Living in France as Vegetarian or Vegan is Not The Norm

Sunday, March 23, 2014

If you are a vegetarian, vegan, non-red-meat-eater, gluten allergic, or lactose-intolerant person living in France then good luck, it's not easy Cali livin' over here. Almost every French restaurant entrée includes the following: duck, beef, fish, or lamb. However, their heavy Arabic culture makes eating-out a little easier for us.

Güveç Poulet
Güveç Poulet
Several Arabic people have migrated to Europe, especially in the last few decades. From Turkish, to Algerian they offer a wide range of dishes for vegetarians and vegans. In France you will find several restaurants and take-out places owned by the Arabs. I'm a non-red meat eater personally, and for whatever reason you will rarely find chicken on the menu in France, but find a Turkish restaurant and you are set.
Restaurant Ottoman, Bordeaux
Mathieu is a meat eating manly man, so he was somewhat reluctant to come to a restaurant like this with me. When he saw the Turkish ottoman seats from outside he said "so we're sitting on the floor?" Well no, not technically..we're sitting on ottomans.
Unfortunately, most French people do not understand this lifestyle of eating. Especially me, who is not a vegetarian, yet does not eat red meat. It's a very very large culture gap. They view animal products as a source of healthy food and nothing further. It is far more common in America to zone in on the health factors of meat as well as animal cruelty.

Don't get me wrong, there are French people who carry out this lifestyle, however it is rare. Most restaurants will not offer a vegetarian option, let alone vegan. The closest thing you will find is at the Arabic restaurants. I've been in position with Mathieu's family where I am utterly embarrassed because there is nothing on the menu for me. It happens. The best thing to do is be honest, or take charge and reserve the table yourself!

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