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Monday, June 19, 2006

Friendly Publication: The Vegan Passport

The summer is here. And we all want/dream to travel: exotic destinatins, the white, soft sand, the hammock between the palm trees, the crystal clear water... Well, this sounds too much like a commercial for animal tested tanning lotion, does it not? So let's leave it at that: imagine what you want of your dream vacation! It does not matter what the setting is like: the important thing is that you manage to enjoy your vacation, including the food!
Because food can definitely be one of the biggest problems of travelling on a vegan diet...

You know how it is: if you have the luck to have a semi-kitchen when on vacation (often just a burner and a pot), you end up having pasta for days on end. If not, it is a hit-or-miss kind of deal: supermarket, bakeries, street joints... And often you are not able to find much at all. Everything looks tempting and at the same time not vegan, the ingredients lists on supermarket products are written in.. oh! Czech! Swahili! Korean!

Damn it! There must be a way to find vegan food without wasting hours otherwise devoted to sightseeing on this nerve wracking hunt!

Well, rejoice! Apparently there is a way! Some fellow vegan has investigated the problem and has come up with a brillian solution. The Vegan Passport was born!

The Vegan passport is a great little book first published in 1996 and written by George Rodger, chair of The Vegan Society, and just recently (not even a year ago: July 2005) re-edited. What's in it? Basically it is a way for vegans to communitcate our needs with restaurant/supermarket/street seller staff in order to grant ourself a vegan meal while travelling the world!
But there is more! Read on to find out!

"The essential passport sized travelling companion for vegans has now increased from 38 to 56 languages, covering 93% of the world's population, with a page saying what vegans do and don't eat in great detail. Let the waiter show it to the cook and you'll be sure of a totally vegan, animal free feast in restaurants anywhere even if no one speaks a word of your language. Includes:
Albanian / Shqip,
Basque / Euskera,
Croatian / Hrvatski,
Dutch / Nederlands,
Finnish / Suomi,
German / Deutsch,
Goan / Konkanim,
Hungarian / Magyar,
Malagasay / Malagache,
Maltese / Malti,
Norwegian / Norsk,
Persian / Farsi,
Serbian / Srpski,
Slovak / Slovensky,
Swedish / Svenska,
Tagalog / Filipino / Pilipino,
(source: Vegetarian Guides- mapping the world for vegetarians and vegans)

Now. We think this is definitely a comprehensive list! Unless you are going to... uhm... the north pole?
Anyhow, consireding the passport is not very expensive (about 7 US $ and it pretty easy to carry!), it is a excellent thing to keep handy when abroad!

We suggest you to make sure to buy the updated, most recent edition, thing you cand do from the following websites (buying from these directly means helping these companies instead than giant online sellers like Amazon, which has anyway run out):

-The Vegan Society Online Shop
-Vegetarian Guides (shipping worldwide)
-Food Fight

Not going all the way to the Philippines but still worried about finding vegan food? There are other guides which may just be for you. We particularly like:

-Vegetarian Europe: "Edited by Alex Bourke & 29 bilingual Veggie Guides authors.
Detailed descriptions include animal, dairy and egg free dishes and desserts, plus prices and opening hours, for a wonderful holiday in 23 countries from Scotland to Greece, Portugal to Russia. Plus veggie vocabulary, maps and addresses of local groups for long stayers" (here you can read a sample about Paris and here about Prague).

-Vegetarian France: "By Alex Bourke & Alan Todd. Researched by France's leading vegetarian publishers Editions La Plage, translated and adapted by Veggie Guides founder Alex Bourke, who lived in France for two years".

-The New Spain - Vegan & Vegetarian Restaurants: "By vegan chef and restaurateur Jean-Claude Juston. Over 100 vegetarian and vegan restaurants throughout Spain, Mallorca and the Canary islands. Also things to do in each area, places to see and shop, bookshops, cinemas, tourist offices, vegetarian magazines and websites and associations in Spain, and even some Spanish vegan recipes, for when you get home".

-Vegetarian Israel: "By Mark Weintraub. More than just falafels, Israel is a vegetarian and vegan paradise. Includes restaurants in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Jaffa, Haifa, Tiberias, Galilee resorts, Moshav Amirim, and top winter destination Eilat on the Red Sea. Also health food stores in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv and Haifa".

-Vegan Guide to New York City: "By Rynn Berry & Chris Abreu-Suzuki with Barry Litsky. From Harlem to Wall Street, Manhattan is vegan and veggie nirvana. Over 100 restaurants plus health food stores, ethnic cuisine, famer's markets, raw food places, top 10 juice bars, bookstores, even where to buy vegan shoes".

-Vegetarian Britain 2006: "Edited by Alex Bourke. This new edition has over 25% more entries, more maps and indexes. 170 vegetarian, vegan and veg-friendly hotels and guest houses. 600 cafes and restaurants. 500 city center wholefood and health food stores" (you can read a sample here and see some of the pages here).

-The Vegetarian Traveler : Where to Stay if you are vegetarian, vegan, environmetally sensitive: "By Susan Civic. The Civics are the owners of Environmental Travel, an agency that caters specifically to the vegetarian community. Here they offer a travel guide of accommodations for vegetarians, vegans, and the environmentally sensitive, listing bed-and-breakfasts, spas, and hotels worldwide".

-Veg Out Vegetarian Guide to San Francisco Bay Area: "By Michele anna Jordan. Gibbs Smith, Publisher, offers two new installments in our groundbreaking new series of restaurant guidebooks for vegetarian and vegan diners. VegOutTM vegetarian guide books virtually eliminate the difficulty of finding vegetarian and vegan offerings in a world of shish-kabob street vendors and hot dog hawkers".

Any other book you have sampled? Share your knowledge with us!
And see you at that tiny vegan joint in Malaysia!

P.S. Not even 5 years ago, a book shortly appeared on the shelves of Chapters. We cannot remember the title but was a 200 about pages paperback book working on the same concept of the vegan passport: many languages featured and a lot of sentences to ask for vegetarian/dairy free/vegan meals in the most unlikely languages spoken on the globe. We bought one as a present and did not pick up our own copy. Anybody has it or know the title? It seemed an excellent vegan travelling reference book, we would love to be able to find somewhere!
Still about the topic of vegan travelling, have a look at one of our newest member page: What Do Vegans Eat. The interesting thing of this page is that anybody can log in and publish pictures and reviews of vegan food you find on your way to work/at the local market. We think it is a great idea to provide locals as well as passerbys directions to vegan food in your own area. So if you have pictures and directions to spare, take a moment to log in your entry, wherever you are on the planet! Your imput may be useful to other vegans : )


Blogger Urban Vegan said...

Why didn't you post this before I went to India and Nepal? *Sniff*

Kidding! What a great, useful article for traveling vegans.

3:10 am  
Blogger t. said...

Ops!!! Sorry I got to write it about too late!
But maybe it can become handy for next time : )

3:54 am  
Blogger KleoPatra said...

Great stuff, thank you for the information!! I also posted something today about travel, but it is for within the confines of U.S. Thanks for a cool post here, filled with a lot of great nooz!

4:38 am  
Blogger funwithyourfood said...

well I think this post may give me a reason to travel .. now only to get the time off and the money :)


5:36 am  
Blogger Eric said...

I've been planning a European vacation that may now be postponed another two years, but I am saving this entry until then, because it has to be one of the most useful posts I've ever read. Thanks!

6:09 am  
Blogger Ferocious Killer Kat said...

The link "What do Vegans Eat" at the bottom is broken. The url seems to be incorrect.

7:48 am  
Blogger t. said...

Hey MC, sorry for the broken link. I fixed it and now you can access the page.

Glad you guys find it useful!
I am thinking of using this 'passport' also to get my vegan point across in my own local ethic restaurant, where the stuff does not perfectlt speak the language: I will let you know how it goes!

12:34 pm  
Blogger Virginie said...

Interesting post, as usual. I give the link to a vegan friend who often travels around the world. I keep in mind your idea of pictures or directions of local vegan food.

7:46 pm  
Blogger Melody said...

What a great idea! (the passport)

7:47 pm  

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Until one has loved an animal, a part of one's soul remains unawakened. Anatole France