If you are a vegetarian, you are either going to be inspired or disgusted by this article, but either way, you will likely have pondered a similar quandary: What is the best way to deal with vegetarianism during travel to a very different (read: “meaty”) culture?
Colin is a vegetarian and has been for years, chiefly for health reasons: veggies are healthier than meat, especially processed meat. Then we bought our China plane tickets for this summer, and Colin made the decision: like an Olympic athlete, he would go into intensive Meat Eating Training in order to be able to eat anything and everything that came his way in China!
“I don’t want to be left out of the cultural experience!” Colin declared, rubbing his belly in anticipation.
And so the training began.
Colin began by eating bites of chicken pizza that his friends and loved ones ordered. Then he began sharing meat dishes. Then he went ALL OUT and came with me to a haggis-eating party in Boston. (Click here for hilarious photos.) For those of you unaware, haggis is “a bunch of lamb parts cooked in a sheep’s stomach.” It was on that day that one of my blog readers commented, indignant: “THAT MAN IS NOT A VEGETARIAN.”
Clearly, Colin was ready for China.
What I didn’t anticipate was that Colin was even more ready for China meat than me! Here are some of the amazing beasts this man consumed, thus proving the thoroughness of his training:
1. Duck feet (pictured in the lead photo, like evil witch hands).
2. Tail of pig. (I told Colin I would eat it with him, and even lifted a piece with my chopsticks… but just couldn’t do it! Colin, however, did. Respect!)
3. Squid tentacle (dipped in hot oil).
4. A McDonald’s Hamburger for breakfast. (This was not our choice! Read the Great Wall Hike article by clicking here to find out why.)
5. A shrimp with the full head and beady eyes still intact. (See the 16-hour train article for photos of this little guy.)
6. Lots and lots of pork and meat nuggets, in everything, whether we asked for them or not. (Even green beans are cooked in China with chunks of meat!)
Frankly (take that as a hot dog reference), we have no idea what we would have done if Colin had not undergone his Olympic Meat-Eating training. He would have been sad, hungry, and sick of rice by the end of our trip. His pre-trip regimen paid off! And now he’s going to detox for the next six months.
Vegetarians, what’s YOUR tactic during meat-ful travels?
The author, Lillie Marshall, is 6-foot-tall National Board Certified Teacher of English, fitness fan, and mother of two who has been a public school educator since 2003. She launched Around the World “L” Travel and Life Blog in 2009, and over 3.7 million readers have now visited this site. Lillie also runs TeachingTraveling.com and DrawingsOf.com. Subscribe to her monthly newsletter, and follow @WorldLillie on social media!