Eating out while travelling: Ethnic Vegetarian Foods

It doesn’t matter if you are planning a lazy beach holiday or something packed with fun activities, going on holiday is always a great adventure. Different cultures and different cuisine can really liven up your taste buds and you may pick up a few tips you will want to bring home.

Wherever you go, you will always find something new and exciting to try, whether it be a new ingredient or a different way of preparing it. Eating out at a foreign food restaurant at home great but a lot of the ingredients will have been sourced locally and although delicious, there is nothing quite like eating authentically in a traditional restaurant in that country. There is always something to surprise you and that is no more true that when it comes to ethnic vegetarian foods.

You don’t have to be a vegetarian to enjoy vegetarian food, indeed, many non-vegetarians enjoy the different flavours and textures on offer with this style of cuisine. One could definitely argue that vegetarian cookery requires a lot more imagination than grilling a piece of meat.

If you are a vegetarian then it may be a good idea to check out the cuisine of the country you are visiting, or perhaps take this into account when you are booking. Most countries will have plenty of non-meat dishes for you to try but in some countries, the idea of vegetarianism is still a little ‘foreign’.

Family holidays abroad with children will probably be spent at popular tourist resorts where finding something familiar to eat should be relatively easy. Even so, try to visit some traditional restaurants and enjoy some of their vegetarian dishes. Countries such as Greece, Cyprus and Turkey will have a fantastic selection of Mezze Dishes (a bit like Tapas) and many of these are vegetarian. Try stuffed Vine Leaves, Gilled Halloumi, Feta Cheese with Olives and Bread, Lima Beans with tomatoes etc. etc. This is a great way to eat out if only one or two of your party is vegetarian as you can order a selection of meat and vegetarian dishes, bet they’ll all want to try yours though!

Italy is also good for vegetarians, although Italians like their meat, there are plenty of delicious tomato and vegetable pasta sauces such as Primavera and if all else fails, you can always rely on a Margherita Pizza; if you can’t get one in Italy……….?

More exotic destinations such as India, Thailand and China will have plenty of vegetable or vegetarian dishes on offer. Tofu and Paneer are widely used here.

Trips with just adults, couples or singles activity holidays will possibly give you more scope to explore and try different things. One great tip however is to learn the words for ‘I don’t eat meat’ in the language of your country of destination. This will enable restaurant staff to point out suitable dishes on their menu or perhaps, if you are very lucky, prepare you something special. Try not to use the word ‘vegetarian’ as it may mean something different, for instance, in Thailand, the translated word for ‘vegetarian’ can also mean fish stock. In other countries, such as Japan there is no translation but there are plenty of what we would term vegetarian dishes.

There are some countries which are simply not very vegetarian friendly. This doesn’t of course mean that you shouldn’t travel there, but you may need to be prepared to have a pretty bland and repetitive diet.

Shannen Doherty writes regularly on vegetarian cuisines for a range of foreign travel websites and blogs. Whether you are embarking on family holidays abroad with children or singles activity holidays you should explore and experiment and often this means eating like the locals.


  1. says

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