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TRAVEL Hints and Tips Post your TIPS to travellers - all the interesting little tidbits you learned on the road about packing, where to get stuff, and how to cope with problems. Please make sure the subject describes the tip clearly!
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  #1  
Old 27 Oct 2007
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food for vegetarians in Africa

i'm surprised there's not many posts about food.

i'll eat chicken and rice any day of the week, but my wife is a vegetarian. Just wondering what the food situation is like at roadside restaurants or in cities....a little tongue in cheek here, but do they know what a vegetarian is in most places?

spanx,
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  #2  
Old 28 Oct 2007
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no meat...

All depends on where in africa of course.

People will not allways understand the concept of being vegitarian, but many people just can't afford meat every day...
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  #3  
Old 28 Oct 2007
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Don't feed her for a week and then put a Big Fat Juicy Steak in front of her, she will eat it.

I had the same kind of problem with my GF in Thaliand last year, in the end it meant that we couldn't go were I wanted to take her, she wouldn't eat anything local, me I eat anything locust, spider, mistery meat on a stick, even ate dog in Cambodia.

It did spoil my trip as I wanted to go exploring with her, just so that she didn't just see only the nasty touristy places and could meet some good honest local people. I had to wait until she went home before I started to get to all the small villages up north, well worth the trip but one she will miss all her life becuase she was too picky.

Remember you can take military type ration packs with you if you have a stove and a little room (they do very nice veggie dishes), you might not always get good quality fruit and veg on the trip so take dehydrated filling type food with you for those just incase times, and take a few bottles of multi-vitamins.
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  #4  
Old 6 Nov 2007
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They have lots of horses and sheep that eat grass and stuff. So I'm sure they know about vegetarians. (only kidding)

Africa is a big place and the food is as diverse as the people and the climate. As long as your wife's attitude is one of adapting to the peoples and countries who are hosting her, instead of demanding that the world changes around her needs, she will be fine!

In cities you are bound to find 'the usual' fare, i.e. dishes which contain meat, but that can be served without. Any processed food will be hard to eliminate basics like gelatine and rennet - labelling laws are not the same as in the west.

At worst, she will be able to fill up on the staple grains: couscous / corn etc. and get vitamins etc. from fruit, nuts etc.

I guess there aren't many posts about food - because as visitors to other people's homes and beatiful countries, we all just eat what we can get and what we are offered by our hosts. Especially in Africa, where sharing food with people who hardly have enough to feed themselves is a special honour - being 'picky' would be an insult.

I don't know your wife's reasons for being a vegetarian, but it may be an eye opener for her to see how lucky she is to make a lifestyle choice based on what food she likes - in Africa eating meat is survival, not choice.
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  #5  
Old 6 Nov 2007
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Someone ask Lois. She's a veggie.
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  #6  
Old 7 Nov 2007
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Veggie delights!

Hello,
I have lived in east Africa as a vegan for a year and had no problem at all. There are always non meat options in local places although sometimes yo might have to check out a few because they normally do not have everything on the menue in stock. Options are beans, rice, plantains, posho (in Ugnada also called Ugali etc etc its a maize porrage thing) plus always an abundance of fresh fruit and veggies in the market... tip: always have a knife handy because you NEED to peel if you are not cooking them. make sure to specify what vegetarian means to you "i don't eat meat" generally means pig goat and cow tell them i do not eat meat or chicken or fish and you will be ok... if you must just tell them its for religious reasons and in most places people will go out of their way to accomidate you.

- Sean
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  #7  
Old 13 Nov 2007
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Also

In terms of 'being pickey' and taking what is offered you, being culturally sensitive etc, yes it caqn be a very minor problem, this being said, if you know you are going to a place to eat with a family or a situation like that, it comes as a major relief that they will not have to purchase meat on your account. Meat is expencive and most people in villages, atleast in east africa do not eat it often. When a visitor comes, escially a foreign visitor, they feel the need to go over the top in terms of what is prepared and while they are only too glad to do it and evryone has a good time, it can come as a major financial blow to the family to have spend such a sum on quanitiys of meat. I had many people quietly thank me for being such a cheep guest and for not expecting an expencive meal. Some did feel bad about 'serving you such a poor poor meal' but were very reassured when i enjoyed the beans and bananas so much and demonstrated my gratutude for such generosity.
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  #8  
Old 15 Nov 2007
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thanks uganda bike...that's really great info. We have been grateful guests at many homes in latin america and i'm sure it's the same amongst the poor in africa...they've give you their last plate of beans and rice with a smile. we always try and share whatever we have. kids get a big kick out of pancakes and honey!!

BTW...are you from Uganda....?

peace,
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