Being a vegetarian in Spain can be a bit of a nightmare at worst and a daunting pot luck at best. If you are going out to eat you will have to prepare yourself for looks from waiters and waitresses like you are from another planet as well as being served fish and ham unless you specifically tell them you don't eat these either.
For some reason Spaniards do not class fish and ham as meat (go figure!?). It 's also wise to realise that an awful lot of Spanish food will contain meat in some form or other, such as soups and sauces.
Forewarned is fore armed however and I have compiled a list of do’s and don'ts to make your vegetarian eating out experience be as enjoyable as possible.
Most towns, certainly cities, have vegetarian restaurants which are definitely worth seeking out first and foremost. If not then you will be able to order a good selection of vegetarian dishes in any Chinese or Indian restaurant. www.happycow.net provides an invaluble resource for locating vegetarian restaurants all over the world, with the advantage of them being reviewed by real life people who have actually been and eaten in these places.
Locally in Torrevieja I can personally recommend Restaurante Vegetariano in the town, and the Spice Hut in Quesada. Though the Spice Hut is no longer 100% vegetarian all vegetarian items are cooked separately from meat and it is an excellent compromise if you are in a group with meat eaters.
If, however you're determined to eat in a Spanish restaurant then there are one or two pointers I can advise you about. You will have to be as specific as possible when ordering your food as it seems the concept of not eating meat and fish is relatively new to our Spanish friends.
Even being as specific as possible when ordering, it's still a bit of a gamble. Pasta, which is usually a safe bet for vegetarians, is often cooked in meat stock so you will want to check this with the waiter/waitress. I have even been known to inform staff of certain restaurants that I don't eat meat or fish because I have a severe allergy to them - so it is paramount that no traces of either are present in anything I order.
A bit extreme you might think but sometimes I'm just not in the mood for being looked at like I'm from the planet Glob. A lot of seemingly vegetable dishes will contain meat or fish in one form or another:- soups, stews, sauces etc. Even if marked on the menu as sopa de verduras (vegetable soup) or sandwich vegetal (vegetable sandwich) they will more than likely contain ham, soup will undoubtedly be made using meat stock and even a simple plain salad will be smothered in tuna which a lot of waiters and waitresses will fail to point out to you.
Written by: eNet Computers
About the author:
eNET Computers - Torrevieja based computer company on the Costa Blanca
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