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Eating Vegetarian in Cambodia

I won’t talk about how I felt about Cambodia, it’s a blog post for another day, I’m here to talk about the food, and the food is good.

I was on a pretty tight budget so I often found I was limited to just fried rice or noodles. When I was willing to spend a little more money I found there was plenty of delicious vegetarian food all across Cambodia. Some parts of Cambodia are very tourist friendly, there are downsides to this but a positive for veggies is there’s often a ‘vegetarian’ section in menus or even a little green V next to meat free meals.

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Imma let you finish, but this was the most delicious curry of all time!

There are definitely more cheap options than just noodles and rice, baguettes are everywhere! If you’re a cheese lover you’ll be hooked on the sheer amount of fresh baguettes you can buy.

You might even rekindle your childhood as the sound of the ice cream man ringing his distinctive bell as he pulls up outside your hostel selling ice cream baguettes!

I had one of the best curries of my life in a vegetarian restaurant  in Phnom Penh, I’ve since tried, and failed, to repeat it at home. Phnom Penh isn’t for everyone, I actually loved the city life. I  enjoyed all the cities I visited in Asia, there was so much life everywhere, it sent my imagination running wild.

The next stop was Sihanoukville and by this point I was fed up of noodles and rice so I did end up giving in to the temptation of chips and to be honest I ate a lot of junk during my time there, once you’ve visited I think you’ll understand how easy it is to do so.

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Reasonably healthy by Sihanoukville standards

By this point in my trip I was pretty confident I could order vegetarian food, even though I still hadn’t learnt the phrase for meat free. I’d attempted ‘Aht Saight’ which is supposed to mean meat free but it got me nowhere, tofu was pretty well understood and it normally gives a good idea you’re going for something without meat.

If you had any more luck with phrases, let me know in the comments.

 

 

 

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Eating Vegetarian in Bangkok Thailand

I have some bad news for travellers on a budget, cheap vegetarian options in Bangkok are pretty limited. The upside is that the phrase for vegetarian is pretty easily understood but it usually led to a sympathetic ‘No’ from street vendors.

You’ll find a lot more choices in restaurants with vegetarian options even clearly listed in some places.

I found it pretty easy to let people know you don’t eat animals, the main phrase you need is ‘Jay’, said like ‘yeah’.

If you’re feeling confident then the full phrase that worked best was –

Gin Jay My

Gin isn’t pronounced like the drink, you have to stress the G, not like Jin and extend the my to sound like myyy which basically means i eat vegetarian.

If you’re on a budget, it’s worth noting there’s plenty of delicious fresh fruit available on stalls all around Bangkok, so you shouldn’t ever be left too hungry.

 

Eating Vegetarian in Myanmar (Burma)

Myanmar is a beautiful country, I spent my time there in awe of the scenery and touched by the kindness of the people I encountered. Before I arrived, I knew the country had relatively recently opened up to tourism, I was worried that western diets might not be fully understood, luckily I was proven very wrong.

Eating vegetarian in Myanmar is easy!

The phrase for vegetarian is ‘thet thet luh’, it wasn’t very successful, most likely because of my pronunciation, saying vegetarian worked just fine. The english in Myanmar is very good so I didn’t have any problems. If you can’t find any options, shay restaurants offer great vegetarian food.

One of the perks of a lack of tourist infrastructure is that we were looked after pretty well in the guest houses. The breakfast was bountiful and it wasn’t unusual to find this much to eat in the morning and all meat free.

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I’ve included a few pictures of the food I ate, on the whole it was cheap (less than $2 a meal), delicious and so varied. I can’t recommend tomato salads enough, they’re a vivid peanut covered fresh tomato masterpiece! I became a little obsessed with them.

 

I can’t recommend visiting Myanmar highly enough and it’s a paradise for vegetarians, so what are you waiting for? Get going!

 

Should you become a Vegetarian?

“So what made you turn vegetarian then?”

If you do decide to stop eating meat be prepared to hear this a lot, it’s often asked by people who are actually curious but occasionally someone can’t wait to spew some nonsense about their views on vegetarianism.

To answer the question and if you are considering eating less meat or cutting it out of your diet completely, I stopped because of this documentary – Earthlings.

 

It’s an hour and a half long and it’s definitely worth a watch. You can draw your own conclusions from the documentary but what I took from it was that if you take part in any kind of degradation of animals on any level then you also support the really horrible stuff we do as well. You can’t say it’s ok to eat a beef burger because it asserts that you are better than a cow, which you aren’t and if you’re better than a cow and can own it why can’t you do what you want with it and why just stop with cows? Surely all animals are fair game for us to use for our own personal gain.

I’d never been asked why I ate meat, but why not? Start to ask yourself why you think it’s ok to eat another animal, would it be ok to eat a human? Were animals too don’t forget! I recently heard a fact that got me thinking. Our genetic make up is 96% similar to great Apes, look at how much more complex we are than them but our DNA is almost identical. Imagine if there were a species in space that had another 4% difference, how undeveloped would we seem? Would it be ok for that species to test on us, to breed us in cages and use us for their scientific study, do our emotions not mean anything just because they deem them to be primitive? It could easily be us bread for our milk and flesh in a different world, it’s not that difficult to consider.

 

If you want some other good documentaries, I’d recommend ‘Forks over Knives’, take a look at the trailer and get hold of the film, it’s a really interesting watch.

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