-ye Honarmandan [Artists' House] in Iranshahr St. , Iranshahr Park
    2. Ananda in Pasdaran Ave.

    And yes, we have some veg. dishes in our cuisine, like "Kookoo Sabzi" , "Mirza Ghasemi" , "Kashk Bademjan" , etc. but you find some these foods only in a few restaurants.


    Regards,
    -- Ali

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  • puerto_lover's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by puerto_lover Online Now Nov 2, 2008 at 1:59 AM

    Having visited Iran a number of times, I was interested to read this thread. I know Tehran must be very multi cultural and more people will be demanding vegetarian meals when they go out to eat.
    If you travel a few thousand miles to the East and visit India, you have limitless opportunities for vegetarian, and of course there must be quite a large number of veggie Indians living in Iran these days.
    I was interested to see that an Indian restaurant called CINGARI was opened last year by Christopher Dawe . Cingari can be found at 4, Zohreh Street, Mofateh Avenue. Their phone number is 021 88 32 70 75
    payvand.com/news/07/may/1274...

    and I would certainly head for the Artist’s Forum (Khaneh Honarmandan) cultural center in Iranshahr Avenue to see if they are open for business.
    tapesh.com/forum/showthread....

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  • leo30's Profile Photo

    Re: customs

    by leo30 Online Now Nov 5, 2008 at 9:21 AM

    thank you ali. that is really helpful to me. i am so looking forward to seeing your country and meeting iranians and sampling the culture.

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