Being a vegetarian can prove to be very difficult in many places across the globe because it is simply not part of their culture. People will often ask, What is a vegetarian? and even after explanation, they may still fail to understand. As meat is seen as a sign of wealth, it is unfathomable in many societies that someone might choose not to eat meat when they can afford it. Vegetarianism is a luxury and it is a choice that one makes when survival is no longer an issue. Because of this, the second question is normally, Why be vegetarian? Quite often the easiest response to this question is to claim that you do not eat meat because of your religion. At this point, people generally accept your beliefs and allow you the option of not eating meat. If you claim that it is simply a personal choice, you may be barraged with claims of meat being delicious and healthy, and that you must try this meat right now because it will change your mind.
After years of experience eating a vegetarian diet across the globe, I have built a strong knowledge of how to be a vegetarian in each of the countries that I have visited. When visiting for a brief time, the most useful things to know are what dishes are vegetarian and what vocabulary you need to explain your dietary requirements.
This knowledge is constantly evolving and to help share it, I helped start The Vegetarian Traveller which originally aimed to provide vegetarian recipes from around the world. This site has now evolved and become a wonderful source of stories and thoughts on both food and travel around the world. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.