Dietary restrictions and food
allergies are a current issue in the United States! Supermarkets
everywhere are developing specialty sections to serve the needs of
their consumers. While this food revolution may not be taking
place all over the world, it is certainly manageable during your
Always Ask Before you Eat!
No matter where in the world you
are, allergies can pose a serious problem in deciding
what to eat. The more foreign a cuisine is, the more cautious you
should be when ordering a meal. Never assume anything about food
based off of its visual apprearance. ALWAYS ask your server if the
food you order contains foods you are allergic
Some tips to keep in mind:
- Learn the foreign word for the food(s)
you are allergic to so you can easily spot it on a
- Learn how to say, "I am allergic to..."
or "Does this have any.." in the local language.
- If you are nervous about speaking in the
local language, have the phrases listed above written out on an
index card stating your allergies. (This is a great thing to carry
around in your wallet!)
- Research popular local cuisine
before your departure.
Halal and Kosher
More and more European cities are facing an influx of
immigrants, which brings a new diversity to the local food scene.
If you have any dietary restrictions that require you to eat kosher
or halal, the best places to find these foods are at local markets
or neighborhoods with a strong immigrant presence. Check out the
"STJ Destinations" section for recommendations on where to look in
Preparing to be a Vegetarian or
If everyone in the world was
vegetarian, this wouldn't be a problem... but in a foreign country
this can be a challenge. As a vegetarian,
you are used to being cautious when ordering food.
Not only is this task sometimes difficult in the United States,
now imagine having to do it in a foreign country where you
don’t speak the language! The best way to avoid accidently eating
meat or fish is to be prepared. Prior to traveling, learn how to
say “I’m a vegetarian” or, “ Is there meat in this?” Knowing just a
few phrases will be a huge help when deciding what to eat. In
addition, you should also be aware that no matter how much you try
to avoid eating meat, based on the experience of other world
traveling vegetarians, there is a 99% chance that you will
accidently eat meat at least once during your travels.
"Accidentally eating meat was definitely not on my to do list
while I was abroad, but as I sat on a bathroom floor in Poland
crying for thirty minutes I realized that although I couldn’t take
it back, at least I could say it happened in Poland. " -
Katie, Rome Semester
Want to find Vegetarian Restaurants around
Take a look at Happy Cow!
Global Views of Vegetarians and
Depending on the country that you
are in, various cultures will have different perceptions on what it
means to be a vegetarian. Some cultures may not even have a word
for "vegetarian" and an explanation is often required. Learning to
say, "I don't eat meat" and "I don't eat fish" is extremly
useful in these situtations. Cultures where the majority of the
cuisine is based around meat can often be frustrating as well as
decieving. An example of this can be seen in many Eastern and
Central European countries, where meat is a staple part of their
diet. If you order something such as spatzel (A soft egg noodle) in
Germany, it often comes drenched in beef stock, which isnt always
mentioned on the menu. Cultures that are not as familiar with
vegetarianism and veganism may not consider meat broths a form of
meat, so always double check before digging in!
What are the Vegetarian Staples Abroad?
Okay, so now that you've been warned about how easy it is to eat
meat, what are the "safe foods" that you can depend on that are
still delicous? We've got you covered!
In Paris, try out the...
Delicious falafel sandwiches at L'As du Fallafel on Rue de
Cheese or sweet crêpes
Fresh baguettes with cheese and fresh veggies
In Rome, sink your teeth into...
Rice balls-- especially the spinach and cheese ones
Veggie pizzas: there are too many toppings to choose from
In Seville, snack on...
Tortilla de patatas, a Spanish omlette with egg and potatoes
Escalivada, a grilled vegetable salad
Churro: the best fried dough you'll ever try (eat with hot