A Vegetarian Abroad

A Vegetarian Abroad

Posted by: Rachel Arp

Date: April 19th, 2018

With choices such as Iberian ham and seafood paella, people often have a hard time understanding how I can be a vegetarian in a place with a renowned gastronomy. The Spanish cuisine has definitely been a challenge at times. There has been several occasions where I can either order an appetizer as a meal or settle for one of the many meat dishes. Luckily, while my host family is really considerate of my choices and will prepare separate meals for me, eating at restaurants can sometimes be a challenge. Here are some tips I´ve gathered for anyone else who does or will have to deal with the same thing.

  1. Look up menus beforehand.

This is always my go-to trick before I go out to eat in a restaurant. Unfortunately, this is only successful a select number of times. Many restaurants in Spain don´t list their menu online, making this step a little more difficult. Luckily, many restaurants will have their menus outside of their shop, which makes it easier to decide before committing to a restaurant.

  1. Bring snacks

This is an important tip for travelers in general, not just for vegetarians. Sometimes after a day of traveling, it can be a challenge to find a restaurant everyone agrees on. I always have two or three granola bars with me in case we can’t decide on a restaurant to go to or if the restaurant doesn’t have vegetarian food. However, a granola bar isn’t always enough, which brings me to my next point:

  1. Be flexible

Thankfully, my friends are really patient and willing to find restaurants that has something that I can eat. However, when it´s been hours since everyone ate and your group is looking for a restaurant, you might just have to settle for whatever you find. The truth is that you have to remember that you are living in a foreign country. Although in some countries it may be easy to find a restaurant with a wide array of vegetarian options, sometimes you may just have to settle for the restaurant that only offers one vegetarian dish just so that everyone can finally agree on a restaurant.

  1. Be open to trying new food

This is the one that´s probably the most difficult for very strict vegetarians, but sometimes the restaurants you find will not have any non-meat or non-seafood options. There´s been a couple times where I´ve eaten meat just because we had such a hard time finding a restaurant. Although it´s not ideal, your friends will appreciate your flexibility and you might actually find a dish with meat that you like.