It all starts with a piece of fish. I have been brought up to be a vegetarian when i was younger. My mum wouldn’t allow me to bring an egg into the house. Those were the rules. Since i hadn’t tasted it before i didn’t really care. The first time i ate a piece of meat was a piece of fish at a friend’s house. I choked on that since i didn’t know there would be a bone in the fish. After that i stayed a vegetarian for about 7 years.
In college when i started to drink i would go out t this pub where with all the alcohol we would order a tiny plate of chicken. That helped down the really bitter whisky. Slowly from there on the meat was a part of my weekly diet. Every time i drank i ate a little meat. It didn’t matter what it was but there was a plate of something there always. From the time i stopped drinking i stopped eating meat till i started studying engineering. Since a bunch of us would go out to chill it was odd to say i was vegetarian. Slowly it didn’t matter that i was a vegetarian or not. I would eat what was on the plate if i was hungry. I think i tired to stop eating meat for a while but that didn’t last long. During my MBA for a year i ate beef every day. I loved every bit of it. Started to work out and that stopped. Put a stop to the meat and drank green tea instead. Anyways when i started working at office parties i couldn’t really refuse the meat and that became a way of life. The only time i stopped eating meat and rice was when i made a bet with a friend (now wife) to see who would last longer. Turns out i did. I am sure she think its not true. Anyways i have tired for smaller periods of 3 month to stop eating meat but usually been successful at it.
The one thing i stay away from doing during my travels is to eat meat. Not because i dont know where the meat is coming from but because i feel that the possibility of getting sick eating vegetables is lower. This time around when i went to Thailand i managed to eat some soup for all my meals with vegetables. On my flight to Russia was y first piece of beef. There wasn’t a way for me to translate in Russian that i am a vegetarian without internet. Anyways the moment from the time we landed i stuck to salad for a couple of days. What i failed to realize is that everyone in Russia ate meat and potatoes. I didn’t want either. Also the portions are frightfully small. For a big guy like me i would need about 5 salads even to feel slightly full. Anyways thanks to Sasha who was the receptionist at the hostel we were staying at we discovered a fabulous vegetarian restaurant. That was the last one we went too. After leaving Irkutsk everywhere i asked for a vegetarian dish was met with shock. Tried to go to a supermarket to get something like a potato bun but all i could find was a bun with a sausage. Everything including the bread had some meat stuffed or mixed in it. Also meat was cheaper than vegetables. The larger places like St. Petersburg and Moscow had a bunch of places that served a dish or two without meat but again it was only a salad. I think i did not try harder to get some vegetables since now i missed the spice. To find some spicy food we went to KFC. The chap at t counter told me about this really spicy burger. That was a let down. So no spice and no vegetables. i figured that if i wanted some cheap food it would have meat. In India there are of restaurants that serve only vegetarian food and there there were more that served only beef.
When in Rome , do as the Romans do. So standard diet was beef and sometimes when i was lucky some chicken. Turns out everyone eats bread and Beef. Not roti and vegetables. Such is life.
The moment we landed back in Bangalore, my father in law was nice enough to make us some really amazing dosa with cutney and sambar for breakfast and then since it was onam he made us a full lunch with lots and lots of vegetables. Having said that its not like when i came back i turned to be vegetarian again but atleast i haven’t had to eat bread with a sausage and for that i am grateful. So for anyone going to Russia on a holiday and wants to be vegetarian there are 2 options. 1. to take a little more money since its expensive or 2. just eat what is in front of you.
There is another option of eating a watermelon. They are huge. Each watermelon is about 10 kgs and lovely.