Ever since I can remember, I have walked into restaurants – around the world – and announced several times while ordering, loudly might I add, “I am vegetarian”. This is often followed by, “Can you make sure there is no fish sauce” to “please no chicken broth” and still finding bits of unknown “not veggies, for sure” floating in my food.
Travelling as a vegetarian has its difficult moments – especially if you want an “authentic” cuisine experience of the place. But it is still travel, an enormous privilege, I remind myself as I pack some extra packs of cuppa noodles and biscuits. Sure, it sometimes takes away from the pleasure of not having the 360* experience of a country, but I’d never travel for a cuisine – unless it’s to Chandni Chowk in Delhi.
There’s so much more to travel than just the cuisine. Food, for me, is never in a concern while travelling. It is the visual culture that becomes the determining factor – things I’d get to see, experience and learn about. Places with history intrigue me – so while there really wasn’t much to eat for me in the little town of Wolfgangsee (Austria), there was much to see, much to cherish – and let’s not forget there were raindrops on the roses.
Travel for me is an invitation to a new perspective, and what makes me pick the country to visit is the weather, the culture, my budget, the cost of the tickets (high in seasons, obviously) and recommendations from people I trust. I have chosen countries purely because they had Disneyland (Hong Kong) or the Northern Lights or just endless museums and stunning architectural wonders (Versailles, Russia, Estonia, Prague) – because that is where I wanted to be.
There is a different greener side of the grass – no matter how you see it. Being a vegetarian, for me, actually opens up doors of several conversations in different broken languages with confused servers and dumb-founded chefs all over the world. Not that it ever stopped me or my backpack full of cuppa-noodles and biscuits from travelling.
Originally written for: https://www.khaleejtimes.com/would-you-travel-to-a-country-for-its-food