The green mile

The green mile

Food concerns

The green mile

It’s believed that the grass is always greener on the other side, but if you translate it literally, many vegetarians wouldn’t vouch for it. Travelling abroad always brings a sense of aura as you get to explore the place. There is architecture, history, entertainment and shopping to do, but if you’re a vegetarian, food tends to be an issue. 

To many Westerners, being a vegetarian means avoiding meat but not eggs and fish. Nitya Sriram and her friend, a freelance writer, travelled to London a few years back and had to face this problem quite regularly. 

She says, “It was still slightly easier for me as I do have egg, but my friend doesn’t have that either. She had to survive on baked beans, hash brown potatoes, corn flakes and sandwiches. Even in the case of sandwiches, we had to tell the waiters repeatedly to use only vegetables.”  Swarup Yeramilla, a private wealth manager and financial literacy mentor, often travels to the UK, Singapore and Thailand for his business trips. He says, “Even if you order a vegetarian dish, the waiters would often come out with dips that are made with crab sauce or oyster sauce. We have to call the hotel well in advance and let them know what we want to have so that they can keep it ready for us. Unfortunately, many believe that you are a vegetarian to be healthy, which is because your doctor advised you to and that means they can only serve bland food.” However, it seems like one has to spend well at a fine dining restaurant for a good green meal. Swati Raman, an IT professional and baker, often travels to the USA and Australia. She says, “I like to explore the fine-dining restaurants because I know that they will carefully craft a delicious plate of vegetarian food for me. But it’s not always possible to dine like that, especially in Australia. So we end up having Mexican dishes like a burrito or chipotle.” She recalls an incident in Australia where she had missed her dinner and had to look around the city for something to eat. She ended up having a basic sandwich which cost $20 and didn’t even have vegetables in it. However, she says that the US has slowly picked up on vegetarianism. 

Unfortunately, every country has not reached that stage. Shruti Choudhary, a chartered accountant, has to travel to China every quarter of the year. She packs a separate luggage of easy-to-eat dishes for her survival. She says, “As lovely as the place is, it’s not the best for a vegetarian. Even if they do serve something for people like me, the smell of the vessels puts one off. The mushrooms and tofu aren’t the ones that we are accustomed to having. Thankfully, my trip only lasts about 4 days, so I can survive on the easy-to-eat meals, bread and fruits.”Even in the case of popular items eaten on a regular basis here, vegetarians struggle to eat something abroad without questioning. 

Nitya says, “I am a huge fan of  ‘Subway’. When in Dubai, I would often order the ‘Caesar Salad’ and enjoy it like I would any salad. I later found out that the sauce that is added to the salad has fish supplements in it and that ruined the simple dish for me.”

Thanks to veganism and the desire to be healthy, the idea of vegetarianism is slowly evolving in the West. But till that segment of the world is completely evolved, vegetarians are still on the lookout for their ‘manpasand khaana’.