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Hard To Be A Vegan Or Vegetarian While In Asia?

Discussion in 'Asia' started by DreamingOfCherryBlossoms, Oct 23, 2016.

  1. I was just wondering if anyone here has tried to be vegan or vegetarian while in Asia? What country were you in and was it hard? I have a friend that I want to go traveling with but I hesitate because I know it's hard to find truly vegan food unless you cook it yourself. I've heard India is a great place to be at least vegetarian but I was wondering about the other countries. I now Martina and Simon from EatYourKimchi mentioned once that if you're vegetarian or vegan you would have a hard time in South Korea finding food.
  2. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    I LOOOOVE their YouTube channel - sorry slightly off topic but they're so much fun!

    I have had vegetarian/vegan friends visit Japan and I know they used the Happy Cow site to find places. I think maybe in bigger cities it is easier since there's just more establishments and I guess maybe more acceptance of veganism/vegetarianism. I do think though with Japanese cuisine there are some vegetarian options such as veggie tempura, soba noodles, certain ramens that don't have meat in them...things like that :)
  3. Ava

    Ava Member

    I'm a vegetarian and while it's possible, you have to check everything as many sauces and broths are made with animal extracts. I used to live on vegetarian noodles a lot and the odd veggie burger in western hotels. I do eat eggs, so I could at least have an omelet, but these days there are more choices, but can be expensive.
  4. Corzhens

    Corzhens Active Member

    I am not a vegetarian but I have friends who are. However what they do is to check the country before traveling so they have a clear idea of the food landscape. I don't think there is a country in Asia that doesn't cater to Vegans. It's just a matter of finding the right restaurants.

    When you are in India you will have no problem with the vegan food because there are many vegans in India.
  5. Ava

    Ava Member

    I don't like curry and have allergies to spices, so I would struggle in India. People assume vegans all like spicy food and they don't! When I was in Nepal I did struggle a little and ended up with egg dishes and bread only as it was safer. I was adventurous and had a vegetable curry, only to be ill for the next 48 hours, so no, I will stick to basic plain food of noodles and rice.
  6. amelia88

    amelia88 Active Member

    That's definitely one problem I can see - the broths made with animal extracts. I know a ton of ramen broths in Japan are made with pork broth, so even if the ramen itself isn't topped with pork slices, it's still been cooked in the broth.

    Same goes for miso soup - you think it would be fine, but it's cooked with a broth made with bonito flakes which are dried fish!
  7. Ava

    Ava Member

    I found in Asia people don't see using meat stock as meat, and trying to explain it is very hard. Even some bread has animal fat in it, so you often don't know and labeling isn't common.
    I usually cook my own and ask just for soy sauce or chilli sauce with my noodles and no broth.
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2016
  8. I haven't traveled all over Asia so I cannot say whether it's possible to find vegetarian food everywhere. However, I have lived in Malaysia and Thailand. In these two countries, it's not too difficult to find vegetarian food. There are restaurants which are clearly marked as vegetarian. If you travel to Thailand or Malaysia during the festival of the Nine Emperor Gods, you will be able to savor a lot of vegetarian dishes. This festival is a nine-day Taoist event held at the beginning of the ninth lunar month. Since the lunar calendar is not in sync with the gregorian calendar we use, the date changes each year. This year, 2016, it is held in early October so it's too late to take part in this festival for this year. For next year, I have checked but not found any definite dates announced yet. It should be somewhere in September or October. This festival is celebrated in areas where there is a big Chinese community. On the last day of the festival, there is a procession where you can see many strange things like this one from Phuket: