As a vegetarian, I have survived around the world without having to eat meat. There has been occasions due to the lack of understanding of the contents or the culture, I have inadvertently eaten meat, Like in Thai Dishes, fish sauce is a common ingredient, even if only vegetables were used to make up the dish.
Indian vegetarians are about 20 to 40 percent because the latter number if ovo-lacto vegetarians are included, which means we are pretty much the minority. Tomorrow if you were to travel, where would you be? you will surprised with some of the countries in this list below.
1. Israel – 15 percent of population are vegetarians, vegan eateries are common. If it were left to me, I would survive on falafels all day.
2. Taiwan: sects of buddhism and taoism have people who are vegetarians. One in Ten are vegetarians here. 10 percent. It is said almost all eateries serve vegetarian food.
3. England – 6 percent of the population are vegetarians.
4. China – Buddhism influence about 4 to 5 percent of Chinese are vegetarians.
5. Germany – 9 percent of population as vegetarians
6. Italy – 10 percent over 6 million people are vegetarians! Highest for EU.
7. Sweden – 10% are vegetarians. Out of which 4 percent are vegans.
8. Brazil – 5 percent of the population, with cities like Sao Paulo close to 15 percent. Mostly counter culture punks contribute to vegetarianismo
Australia, US and Canada have around 3 to 4 percent of population as vegetarians.The most vegan friendly city in Europe is Glasgow!
Coming to what you can order safely, I am drilling down to specific dishes meat lovers wouldn’t ask for, from the most popular in my opinion (where even a meat eater would happily substitute his meat) to the last one, which wouldn’t be a deal breaker.
1. Margherita Pizza – Pizza in its most basic form (Tomato Sauce, Mozzarella Cheese) and how it was intended to be. Simple, universal and delicious, has to be the most popular veggie Dish in the world in my opinion. Something you can find in any country if there is a pizza place. (yes, there are vegan mozzarella, Yeast free crust.. the whole works available everywhere)
2. Falafel: The ultimate vegetarian food for even meat eaters around the world (outside India), so good and so versatile, Falafel burgers are going to be life savers for most of the vegetarians outside of India, west of Middle East.
3. Eggs: As a vegetarian traveller, it is a life saver, load up on eggs during breakfast and you can survive till dinner on fruits. (whether egg is vegetarian in India, is an ongoing debate, so I will leave it up to the critics, commercially produced eggs are don’t contain live embryo, so I consider them vegetarian) One week in Vietnam a few years ago, I managed a steady diet of eggs, beer and fruits!
4. Pasta: Won’t let you down, simplest Aglio Olio or a penne Arabiatta, or a pasta salad, These are vegetarian options meat lovers wouldn’t mind. Again an option that works morning noon and night!
5. Tofu: A meat substitute in Asian Cuisine, if you are stuck in Eastern hemisphere. Anything you need to order, noodles, soups, rice, substitute the mean with Tofu, you are good.