Greeting from Vietnam!
In this particular post, I would like to touch on the topic of having dietary restrictions and travelling abroad. For many of us, one of the primary reasons why we chose the country we are currently living in is due to the culture of food. Food is a substance that not only nourishes an individual internally, but it also nourishes the collective externally. It has the social element of bringing people together. However, at times it can feel as if food with respect to dietary restrictions can pull you away from people. Those who have diestray restrictions know how wary you have to be when travelling somewhere unfamiliar to you, let alone anywhere familiar to you about cross contamination and foodbourne-illness.
Being a vegetarian in Vietnam has been relatively easy, but there have been some challenges in terms of misunderstanding and micommunicating. For instance, there are some conceptions that vegetarianism is the practice of eating as minimal meat as possible. Because of some misunderstandings and miscommunicatings that I have encountered, I wish to share a couple pieces of advice for those who may either be experiencing this momentarily or are concerned that they may experience this in the future.
The first piece of advice I have is to search ahead of time where you can eat. A simple Google search consisting of "vegetarian food near me" can save you the time (and sometimes the headache) of figuring our whether or not you can actually eat somewhere with other people. The second piece of advice is having data on your phone. Although many places do have wifi for you to use, it's good to have data on your phone just in case there isn't. You can use the Google translate option to communicate with your waiter or waitress in case there is a language barrier. You can ensure that what you are hoping to receive is exactly that. My third piece of advice that was provided to me by other travellers I have encountered during my time in Vietnam is downloading allergen and dietary restriction-specific "passports" on your mobile phone. This allows the passport holder to have a digital copy of a document that includes both written and visual languages of what allergens and dietary restrictions they have that can be shown to the individuals who are preparing your food.
Thank you reading. I hope this information is found to be useful to those who are either facing these difficulties or are concerned that they will. Safe travels and delicious eats to you all!