Saturday, May 10, 2008

Vegetarianism in China?

It is almost time to go to China!  All the excitement has been building for so long and it is amazing that the trip is just about here.  A few of my friends are worried for my safety and whatnot, but I have no doubts about that. The only thing on my mind is food.

I live off of a Vegetarian diet here in the states, so I have spent some time thinking about what obstacles I will face during the upcoming trip. My friend Lily went on last year's journey and ended up living off of white rice and watermelon. While these are both completely delicious, I am not sure if eating only that for 12 days straight is beneficial. 

After some research I discovered that meat is often times a status symbol in China.  Buying and eating meat remains an indicator of material success. Vegetarianism is not highly common, but it has been around since the 7th Century and is often practiced by devout Buddhists. This fairly rare diet has begun to see a resurgence in the cities, and while there are certain places to get meat-free food, I am not sure if we will be visiting them.  

I looked up the phrase "I eat Vegetarian," which is Wo Chur Su and stocked up on granola bars. I have read other posts about Vegetarians going to China and their experiences.
The good thing is I am going to keep an open mind and whole-heartedly enjoy this experience with a new culture.  If someone makes me veggies soaked in chicken fat, then I will eat it up and see what happens to my body, instead of denying it and offending them. I realize I have no worries, just an amazing expedition ahead of me.  I am willing to face any food challenges white rice is one of my favorite staples and Gandhi survived his 21 day fast!

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