To celebrate National Vegetarian Week, eurochange is delving into the realm of veggie grub from around the world.
So, in no particular order, here are our top five veggie delights. If you get distracted while reading, that’s just our bellies grumbling over the internet.
One of the best things about travelling throughout Brazil, after the waterfalls, the beaches, the jungles and the football…is the food. Brazil has a wealth of options for foodie fans and while many of them are meat-based, the vegetarian option, especially in the south of the country is extensive and easy to find.
Trying to save money on holiday is always a task, but if you are looking to try a little of everything, there are few better options than visiting the prevalent buffet or ‘Por kilo’ restaurants. The idea is either; you pay a one-off charge of approximately R$10-15 or pay for the weight of your dish. The one-off payment means you can return as often as your belly will allow.
An array of food is available, ranging from your regular salad, to sushi, on to a variety of rice, pasta and noodle dishes, then to the vegetarian feijoada and the deserts (of which there are many).
Feijoada is traditionally a meat dish, containing rice, black beans and a chef’s choice of meats, but a simple ‘no-meat’ version is readily available and very tasty.
If you’re not looking for a big meal, which in Brazil is the lunchtime meal, then snacks such as Pão de Queijo (fluffy, cheese balls) are great for the traveller on the move and are now being sold in well-known British supermarkets and bakeries.
You’ve all heard of it and many may have turned-their-noses-up-at-it, but Borscht is a staple meal and as such has been built-on over the years (like the Brazilian Feijoada) and has sustained the Russian nation throughout generations. Originally a Ukrainian dish, Borscht is a red beet soup, derived from cabbage, potatoes and usually beef – but if you leave it out, it loses little taste. If you’re lucky, you can find a restaurant that makes the most of this ‘Peasant dish’, hollowing-out a large bread loaf and pouring the soup inside; a similar technique can be found in Brazil for their Feijoada.
If you’re doing the foodie trek through the country, don’t forget the Blini, a Russian pancake, more like crepes and as tasty as it sounds; the Sharlotka Pie – apple pie to you and I, and, well; vodka – it’s vegetarian too don’t you know.
Italian Stuffed Pasta
is possibly the best place to visit for a succinct and all-encompassing vegetarian experience. Pasta based dishes are one of the truly adaptable meals, open to meat and vegetable medleys, all manner of sauces and accompaniment. One of our favourites is the wild mushroom stuffed ravioli, possibly because it’s freely available pre-made in one or all national supermarkets, but also because when lathered with a cheesy sauce, it’s heaven.
Finding the best and most budget-friendly places to eat in Italy isn’t easy, but a trip onto an ex-pat page on Facebook can be very helpful. A good rule-of-thumb is to steer clear of the tourist traps; eat as far away from the monuments as your belly rumble will allow and don’t be afraid to ask the staff what they recommend for the traveller with only a few euros
in their pocket.
It sounds like a stereotype, but Swiss fondue is more than a meal, it’s an experience. A flaming portable stove is placed in the centre of the table, a communal pot of cheese is deposited and using the provided long-stemmed forks, the diners stick and dip until their hearts and bellies are content. Food available for dipping depends on what you have chosen from the menu, but generally you’ll dip bread, potatoes, pickles, even more cheese if you’re a cheese-aficionado. Remember to leave room for dessert; chocolate and fruits – dipped and double-dipped.
Fondue is popular in the South Brazilian mountain town of Gramado, Rio Grande do Sul; chocolate and cheese varieties are readily available.
has a wonderful array of vegetarian dishes for all to sample and whether you are a vegetarian or not, they’re well worth your time. With more varieties that you can shake a pair of chopsticks at, the sushi roll is freely available, even in some vending machines, although these might not be the freshest.
Sushi is any dish that is made with vinegared sushi rice and usually rolled in Nori (seaweed). Now that sounds clear and simple, but there is a wealth of detail and knowledge behind Sushi, Sashimi and all the other variants.
Here is our very brief guide to the varieties of Maki Sushi;
Hosomaki - rice on inside, nori on the outside
Chumaki - rice on inside, nori on the outside
Futomaki - rice on inside, nori on the outside
Uramaki - rice on outside, nori on the inside
Temaki - cone-shaped roll)
Look at the menu (preferably one with at least a little English underneath the description) and choose the dish that looks tastiest. Be aware that while many meals are vegetarian, a lot are also fish-based.