You know the scene in My Big Fat Greek Wedding when the main character was explaining that her fiancé is a vegetarian and therefore doesn’t eat meat and her aunt was like “don’t eat no meat?!…it’s okay, it’s okay, I make lamb”?
Well, that legitimately happened to me when I was in Greece, except it was my friend’s godmother and she said it was okay if I didn’t eat meat because there would also be oysters at dinner.
It turned out to be fine because almost every meal in Greece is accompanied by bread, French fries and salad (with a big ol’ hunk of feta cheese on top), and any one of those things are a meal in itself, as far as I am concerned.
I’ve been a vegetarian since I was four years old, and I’ve been to 13 different countries (and counting). Weirdly, the only place I’ve traveled to where my vegetarianism has been an issue was Key West, Florida.
I’ve talked to many vegetarians who told me they opted to start eating meat while traveling because they thought it would be easier. That is one option, but if you’d rather try not to eat meat no matter where you are (which I’ve been able to get away with), it’s not impossible.
Check out my tips on how to do so from one veggie to another.
1. Don’t avoid a country solely because you think they lack vegetarian cuisine.
There will always be ways around it, but it helps to be willing to be flexible when necessary. This might mean you will eat the same thing for multiple meals, eat a snack from a corner store instead of a full-on meal, etc. There will always be options, and it’s definitely not worth not going somewhere you want to go.
Which brings us to…
2. Be willing to be flexible when necessary.
Like I said, out of all the places I’ve been, I’ve legit only had a problem with non-veggie options in Florida, but I’m also very not picky. Well, except for the whole no meat thing, but yeah.
When I went to Israel for a week and a half, I ate a falafel wrap for almost every meal. When I was backpacking in Europe with a friend for two months, we split way more large cheese pizzas than I’d care to admit (that’s a lie, it’s 13 and tbh I’m low-key proud of it).
Falafel is delicious and pizza is pizza, so no complaints from me.
3. Be mindful of the culture of where you are.
In my experience, a lot of people around the world are cool with vegetarianism, but don’t necessarily understand it. Don’t be the type of vegetarian that gives vegetarians a bad reputation and ask for like, the carne asada taco sin carne, or something. Order a side of tortillas and a side of rice and beans and make ya own taco.