Vegan in Lisboa

Well here’s another adventure of eating abroad. This time I was off to Lisboa. I was slightly concerned because Lisboa is known for it’s variety of fish dishes. So like always I packed a few packets of bars, shake mixes, and almond butter packets. Fortunately, I had no need to use any of them because finding vegan cuisine was quite easy and the people that were hosting me were amazing at finding places.

Here’s a few of the places specifically for vegetarians and vegans.

Tibetanos – Great little restaurant. I would suggest reservations they were packed! Many dishes are seitan or tofu based. The owner of the restaurant was very nice and seemed to stop by to each table to make sure everyone was enjoying their experience.

Terra – Great buffet! Fully vegan. Delicious apple crisp to end the meal. They also seemed to operate more off of reservations, but they were accommodating to walk-ins. There were a few tofu dishes but mostly seemed to be carefully and creatively cooked vegetables. I can’t even remember exactly what I had but all of it was delicious!!!

Jardim doSentidos – Full menu of vegetarian and vegan options. I had a delicious pumpkin pancake as an appetizer with a warm salad as my entree. The salad had field greens topped with sauteed veggies and a vinaigrette. Serving sizes were quite big and could have fed two people.

Natraj – Great Indian restaurant. Serve people of all palettes. My favorite vegan Indian dish is Channa Masala with Roti (sans butter). This place had one of the best Channa dishes I’ve had in a really long time!

I wish I remembered to grab the business cards of all the places I ate because honestly every place was accommodating and vegan friendly. I  would love to hear from other vegans that have traveled to Lisboa and what experience they had eating there. These two thoughts always cross my mind when traveling

1. Am I missing something by not partaking in the cultural dining experience? I find that I get to experience a different side of the culture while dining, mostly how hospitable people are.

2. It’s okay if something sneaks into my diet. I can’t expect others to manage my diet like I do and especially with a language barrier understand everything I say I don’t want in my meal.

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Cooking Hiatus: South Africa

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So it’s been another cooking hiatus due to international traveling. This time I was off visiting the Beautiful country of South Africa. As I had traveled internationally before I was less worried about eating and finding vegan friendly foods. I have come to have a system of bars, vegan dry snacks, and protein powder in my luggage as a back up. Surprisingly, I did not have to explain my dietary needs. There were plenty of options, since everything was fresh. Mostly, I ate pasta with tomato sauce, avocados, tomatoes, and fresh fruit. In addition, of the restaurants we went to there was soya products offered to replace the meat products in salads and on sandwiches. The people were very helpful as well. I spoke with numerous chefs that were sent out to me, without my requesting to do so, in order to get my needs met correctingly. Also, if I asked for the cheese removed the waiters asked if I did eat any dairy and helped identify other ingredients that I should avoid.

Outside of food, I got to see some amazing places and scenery: Table Mountain – such a gorgeous and peaceful view. It’s easily accessible form the hop on hop off bus tour and it a can’t miss. You can spend hours walking in different directions seeing the varied views of the country and coast line.

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Apartheid Museum – such an inspirational and emotional journey through the country’s past.

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Constitutional Hill

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Kruger National Park – I can’t even express how amazing the Safari was. As an animal lover to be able to observe animals in their natural environment was a gift. And to top it off, I got to see this little 6 month baby elephant!! We saw 4 of the “big 5” while on Safari. The leopard remained hidden on our two day adventure.

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Maropeng – The cradle of human kind leaves you contemplating how to leave this world a better place on various levels (social, political, humanity and environmentally).

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and Wine Country.

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Cooking Hiatus

Well I have been on a cooking hiatus these past weeks with an international trip and wedding. Soooo… this brings me a topic I wanted to share, as well as see what others have experienced – Traveling while being vegan or on a special diet. IMG_1852

Last year, I had a great opportunity to travel to Lima, Peru. First, it was right in the beginning of my transition to a vegan diet, which brought on some worry about what to eat during the trip. Secondly, I was concerned about the limitation it might put on my experience of the culture and traditional food. On previous trips out of the country, I’ve been a pretty experimental and adventurous eater in trying the local cuisine. In Peru, I stayed pretty safe with eating plain rice, fruits, and vegetables. Although, I did taste the local “chica morada”, which was quite delicious, but super sweet.  During my visit, I tried explaining my dietary needs to the restaurant servers. On one instance, I ordered rice. When I got it, I took a bite and bit right into chicken fat. Apparently, the rice was cooked with chicken and then it is removed. I think it’s important (at least for me as a vegan) to remember that it’s okay if this happens. Even in the states, something may “sneak” into my meal. For me, it’s about me making a conscious effort to not eat those products. Other cultures may not be accustomed to the variety of dietary needs, like in the United States. Many times, I found that there was no word for vegan in Spanish – it was equal to vegetarian. Therefore, I had to define it all over the place. 

1376607_737727571580_1060348170_nMore recently, I traveled to Accra, Ghana. This trip I was more prepared with bars and snacks in my luggage. In addition, I threw out the idea that I was going to try and define veganism and just ask about ingredients. First, I think this trip was a lot easier because a primary language spoken was English. Also, from the people I was traveling with, I learned that many sauces are prepared with some meat cooking in it as well. I was able to eat their local fried rice, lentil soup, and french fries. A week into the trip, I got a little more daring and tasted the Banku (basically a corn meal dough ball) with vegetable stew. By being able to taste a traditional meal, I felt that I was still able to experience pieces of the culture that I thought I would miss out on as a vegan.

It’s definitely an ongoing learning process for eating abroad. If traveling while being vegan, I would suggest learning the words for butter, milk, chicken, beef, and other limitations to your diet in the language of the country you are visiting (if possible). There’s also an downloadable application called Vegan Please! that has the translation for something along these lines in German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Italian: I am vegan. I don’t eat any meat or fish. That includes products containing milk, egg, and gelatin. Thank you.

I’ll be back to cooking and posting recipes within the next couple of days, but any thoughts about traveling while adhering to specific dietary restrictions or needs?