Being vegan in other countries? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 12-01-2006, 01:27 PM
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I live in England, but in a year or two I plan to take a gap year and spend a few months of it travelling and mostly volunteering, hopefully with children. The areas I'm edging towards the most are Cambodia, Vietnam, etc, but I'm also considering South Afica. I've heard that being vegan is comparatively easy in Africa as there are loads of vegetable based dishes and I had little trouble when I visited Kenya a while ago, but what about the parts of Asia I'm looking at (I've never visted them before)?

I'd really like for my diet not to interfer with this, as helping people and children in hard by places is something that means just as much to me as veganism. It'd be good to be able to consider what I'll be able to get hold of instead of turning up and having a fit because all there is is meat dishes

And maybe a more general question - How do you feel about easing up on trace ingredients on trips like this? Obviously the language barrier will be something, and as I won't be in areas as developed as the West there won't be such comprehensive ingredients on anything I get in a packet.

- I don't expect a full list of vegan meals, I just want to hear ideas and also any experiences other vegans have had on travels like this (away from the nice hotel side of town)
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#2 Old 12-02-2006, 06:23 PM
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I don't know if you've ever been to Asia, but I get the impression that the difficultly there is that vegetarianism isn't as common as it is in North America or Europe and people aren't as familiar with it. ??? I've only been to Japan and I found it difficult because fish and to a lesser extent other meats are often found in dishes where it's not readily apparent, for example as broth. Friends have given me the impression that China is a hard place to be vegetarian, but who knows.

That said, my dad's wife grew up in Laos, which is of course closer to the parts of Asia you're interested in, and she never has problems making me vegan things. Granted, they got married after I left for college, so she doesn't make me food all the time.

I have done an abroad volunteering program where the volunteers were almost all english, american, european or canadian, and they were used to seeing a lot of vegetarians, so it was no problem. I'm sure that once you look closer at different programs you can ask them about eating vegan whereever you'll be staying. Unless of course you're meant to be feeding yourself.
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#3 Old 12-03-2006, 11:48 AM
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The easiest way to stay vegan while travelling is to cook your own meals. And if you're backpacking and volunteering you'll be staying in hostels and similar where you have access cooking facilities. And even if you don't have a kitchen you can do 'flask cooking' where you prepare your own meals in a thermos/flask that only require hot water.

For eating out while on the move, you'll most likely be eating street food as its cheaper. And street food you actually watch being cooked in front of you so you can tell if its veggie or not.

Pick up a copy of the vegan passport for communication and be prepared for strange looks as tourist orientated businesses are used to selling higher priced meat based meals to tourists than simple vegetarian fare.

And there are 6 vegetarian or veggie friendly restaurants in Cambodia: and 26 in Vietnam: and those are just the ones listed.

A good plan is to study the native cuisine of where you are visiting to learn about what local dishes are naturally vegetarian and which ones are not. You can then order food that is familiar to restaurant chefs without confusing them with vegetarian/veganism. Ordering Num Ta Leng Sap or Salor Kor-Ko Sap is easier then having a philisophical discussion with a waiter that only speaks a few words of english. Also, visit Cambodian/Vietnamese or whatever restaurants in England to see what kind of foods are offered. There are some excellent Vietnamese restaurants in London on Kingsland road. I eat at Cay Tre once a week!
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#4 Old 12-03-2006, 02:59 PM
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How does one get involved with volunteering abroad?

I'm English, male, university educated.
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#5 Old 12-03-2006, 04:48 PM
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Originally Posted by lachry View Post

How does one get involved with volunteering abroad?

I'm English, male, university educated.

You can start off by looking at The site is a portal listing hundreds if not thousands of volunteer opportunities and useful tips. Also check out and search for volunteer opportunities by country or interest.
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