Going on holiday can be a little tricky for vegans. Whenever I go out to a new restaurant, I usually try to look over their menu online beforehand, to ensure that there is a vegan option for me, or if there is a dish that can easily be ‘veganized’ (e.g. by asking for the cheese to be omitted from the dish). However, having to meticulously plan your holiday so that you will always be near a vegan-friendly restaurant can be very tedious, particularly if you like to have a bit of spontaneity in your holiday, like me! The best thing to do is to bring your own snacks and meals, if you have a cooler. However, I don’t have a cooler (yet), but I probably should get one, so I can make my holidays a bit more frugal too!
Some regions/countries are excellent for vegans e.g. Tuscany in Italy, where you can have Tuscan bean soup (probably one of my favourite foods ever), Tuscan beans on bread and pizzas (no cheese). Other places, such as Norway, are not very good at all, as well as being expensive (one restaurant I went into in Bergen was serving pizza at the equivalent of £30 – it wasn’t even a posh restaurant! Needless to say I didn’t eat there). In the Scottish highlands I ate lots of bread from the supermarket :S
So, what did I eat on the Isle of Wight?
- Breakfast: leftover homemade rice with avocado, blackeyed beans in a soy sauce, olive oil and balsamic vinegar.
- Lunch: pita bread with falafel, tomatoes and salad with sweet potato fries. Annoyingly, it wasn’t a homemade falafel (rather, it was likely that it was bought from a supermarket). Supermarket falafel almost always contain cumin. I don’t like cumin at all, so I was very disappointed with this meal. Also, it’s quite cheeky to serve supermarket food in a cafe, isn’t it? The sweet potato fries were very tasty
- Dinner: (starter) leek & potato soup – delicious! Main- butternut squash and aubergine masala with pilau rice, pita bread with a vegetable side (roast potatoes, carrots, parsnips & pickled red cabbage). I’m not a fan of butternut squash or aubergine, and the masala had so much cumin in it that I couldn’t eat it. As a rule I don’t eat Indian food unless it is served in an Indian restaurant, otherwise I almost always end up with an unfortunate cumin incident (ditto Mexican food). However, I didn’t have a choice, because the hotel only offered vegans the masala. Sigh. At least I had the roast veggies, which you can’t go wrong with.
- Breakfast: 2 hash browns, baked beans, 2 fried tomatoes, slice of toast with strawberry jam. This is pretty much what I ate at the B&Bs in the Scottish highlands, thought I’d often have fried mushrooms too. However, the hotel that I was staying at said that they fried the mushrooms in butter, so I couldn’t have any. Usually, hotels/B&Bs offer to fry some mushrooms in margarine for me, but this wasn’t the case with this hotel! (to be fair they were quite busy).
- Lunch: Baked potato with baked beans and salad.
- Dinner: tofu, vegetables (beansprouts, bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, carrots), mushrooms and noodles.
- Breakfast: 2 hash browns, baked beans, 2 fried tomatoes, slice of toast with strawberry jam
- Lunch: garlic humus, rosemary chiabatta bread, purred beetroot, pickled garlic, green olives, sundried tomatoes and sweet potato chips. Probably the tastiest meal I had on the island (though the garlic hummus had cumin in it, so I didn’t eat it).
- Dinner: pizza at home!
Do you find it difficult eating out when on holiday? Are there any particular spices or herbs that you hate? I hate cumin a lot, but I don’t feel comfortable asking waiters if dishes have cumin in them- it probably seems petty and strange! Additionally, I almost always have to ask a waiter if he/she can ask the chef if a certain dish is vegan, or if the chef can omit cheese from a certain dish, so that I wouldn’t want to bombard the waiter and chef questions about cumin!