My Hunt for the Veggies

Eating lunch has become an adventure ever since I moved countries. Happily, it is usually an exciting adventure unless it is a Tuesday. On Tuesdays, I eat vegetarian food. Now, going by the variety of veggies I see in the grocery stores, getting some vegetarian grub should not be a trouble at all. So why is that I have to struggle every Tuesday and discover places like the cafeteria of S.P. Jain Institute of Management Studies to have lunch?

Because it is the definition of vegetarian food which is amiss. When a Singaporean says vegetarian food, it means food with lots of veggies, along with the meat. So, the Vegetarian Rice counter in my local food court specializes in fish head curry, with loads of veggies on the side. It is very amusing, really. I have colleagues who often want to know what all is included in vegetarian food – “Is fish vegetarian?”  “And eggs?” “What about cheese?” Many believe that if it is not beef or pork, it is vegetarian. Now, they are not wrong. Well, they are wrong but it is not their fault. I remember that during my visit to Phuket, the guide had explained that hey had two kinds of food for us – regular and vegetarian.

Despite these varied definitions, I notice that 80% of Indians in Singapore are vegetarians, which is a big mystery to me. Back home, I am usually the only person lining up for vegetarian food, with at most two to give me company in a group of ten. In the same fashion, I notice that 80% of Indian women dress up in traditional clothes here, while the figure drops hugely back home. I am wondering aloud, in case you have any idea.


One Response to “My Hunt for the Veggies”

  1. It might be because some people feel the need to hold onto certain traditions, lifestyles, and cultural practices when they are away from their native country than if they actually were living in their native country. It happens a lot in Canada where there are many immigrants from various parts of the world. People make statements about themselves and their heritage through things like what they wear and what they eat. I don’t think it’s so much as wanting to go home but almost holding onto something really meaningful that is part of who they are. Usually this passes on to their children who don’t have the same attachment but do it because that is what is familiar to them.

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