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Monday, November 25, 2013

Vegetarian Dining in the UK and Ireland

Alisha McDarris


Sometimes the idea of traveling to faraway nations and sampling their local cuisine can be intimidating, especially for vegetarians. You start to wonder when you’ll eat, if you’ll eat, where you’ll eat, and will there be a single item on the menu for you. Well, if it’s the U.K. or Ireland you’re traversing to, put your mind at ease because vegetarian options abound.

We found when dining out at restaurants there were usually at least a few options on the menu that didn’t contain meat, many of which were even marked with an asterisk or the letter “V” to signify this fact. I enjoyed grilled veggie sandwiches, vegetable pizza, soup, wraps, you name it. I never had a hard time finding something to eat. We were there in the fall when it was beginning to get quite chilly, so I was thrilled to see that most every restaurant offered at least one vegetarian soup, which cannot always be said for restaurants in the U.S.

For quick meals and snacks on the go, convenience stores and small groceries are even a valid option. While in the U.S. you might have to scan through countless ingredient labels to find a product with no animal products, in Ireland, England and Scotland items are marked clearly with a big green “V” for vegetarian. This includes sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, you name it.

But my favorite thing about eating in these countries was the cheese. I don’t eat it often at home because vegetarian cheese (cheese made without animal enzymes) is hard to find and most of it is from factory farmed animals, which I don’t wish to support. But every time I picked up a package in a market or grocery store, there was that big, beautiful green “V.” Plus, factory farms are less prolific in that part of the world.

Of course, if you’re a vegetarian, you will be missing out on some of the more authentic dishes like black and white pudding, lamb stew, full Irish breakfasts and Scottish haggis, but if you’re like me, not partaking in those, uh, delicacies, is hardly missing out.

So if you’re a vegetarian embarking upon an adventure to these European islands, fear not. You will eat well, indeed.

Alisha McDarris / Author & Editor

Alisha has been a writer and photographer forever. OK, maybe not forever, but at least for more of her 20-something years than she hasn’t been those things... [Read More]

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