So, as someone who hasn't eaten chicken or red meat in over 18 months, I'm struggling a little with how my upcoming vacation to Paris is going to go. Naturally, as the PR manager of VT, I immediately thought of turning the thought into a press release. ;)
So...what do you think are the worst cities are for vegetarians? I've heard Buenos Aires is awful and quite honestly, I have a feeling Paris isn't too far behind.
If the answers are really great, we'll try to find some way to turn them into a press release. :)
Cities are not a problem in Germany - more or less every restaurant will have some vegetarian dishes on its menu. They know perfectly well that there is someone among every larger party who will want them. German country inns with so-called "gutbürgerliche Küche" (home-style cooking) provide the worst problem.
Spain & Portugal are veggy nightmares. I was once in a restaurant in Spain and they had NOTHING on the menu for veggies. I asked if they would do me a Spanish omelette, the waiter disappeared into the kitchen then came back a minute later and said "Chef says is not possible".
i was in tijuana once with a german girl who was a strict vegetarian and it was real entertaining to see her get more and more angry as she realised she had landed in a place where people eat nothing but meat with melted cheese on top.
she ended up eating a cheese sandwich after spending 8 hours looking for a place and she spend most of the time at the cafe yelling at all the happy mexicans eating meat tortillas :O)
Italy is a tough one too - especially if you don't eat seafood either (some vegetarians still eat fish). I've told the story a few times of the girl in my World Youth Day group (when I went to Rome for WYD) who told the kitchen staff at our accommodations that she was a vegetarian, and instead of giving her the pasta without the tuna, they gave her a plate with lettuce leaves.
German dishes have a lot of meat in them, but my other vegetarian friend didn't have any problems while we were there (and for part of the trip, we lived with host families in villages close to Fulda).
I had cheese/bread and sweets for 4wks in France. In general, I find it really hard to find vegetarian friendly restaurants. It seems also that they don't like when I ask them to leave stuff out or substitute.
Any small German town with a traditional German restaurant. On the other side, they're usually quite friendly and prepare something without any meat.
I found Cuba worse than Germany or France, Italy I never had a problem and I am a Vegetarian not a pescetarian. Even asking for rice in Cuba was a pain; it would arrive with small pieces of pork in it. When I did get a plate of black beans and fried plantain it was lovely though!
Central Europe and Germany seem pretty bad. I am not a vegetarian myself, but when I've traveled with them, it's a nightmare. It seems like every vegetable dish somehow manages to include bacon! Spain is not a great place for vegetables, but at least those who eat fish can be very happy.
For the non-fish-eater, Japan is also a tough place.
Buenos Aires has great Italian restaurants, and for me Italian is easy to find something non-meat to eat. I don't recall having a hard time otherwise, but maybe I'm just used to it, or maybe it was the tasty chilled limoncello they served after the meal that made me forget it.
The worst places I have been to for vegetarianism is Iran, the former Yogoslav area and central Asia. Iran you get a choice of rice and or eggplant. And in many places they don't understand the concept of vegetarianism - if you don't eat meat, have some chicken!
Based on the part of this clip starting at 6:00, I think Greece would be tough for vegetarians...
That's just Hollywood, Greece is a veggies paradise - Fasoulia, Fasoulakia, Imam, Briam, Greek Salad, Black beans, cheese pie, spinach pie, Zucchini balls, fried eggplant the list is long and the food delightful.
Reading this is making me hungry...for a steak!
Great answers here--keep 'em comin'!
Claus, what you're saying may be true because Tijuana is right next to the USA, and they don't really have a variety of local food that they can eat, or grow vegetables/fruits in this area (I assume the ones they eat are brought from elsewhere in the country or even from USA)..... I guess they stick to what is more available to them and, being a small town, I wouldn't expect to find a wide range of choices in the restaurant field.
However in Mex city you can find restaurants for all tastes, we don't have a bunch of vegetarian-only places but you can find vegetarian dishes in most restaurants. I'm not a vegetarian either but I agree that in Italy I would have had no difficulty in finding something without meat, from pasta to pizza to "anti pasti"...... My niece is traveling there now and she's a veggie, so I'll let you know if she had a hard time finding something to eat there or not. Funny thing is that she doesn't like most vegetables either, so she eats cheese sandwiches, quesadillas or milk-based products (withou eggs in them) most of the time even while in Mexico. So I guess she's in for an even bigger difficulty to find something to eat that she "can" AND likes to eat.
I have a friend who is not only vegetarian, but follows a pretty strict raw food diet. This limits her to eating at really specialized restaurants in the most vegetarian-friendly cities. I could not imagine it would be easy to follow that kind of diet while traveling, unless you purchased your own food.
I think Central Asia would definitely be tricky. Even the 'vegetable soup' had a large chunk of meat lurking at the bottom.
i agree that mexico city is quite good for vegetarians.
and when i was in chiapas i probaply saw the most vegetarian restaurants i have seen anywhere in latin america.
Well, so far I've found the worst place for vegetarians was Karachi... they really do love their chicken and mutton there!
The south of Germany is also pretty difficult for vegetarians... I usually end-up eating side dishes stead of main courses. Frankfurt, Heidelberg, Stuttgart, Cologne, Munich... all big carnivores and meat-lovers down south!
Best cities so far: Mumbai (India in general), any big city in the United Kingdom (I've never seen so many vegetarian options and clear descriptions of ingredients on packaged food!).
Yes, the UK is wonderful for a vegetarian, both when eating out as when shopping. A large V is printed on the packing, no need to read through lots of ingredients,usually written in the smallest print possible, as it is in Germany.
Spain is a problem for vegetarians because they often add ham to dishes that may sound suitable, eg salads. The worst thing is that if you ask 'Is there any meat in this salad?' the waiters say 'no' even if there is ham in it, because they do not consider ham as meat.
I had dinner in a French restaurant a couple of hours ago (I am currently on holiday in France) and there were a few pieces of ham in my vegetable soup...
but even if there wasn't I'll bet they used meat stock
Are you 100% vegan, or do you eat seafood, dairy and eggs? WoW-after reading these replies, we are really spoiled in the States. There's no difficulty being a non-meat eating individual nor vegan here. You can even get a plain side salad at Micky D's. Most restaurant's are more than willing to please a customer's palate, including those with wheat allergies. ~
>>>WoW-after reading these replies, we are really spoiled in the States.
I guess I have to agree zanzooni.... here in Mexico, even though there are plenty of places to eat for vegans/vegetarians and we have tons of fresh (locally produced) produce to choose from which should make it easier for these people to find options, it isn't that easy to find places or products which will accomodate everybody's needs (I'm also thinking about the wheat allergy you mentioned). Most of the bread, cereals and other food I buy STATES on the package that they (may) contain allergens, gluten, nuts, dairy and whatnot. But they don't go out of their way to ban these items from their products.... they just let you know they are there so if you eat them it's under your own responsibility. Organic and allergen-free food here costs a fortune and there aren't really too many people who consume them.
Laura: Well, it's about education. Educating the uninitiated. Maybe that will be your new career? Start your own little niche market and watch it grow! We have an abundance of "Farmer's Markets" in my area. So many that it's daunting at times. I have a list that's almost a whole newspaper page long of fresh produce and organic markets. ~
Zanzooni, unfortunately I think it's not only a matter of education or initiation...... this food actually does cost more than "regular" stuff and as you know the economic situation of my country is far from buoyant. People buy what they can afford.... not what they should or they would like to eat, most of the times. Also, many of those products which do not accomodate to people's health are imported from USA or other countries, so I suppose that's all we can afford buying abroad, for I'm sure there are products who would be healthier and more accomodating.
We also have our own culture when it comes to food and people are just used to eating certain stuff. When besides their preference the stuff they usually eat is cheaper than the rest, the choice is easily made. You can even see this with fast food...... most people will buy a couple tacos in the street that will cost them a fraction of what a McDonalds combo would. And we enjoy hamburgers a lot too..... but sometimes people just can't afford buying them and they have to settle for what they can buy, not only for what there is available. So I guess it's a complex problem that my new career alone wouldn't be able to solve ;)
I never knew about the "V" in the U.K. Do they have that in restaurants or just on food packaging?
I've been looking at on-line menus for the restaurants I want to try in Paris and all I can say is, it's not going to be easy. Every single place has mostly meat dishes (I eat fish, but there's only so much fish you can eat, you know) and the veggies are really expensive. My principles may have to go out the window on this trip. ;)
The food taste better over there. The markets sell fruit that has so much more flavor than any you'll find here, it was like I had never tasted an apple before. It will be more satisfying. Make a cheese sandwich for lunch from the store, the cheese & bread is superb(as is the yogurt), and it won't cost a fortune lke the restaurants will. You'll just have to hunt and peck, just like you do here--it's just easier here because you speak better English than French probably, and you know the restaurants better. Then again, I'm not a picky eater.
Say 'sans jambon s'il vous plait' so they don't put ham on your food.
In the UK the V is on the food packaging, so there's no need to read all the fine print about ingredients. I doublechecked a few times, but it was always accurate.And whenever I've eaten in a a pub or a restaurant, there's been a vegetarian choice.
Courtney, go to 7vin Restaurant at Ecole Militaire. They will fix you something. We tagged it as our group's VT restaurant because the cook is so good! I left one of our VT flags there. Just introduce yourself.