MenU; the travelling vego

Before launching full tilt into the vagaries of being vegetarian on the trot, a follow up to the previous lament regarding the dearth of decent Indian restaurants in Scotland. As happens when writing as if to a diary, the fullness of the argument doesn't always emerge and also, it must be remembered, this is a personal view. There are plenty folk, clearly, who enjoy what is put in front of them.

In pondering this post and having mentioned one place in Edinburgh that I felt comes some way to meet the requirements of this blogger, it was decided that a proper search had not been carried out on the dhabas of Glasgow - the city which is one hour closer than Edinburgh, yet still an hour away.

It does appear, on a word-of-mouth basis, that Glasgow has some fame for it's curries. My Googlemaps search though, revealed that whilst there are undoubtedly some high-class (read 'quite pricey') places which offer better quality preparation of subcontinental cuisine (here I would interject that the majority of offerings to which I have previously referred are the establishments run with focus on 'take away' meals, local business and in less cosmopolitan parts - which let's face it, is most of Scotland...), they are all pretty much based on meat. One of the highly praised, 5-star-reviewed places offers one (read it in numerals - 1 -) vegetarian main.

It then struck me that one of the key problems I have if I wish to join others eating out/'bringing in' - particularly at/from Indian places - is the fact that vegetarian options are absolutely minimal. Those which are offered demonstrate lack of imagination or care. "You're a vego? So dahl or paneer is all you need right?" Before I go off into the generalities now, let me share with you a discovery. Not because you are all going to rush to Glasgow to try it out, but because it was enough to get me excited and planning what I might do on a day trip to the big city I have yet to explore... A FULLY VEGETARIAN, properly-prepared-dishes and enormous-variety-place called USHA's. All the sort of food I was talking about last week! I nabbed this piccie from their site. Look at that - does it not bring on salivation??? Clean, Fresh, Colourful, Purely Vego..... my birthday's coming up - need to formulate a plan...

Now, the thing is, as long as one is staying at home, neatly tucked away, preparing one's own dishes presents no trouble.  However, one travels. (You may have noticed.) When out and about, even if that is simply visiting another's home, it can be tricky.

One of the issues for this particular foodie, is the need to stay within guidelines of spiritual discipline; this in Hinduism is referred to as Saatvika. Will explain more about the specifics of this separately. It is interesting, I promise, for it pertains to excellent nutritional balance. Suffice to say for this 'rant', in an ideal situation, any food served would have been prepared on surfaces and in pots and utensils which have never been sullied by use with meat. Restaurants these days certainly have to adhere to hygiene practices of keeping meat prep separate from veges; that is pretty standard the world over now I believe. As to compliance....

However, can you imagine that any place which offers only one vego main is going to go to the trouble of having separate utensils and pots to prepare that one dish? Highly unlikely and, frankly, it would be unreasonable to expect it really. In any restaurant which has mixed meals (I am not not just talking specifically Indian now) eating out is potentially non-Saatvika.

When the family decides to eat out, the vegetarian haggis is an excellent option on the menu - but its prep, in Saatvika terms, is to be debated.

Compromise has, therefore, been unavoidable. Some concessions made. I have even (on six occasions - so few I can recall them all!) taken fish 'n' chips. No thunderclaps, no falling down chasms, no cataclysmic occurrences. Therefore, if required in future, these may yet again be consumed in order not to go hungry.

In home situations, I have to commend my nearest and dearest, Aitch and the MacSibs, for they have shown willing to attempt providing meals outside their usual personal menus. To be fair, they all quite enjoy a good vege meal so at least the concept is acceptable. Whilst staying at the father's in recent times, due to the extended periods required, I purchased pots and utensils for use only in vegetarian cooking. This has been acknowledged and respected - and what is more, the old fellow even actually enjoyed the food. Bless 'im, he even ordered in from his ready-meal supplier some vegetarian meals, so that I could join him in the 'nuking' of them.

Image result for deep fried mars bar
For the record - I have never ever eaten one...
don't even eat them unfried.
Quite a lot of places have at least moved on from the "oh you're vego, lettuce, tomato and cucumber it is then!" mentality. Things are improving. If all else fails there is the baked tattie with beans. It is just necessary to accept that one has returned to the land of the deep-fried mars bar, pie 'n' peas, mince and tatties and, let's not forget, the 'offal' haggis!

The counterpoint to all of this is that, at home, I adhere very strictly to the vegetarian Saatvika standards...and all who enter here have to deal with that in their turn... just warnin'...



14 comments:

  1. Hi Yam,
    Despite being a meat eater, I can totally sympathise with your problems finding good Indian veggie food in Scotland! It was living in SW London, near the mecca for South Indian food that is Tooting Broadway, that I first discovered certain utterly wonderful (and cheap) vegetarian restaurants which altered my views on how good meat free food could be. Sadly, all Indian restaurant in Aberdeen are overpriced and in most the veggie options are the standard unimaginative offering. When in Nottingham earlier this year a friend took me to The Kayal restaurant, where I enjoyed an outstandingly good fish dish, not at all expensive. Should you ever find yourself in those parts, I heartily recommend giving it a go. They had plenty of vegetarian options.
    Cheers! Gail.
    PS The vegetarians on my recent cycling trip had a difficult time on Croatia and Bosnia, for sure. To be honest, you wouldn't go there for the food, full stop.

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    1. Hari OM
      Failte Gail! Yes I recall spending time with Mac1 when she was based in Birmingham (rather more decades ago then either of us care to recall) and it would not surprise you to know that there are some pretty good places there. It requires a centre of the ethnic population to truly build the authentic. That is really not available this side of the border! Glasgow would be the closest to it - if I could just get myself enthusiastic enough to go visit the place. ...No.. Croat, Serb cuisine is not yet an international revelation and it seems you may have discovered why!

      Hope the photo ops were of better quality..... (hint hint hint)..... &*> YAM xx

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  2. I believe it is VERY Difficult for Vegetarians in THIS country... when it comes to Eating Out... or going to eat at with Friends. MOST just take their own food to gatherings... and have to be VERY selective where they dine out.

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  3. My friend Sheldon, of thread fame, is a vegan. When he travels he is forced to vegetarian.

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    1. Hari Om
      yup... it's a conundrum. One wishes/needs/makes a commitment and in trying to adhere, one discovers how much of one's own society holds prejudice against; it doesn't all have to be guns and banners...

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  4. We wanted to say thanks for noticing our new header! Mom thought we needed to get rid of the snow look and then what happens - We got lots of snow last night!
    hugs
    Mr Bailey, Hazel & Mabel

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  5. Not being religious and being omnivorous I've never had a problem with what I can eat or the way it is prepared, except I am fussy about cleanliness in the preparation of food.
    I'd not realised how difficult it would be for persons of beliefs such as yours to find decent food either eating out or obtaining take-aways.
    I feel for you and hope you are able to find a really good vegetarian restaurant so you can occasionally have a break from cooking for yourself. It is good your father enjoyed the foods you cooked while with him. Perhaps gave him a new way of thinking about food in general. xx

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    1. Hari OM
      Yes, Mimsie, and as you may note by a couple of other comments (Joanne and "Easy", it is an issue all over the globe. When living in OZ, it was definitely a LOT easier to adhere to saatvika - and places like the Mediterranean and such like would equate to this - partly because of the availability due to proximity to certain markets and variety...

      I absolutely adore cooking and have never been one for eating out or take-aways for myself; but if one wishes to be social, it takes some prep of a different sort! Yxx

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  6. Crikey Aunty ..... shame you're not a dog, aye?? We eat anything. Dad wanted me to thank you for the dahl recipe. I've been a bit quiet lately. Not much internet where we've been but I have tried to read whenever I can. No commenting or posts though. Dad reckons he had most of the ingredients covered with HIS dahl but your tip about not overdoing the sauteing sure interested him. He thinks that may, very well, be his problem. He can't wait to have another go at it but it will have to wait till we get home. I'll let you know how it goes. Thankyou from Dad!!!!!!!!!

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    1. Hari OM
      Hi Charlie (and mum and dad), I had spotted you wagging your tail in a couple of places round Blogville, so knew you were keeping tabs on us! Hope you are having a great time on the road and that you will tell us all about it when you get back to QLD. Glad the recipe created some thinking - yes it is very common mistake to over cook the masala before getting the dish fully going... it even still happens here on occasion... if the menosoup hits and the YAMster begins another task forgetting what she was about... sigh... even boiled eggs get burnt when menosoup hits................ Yxx

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  7. same here... or let's say it much more difficult. I asked for a vegetarian meal in a restaurant and they offered me chicken ...LOL. not even the french fries are "meat free", they mostly use beef fat :o(
    easy rider

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    1. Hari OM
      Oh yes that used to be the case here also - but most fish'n'chip places here have at least moved onto using vegetable oils. I could of course, just eat chips and not the fish.... but I do need SOME protein!!! Oh yes - I have experienced the chicken thing - it seems that the knowledge is there that Hindus don't eat beef, therefore anything else is okay! hey ho..... Yx

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  8. If you ever come over for a visit to the land of 'vegetarian? What type of meat is that?', I will do the best I can to feed you properly. Including NOT including too many onions. Unless it's French onion soup of course. Which I have never had, let alone made, so I don't think you need to worry about that!!

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  9. That's so sad! We have quite a few vegetarian foods available around here. Many gluten-free, which is a fad.
    The trouble we have is getting things sans eggs, dairy and yeast for hubby. I feel badly for you. All the bestest from away.

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