Luang Prabang

After Bali and the Gilis, I spent a few days in Singapore and a week in Cambodia. However, I will write about those countries when I’m back home, because I would like to have some stories to update the blog with when my trip ends.

Next country was Laos. Sadly, I only had time to go to Luang Prabang, a picturesque city and Unesco heritage site.

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This is Luang Prabang seem from above:

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It’s a small and calm city full of temples to visit, like these ones:

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I actually enjoyed much more going up mount Phu Si, which is right in the middle of the city. Maybe I chose the wrong entry, because I spent 20 minutes completely alone going up stairs like these ones:

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The surroundings were so beautiful and quiet that I still can’t understand why this place isn’t full of tourists. There were some of them right at the top, but still not too many. From there, the views were amazing:

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Apart from temples and hills, there’s a night market in the center of the city taking place every night:

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There were lots of clothes and souvenirs to choose from. I’m lucky that my backpack is already 100% full, if not I would have spent quite a lot of money buying unnecesary (but beautiful) things.

This is the reason why I never missed the night market:

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For around one euro, you could fill a dish with vegetables, rice and mock meat. This street buffet is a vegan paradise 🙂 It was actually the only place to eat decent streetfood in the nightmarket, so it’s not hard to miss.

Talking about vegan things, for lunch I went every day to Nisha Indian Restaurant, on Kitsalat Road. Indian restaurants are one of my favourite options to eat out, because they always have some vegan options. My favourite dish is Chana Masala, made basically of chickpeas, which are a great protein source:

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Together with some rice and a salad, that’s an incredibly filling meal. And tasty. And healthy.

Back to Luang Prabang, a typical day-trip are the Kuang Si waterfalls:

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With their clear blue water, they are by far the nicest waterfalls I’ve ever seen.

Getting there is easy. In the main streets there are always (always always) tuktuk drivers offering you “waterfall, miss?”. A day trip costs around 200000 kip (20 €), but you can share the costs with some other travellers. Even if you are alone, it’s not hard to find other people on the street also wanting to share the ride.

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I ended up spending my day with an Irish couple and a Dutch girl, who reminded me about some interesting facts like, hehe, there is a big risk of malaria in Laos. Hehe. Laos was not on my plans when I left home at the end of March, so I didn’t take any Malarone with me to prevent the disease. I actually thought that the risk would be similar as in Vietnam, but it turns out it’s not.

Luckily, wearing long pants night and day seems to have worked for me, as almost no mosquito dared to bite me and I’m feeling pretty healthy right now.

One more thing about the waterfalls. At the entrance, there is a bear sanctuary where you can see these cute animals interacting with each other:

It would be nicer if the bears could live free in the forests, but it seems that in Laos and other countries, some people hunt them and use their bilis for “medical” purposes. You can read about bear farms in Asia in this article from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bile_bear

This was all about Laos. I wish I had spent some more time visiting other places in the country, but I don’t regret having done this quick trip to Luang Prabang as a stop between Cambodia and Thailand. Ahh, Thailand. Will I find some time this week to write about it?

By the way, this is my very last week in Asia. My trip is almost over. At the beginning, I thought that at this point I would be willing to forget everything about my old life, sell all my possessions, shave my head and disappear for a few years in a remote village of India.

As it turns out, I’m incredibly excited about going back home to visit my family and friends and then hopefully moving back to Berlin, my second home, and finding a motivating 9 to 6 job. This trip has been an amazing experience but I’m craving for stability!

If you have spent such a long time reading until here, you deserve some cuteness:

How I got to film that video, on my next post 🙂

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Vegan Bali & Gili Islands

On my first day in Bali, I checked Happy Cow for vegetarian restaurants. After a long walk from my hostel in Kuta I found Happy Buddha (Jalan Raya Kuta 143). They have a lot of mock meat options and, although that’s not exactly my thing, I was happy to try something different every time I went there. It was also very cheap, I don’t remember well right now but I would say what you see in the picture was less than 3 euro.

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Plus, it was a family restaurant. I have seen this in many other restaurants in Southeast Asia: the kids of the owners are playing behind the counter or outside the place, they might come close to you and smile and then their dad or their mom will grab them by the hand and kindly take them away. Then the little kids will say with their eyes: “but, I wanted to play with the lady :(“. Work-family balance, Asian style. I really like this, because the atmosphere seems to be very relaxed, everyone looks happy and the children get to spend more time with their family when growing up. Of course, this is all about small kids who are still not supposed to be at school!

In Ubud, I tried some raw food at The Seeds of Life (2 Jalan Gootama). It’s funny, my doctor recommended me to never eat raw food or have drinks with ice in Asia and I’m doing both things more than ever. I’m such a rebel. I should rename the blog to “Travel & Tofu & Risk”.

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The food was ok, although a little bit pricey and the portions were not specially big, so after a few hours I was feeling hungry again.

In Jimbaran, all the restaurants had fish as a main course. But luckily, all dishes included rice and vegetables as a side dish, so I ate the side dish of my roommates while they had their fish. To be honest, I’ve always hated eating fish, even as a child. I never saw the point of putting something full of spines into your mouth. Why not biting a cactus instead?

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Plus, there’s not need to say that rice with vegetables is one of the cheapest foods you can get anywhere in the world.

In Gili Trawangan I couldn’t find any vegetarian restaurants, so in the places I went to, I just asked for items of the menu that could be veganized. A vegetable pizza without cheese:

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Or a salad without egg:

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I recall having also some tofu burgers that had to be specially made for me because, funny thing, it seems like at least in the Gilis, they enjoy mixing tofu with egg.

All in all, I ate very few protein in Indonesia, so when I spent some days in Singapore afterwards and was able to cook again, I filled my stomach with lots of tofu and beans. I wouldn’t say Bali is a vegan paradise, but at least in the tourist areas everyone speaks some English and the waiters are always happy to find a veganizable dish for you in the menu.

I would put some pictures of the food in Lovina but, as I mentioned on my Bali post, I was sick, and I think everyone knows what steam rice looks like.

Let’s see if in the following days I can write about all the ways you can get ripped off in Bali. It’s going to be a looong post.

By the way, I have twitter now. I’m still learning how to use it, but here it is: http://twitter.com/travelandtofu

Melbourne and some Australian fauna

After 6 days in Sydney, I got on a train to Melbourne (34 EUR for an 11-hour ride, that’s cheaper than in Europe) to check another city in Australia.

Although I was freezing all the time (Melbourne can get pretty cold in winter), I enjoyed the city much more than Sydney. Here are a few of the things I saw:

Remebrance Shrine, built to remember the Australian victims of the two world wars:

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Immigration museum

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As I mentioned on my last post, Australia was first a land where British convicts were sent to work. Afterwards, non-convict inmigrants from all over the world kept joining the country, so it has indeed been influenced by immigration. In this museum, you can see, for example, a reproduction of the inside of the first ships that traveled to Australia

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or do a simulated interview to some virtual candidates who want to live in Australia nowadays:

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Here I felt as if, for a change, I was like that nice immigration officer in Las Vegas who found my plans of doing a round-the-world trip on my own extremely suspicious and wasn’t so convinced of letting me enter his country. Oh, I wish I could show him all my passport stamps right now.

State Library of Victoria

Free entrance! Free exhibitions! Free wifi! I spent some hours there, it has really a lot to see. It was so beautiful and I’m such a bookworm that, by the end, I wished I was a student again so that I could spend countless hours studying on one of those tables which were like pieces of art.

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Royal Exhibition Building

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I do like visiting Unesco sites, and I wasn’t going to make an exception in Melbourne. This building from the 19th century held the International Exhibition in 1880. After so many years, it is still used, for example, as a place for examinations of the University of Victoria.

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In the guided visit of the hall (it’s not allowed to visit it on your own), the chairs and tables were almost perfectly aligned waiting for the students. It must be great to do your exams in a place so full of history, don’t you think?

St Kilda penguins

Every day at sunset, a group of penguins goes back to their home in St Kilda pier. And an even bigger group of humans gathers there to see them:

It’s quite hard to make good pictures or videos because, for the wellbeing of the little penguins, using flash is not allowed. But I had a great time watching them for an hour, despite the freezing weather.

Great Ocean Road

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Following the road along the coast west of Melbourne, you can get to the 12 Apostles:

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This rock formations are one of the best-known tourist attractions of Australia, but I wasn’t very impressed. The North coast of Spain is full of landscapes like these ones although it’s still almost undiscovered by foreign tourists. And there are no tourist-helicopters disturbing you or snakes, spiders and ticks wanting to kill you 🙂

A little bit more far away there is the London Arch:

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Until 1990 it was still connected to the shore and was actually called London Bridge, but one of its archs collapsed and it looks slightly different now.

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No one was hurt physically on the day when the bridge lost its arch, but there is a funny story to tell. That 15th of January, a couple was actually trapped on the new-formed arch after the collapse. They had to wait for hours until a helicopter was able to rescue them and soon after, they were in all the newspapers and TV channels. Happy ending, because they survived. Not so happy, because they shouldn’t have been there: they were married, but each of them to another person, and their respective partners found out about the rescue and the cheating live on TV. So, apart from the risk of getting bad karma, this is another reason why you shouldn’t cheat on your partner: you never know when your 15 minutes of fame might come.

On the Great Ocean Road trip, there were also some stops to see some Australian fauna in the wild. Believe me when I tell you that these are kangaroos jumping free on a golf field:

And look, this is a koala:

So I was able to see wild penguins, koalas, kangaroos and, wait, magpies as well:

You don’t need to go to a zoo to see animals! Plus, it’s much more rewarding to search for them by yourself than to just look at them through a glass window or a fence.

Before clicking “post”, here are my vegan discoveries in Melbourne:

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After many months of using whatever shower gel I could find, I came across this vegan one in Melbourne. Yes, shower gels and almost all cosmetic products usually have some animal product in them, so I’m happy when I find somehting marked with the vegan sign.

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I hate throwing away food, I really do. But in one of my hostels, I found a jar of Vegemite for breakfast, checked that it had no suspicious animal ingredients and put some of it on my toast. Uuuggg, disgusting! If it looks like Nutella, it should taste like Nutella, I thought. But it was very salty and alltogether, disgusting. I had to throw away the toast, I just couldn’t get it close to my mouth anymore after the first bite.

Maybe Australians are just used to that taste of “salty Nutella”. It reminded me of the time I gave salty popcorn to a German friend and she immediately had to get it out of her mouth while her eyes were telling me: “Do you want to kill me or what!?”. In Germany, popcorn is usually sweet, in case you didn’t know.

That’s all for now. It is taking me a lot of time to update my blog. It is actually taking me a lot of time to do anything, actually. I never thought I would say this but I’m tired of travelling. I understand now why Willy Fog wanted to do his trip around the world in no more than 80 days: I’m now on my 104th day and if you asked me right know if I would rather see the stunning temples of Angkor Wat in Cambodia or just be at home with my parents or just have some beers with a person that I’ve known for more than one week… it would be a hard decision.

Anyway, I will be back in Spain on the 15th of August, and I am planning to enjoy my time in Asia as much as possible during this last month. Afterwards, it will be time for job seeking and I really need to charge my batteries because that’s an exhausting task.

I will try to write about my two weeks in Bali soon, I promise 🙂

Sydney

Australia was not on my plans when I started this trip, but then I found out that it was possible to fly from Kuala Lumpur to Sydney for just 130€, so I decided it was time to check another continent. Just Antarctica is missing on my list now!

My first stop was Sydney.

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My 6 days in the city went by so fast that I have the feeling that I spent just a weekend there. To be honest, I didn’t find Sydney much different from any big European city. Except for the fact that it’s in Australia and, as everywhere in that country, there are a lot of animals that might kill you: spiders, ticks, snakes, crocodiles, jellyfish, sharks… all of them are ready to welcome you with a fatal bite.

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Well, maybe you won’t exactly find a crocodile sleeping on your bed in Sydney, but I did have an encounter with a redback spider in Melbourne.

As I have done in some of the other cities I’ve been to, I downloaded the Tripadvisor app for Sydney and checked many of the suggested itineraries. After walking in the Royal Botanic Gardens, where I went “hunting” for exotic birds,

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I saw the Opera House and the Harbour Bridge at sunset

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and then I crossed the bridge as the sky was getting darker and darker.

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Another day, I went to visit the Hyde Park Barracks Museum:

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Australia was once the place where many British convicts were sent to work and this building from 1819 served as accommodation for them in Sydney. One of the statistics that remained in my head from all the information in the Barracks is that nowadays one in every ten Australians is a descendant of a convict.

For a day out, I booked a tour to the Blue Mountains. These day tours are ruining my travel budget, but there is no other way to discover some places that shouldn’t be missed. Like these ones:

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King's Tableland

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The Three Sisters

I would like to post pictures of me having lunch at some cozy vegan restaurant in Sydney, but everything is so expensive in that city that I just cooked. Here I am making a veggie wrap for a day out:

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This is a quick, easy and tasty vegan meal: you just need to wrap some rice, carrot, cucumber, olives, chickpeas and lemon juice and it’s ready.

Next stop: Melbourne. Be prepared for some videos of cute koalas, penguins and kangaroos…

Vegan Vietnam

I’ll be quick, because I don’t have much time: Vietnam is a great land for vegans and vegetarians. There is cheap tofu in the supermarkets, the local fruits and vegetables are delicious and, at least in the cities I visited, it was not difficult to find vegetarian restaurants. By the way… Oreos are vegan here as well… so… I might have gained some weight in the last month…

These are the restaurants I tried in the different cities I went to:

Tinh Tam – Le Loi (12 Chu Van An, Hue). It was so close to my hotel that I didn’t bother going somewhere else. The food was ok, they had a lot of options to choose from, specially if you enjoy mock meats. That’s not my case, because I don’t really feel that comfortable eating something which is not meat but looks like it. But anyway, it’s vegan and I’m on holidays, who cares! The price of the food was apparently cheap. For example, if I remember well, I got all this for less than 2.5 €:

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The thing is, as in many restaurants in the country, they had a menu in English just for tourists and another menu in Vietnamese written on the wall for those who speak the language. According to some reviews on Happy Cow, the locals seem to get a normal dish for much less than 1€. It doesn’t feel fair, but the tourist price was cheap anyway.

Quan Chay Nhat Da (98 Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An). The staff was lovely, they spoke English and always greeted me with a smile when I arrived. I liked the food and it was one of the cheapest places I found in Vietnam, less than 1.5 € for a meal with drink. I can’t find any pictures on my cellphone, sorry!

Am Thuc Chay Mani (291/2 Vo Van Than, Ho Chi Minh City). Nice decoration, food ok, staff ok and less than 2€ for something like this:

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Apart from restaurants and Oreos, some other discoveries I made in Vietnam:

Gullón cookies:

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I know, I know, when you are in a foreign country you should try the local food. But I’ve been away from home for a long time and this cookies imported from Spain are the ones my mum used to prepare my birthday cakes with when I was I child… And they are vegan, cheap, and easy to find in any big supermarket in Vietnam. The cake, which is automatically associated in my brain to the concept of childhood, should look like this:

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Source and vegan recipe (only Spanish): http://vega-vegana.blogspot.com.au/2011/12/tarta-de-chocolate-y-galletas.html

Of course, there was no cake for me in Vietnam, but it was a pleasure to eat the cookies anyway.

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Litchis:

I knew the name, but I had never seen or eaten them before:

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If you squeeze them, you can taste what is inside:

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Very sweet fruit, and the way they have to be opened is a great anti-stress technique against Vietnamese street vendors.

Dragon fruit:

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Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Pitaya_cross_section_ed2.jpg

Isn’t it beautiful? It’s like a giant white kiwi with pink skin. I would like to take one home and use it as decoration for my bedroom. Oh wait, in order to do this trip I had to leave my old life behind, including my lovely shared flat in Berlin, so I don’t even have a bedroom to decorate…

I could spend hours writing more about Vietnam but I don’t have enough time. As I might be the worst blog updater ever, I will just try to update more often my facebook page with pictures and impressions of the countries I’m in. Like it, if you haven’t done it before 🙂

https://www.facebook.com/travelandtofu

Hong Kong

Travelling is great.

(Alert: grumpy post)

I arrived in Hong Kong on a hot, rainy Sunday. The streets were full of people and it was hard for me to walk around with my bags trying to find my hostel. But I found it!

It was a creepy, very creepy hostel. Dark place, unfriendly staff, not very clean room. But it was one of the cheapest in Hong Kong, so I felt that I couldn’t complain. However, I started to find reasons to do so. Wifi was not working, neither on my tablet or on my cellphone, and the staff didn’t care at all when I mentioned it. Great! Kitchen? This was the “kitchen”:

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A rice-boiler, a water-boiler and a sink, all covered in dirt. Great! Having a kitchen is one of the most important things for me in a hostel because I actually use it (for more than cooking rice and making tea).

I was already in the common room using the computers to search for another hostels in the area when some members of the staff started arguing and raising their voices. And then they started fighting against each other, breaking every object in the reception that they would find on their way. The situation got so bad that some minutes later two policemen arrived to check out what was happening. “Click to confirm new booking on Hostelworld”: YES.

I picked up my things, went back to the reception after checking that no bullets were flying around and explained the staff that due to no wifi, no kitchen and the unpleasant situation I had just witnesssed, I wanted to leave and get my money back (at hostels, almost always, you have to pay for your whole stay at the moment you arrive). They understood my position and let me go away with the money that I had given them just an hour before. Maybe the fact that a policeman was still at the reception keeping an eye on them helped.

The new hostel I found was finally a decent one. After many years of travelling, I’ve come to a conclusion: if a hostel has individual reading lamps and sockets, it’s a good hostel. And this one had that:

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But the grumpy part of the post is still not over. The following morning, I woke up and found that the right lens of my glasses was broken. Great! That led me to spend much of my time in Hong Kong at the optical store of the closest shopping mall to get my glasses repaired as quickly as possible. Great! Did I mention that on the same day I had that incident with my glasses, I accidentally spilled my lunch over my legs and now one of the few jeans that I brought for this trip has a beautiful oil stain on it?

And finally, the things I did in Hong Kong:

Victoria Peak. Getting the tram to go up this mountain is a must if you are in Hong Kong. You can have a good view of the city from the sky terrace of The Peak Tower:

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Ferry to Kowloon. On my last picture you can see Kowloon as the area on the other side of the bay. It is connected to Hong Kong Island by subway, but the nicest way to get there is to hop on a Star Ferry boat and enjoy the views:

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Hong Kong Museum of History. This museum is a good way to spend a rainy day in Hong Kong. It has lots of information about the city, from Prehistory until today. For example, you can see (and walk on) a model of an old fishing boat:

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Foot massage. I had initially planned to spend a day in Macau, but as it was raining heavily every day, I decided to stay in Hong Kong and invest some of the money I had saved for the trip on a foot massage. There are plenty of massage places in Hong Kong and you’ll probably be invited to get one while just walking on the street. I was actually talking with a Spanish guy at the hostel who had a friend from Hong Kong who had told him… how to distinguish a massage place from a “massage” place. If you see foot massages advertised with just a foot, then you will just get a massage.

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But, if at some moment a smiling face appears in the sign…

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Guess what? You actually get a massage with a happy ending. I got my massage (without quotes) after almost being kidnapped by a massage-PR lady in the streets of Kowloon and checking that there were no smileys anywhere to be seen. It was a great and relatively cheap way to relax after hours (and days) of walking from one place to another.

All in all, I didn’t really like Hong Kong. Too big, crowded, hot, humid and smelly for my taste. But I have to admit, it is a very tourist-friendly city: almost everyone speaks English, locals are not pushy with tourists (I’m in Vietnam now and locals ARE pushy with tourists) and you can find maps in the most visited places to help you find your way if you get lost:

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And finally, my vegan experiences. I kept cooking as in Japan:

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However, look what’s on the right side of the picture. “Oreo? Is this girl not vegan anymore?”. Good news! In some countries, Oreo are made without using any animal products, although they might have milk traces (I’ve already written before that I don’t care very much about that). So far, I’ve only found them in USA, Hong Kong and now in Vietnam. I was actually in New York last October and I remember being so excited about the vegan Oreos that every morning I would eat as many as I could for breakfast until my teeth would start hurting.

Usually I don’t eat almost any processed foods, and there’s no need to say that Oreos are not the best thing for your health. But who cares, they are vegan!

By the way (only useful for Spanish vegans), los bollycaos del Mercadona también son veganos. De hecho, cuando estoy en España y voy a comprar al Mercadona, la sección de bollería se convierte en un poderoso vórtice calórico del que me es imposible escapar…

Apart from cooking, I used the chance of having food labelled in English in the supermarket to fill my suitcase with vegan cereal bars.

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Quite often in the supermarkets, even in Spain, it’s possible to find at least one sort of cereal bars without any animal products, and they are very useful to have at hand when you’re travelling, just in case you can’t find any suitable food.

This was all about Hong Kong. Sorry for not having more pictures, but as I’ve mentioned before, it was raining almost all the time. And there were just not many nice things in that city to take pictures of…

Next post: Vietnam.

Vegan in Japan

Before going to Japan, I had thought that this country would be the perfect place for vegans and vegetarians, as Japanese are known for eating a lot of tofu, rice, vegetables and, on the whole, healthy things. But they also eat a lot of fish and, unless otherwise specified, the food that you can order at the restaurants and the processed products that you can find at the supermarkets are highly likely to contain fish or fish derivatives. So I basically cooked, and that turned out to save me a lot of money. More or less the same amount that I had to spend today on a new pair of lenses for my glasses because they woke up broken this morning. But that’s a story for future posts!

Back to food, this is what I took home on my first visit to a Japanese supermarket:
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Rice is sold in very large packages, the one you see there is 2 kg and it was the smallest one I could find. It was also easy to find other basics as olive oil (expensive and of poor quality but, as a Spaniard, I can’t cook without it), beans and vegetables. What you see in the blue bowl is seaweed salad. I really like seaweed and in Japan it’s very cheap compared to Europe (100 JPY=0.7 EUR):

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I guess what I got was basically Wakame, which is very rich in calcium, so it is a good source of this nutrient for those who don’t consume dairy products. I like using it in salads: I soak a teaspoon of the dry Wakame from the bag in water for around ten minutes, and it’s then ready to eat.

On my last days in Kyoto I went for more Japanese products:

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It’s hard to believe that I only paid 500 yen (3.6 EUR, 4.9 USD) for all that. Apart from the water, the bananas and the lettuce, you can see:

Nori seaweed: it’s known for being used for wrapping sushi. Usually you should toast it before eating it… unless you are staying at a hostel where there is no easy way to do it, in which case it’s not so bad to eat it as it comes in the package.

Tofu: there were so many kinds of tofu! And so cheap! For the ones who have never tried tofu, remember that it has a special (lack of) taste, so you should try to add some sauce or some spices when you cook it. How to cook tofu? If it’s smoked tofu, I just fry it for some minutes in a pan. If it’s normal tofu (white and fluffy), I boil it for 20 minutes with (optional) a small piece of Kombu seaweed so that it will be softer. Usually, as I’m always cooking some cereal to eat with it, I boil the tofu together with the cereal. That way I save energy, time and another dirty pan.

Umeboshi plums: my biggest addiction. They are pickled Japanese plums with a very sour taste and lots of properties: they can be used against fatigue, hungover, digestive problems… I like them so much that I could add them to every meal. The problem is, in Europe (at least in Germany and Spain), a package like the one in the picture costs around 10 €, although umeboshi vinegar has also similar properties (but less intense flavour) and a small bottle costs 2-3€. But in Japan the plums are very very cheap! I think I had just too many on my days there. Even my mum, who is not exactly a fan of exotic products, always uses umeboshi vinegar in her salads, so you get an idea of how addictive it can be.

Udon noodles: very easy to cook. I just boiled or fried them for a couple of minutes and they were ready to eat. I had never tried them before and I don’t know the prices in other countries, but the ones you see on the picture were just 15 yen (0.11 EUR, 0.15 USD). A great way to save money in Japan!

And this are some examples of what I cooked with those ingredients:

– Beans with umeboshi plums, carrots, rice, nori seaweed and olive oil:

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This is the typical dish that I would have for lunch, because I like having my protein (beans) in the middle of the day in order to have enough energy for the afternoon. As I’ve mentioned before, a way to make it cheaper outside Japan would be using some umeboshi vinegar instead of the plums.

– Spaghetti with tofu, carrots, umeboshi plums, lettuce and nori seaweed:

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I don’t usually eat gluten because it makes me very sleepy, but after a week of having just rice as a carbohidrate source, I felt it was time for some pasta (the only bread I could find in the supermarket had clearly milk or butter on it). This is a quick and easy dish, I just boiled the spaghetti together with the tofu and a carrot. I would have preferred to use buckwheat, millet or quinoa instead of pasta, but they are just too difficult to find in Asia.

– Rice with lettuce, carrots, nori seaweed and tofu (for the road):

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This is similar to what I used to take for lunch when I was working, but in this case I prepared it for my last plane journey. I like to put the rice in the bottom so that the dressing will leak and get there by the time I eat it and make the rice tastier. Ideas for dressing are olive oil, my beloved umeboshi vinegar or lemon juice. Or a combination of olive oil+umeboshi vinegar or olive oil+lemon juice. Lemon juice and umeboshi vinegar are maybe too different to be combined… but I also try that from time to time.

My culinary experiences in Japan end here. For the meat-eaters reading this, I’ll just let you know that you’ll probably only need to be able to point with your finger when you order in a restaurant, because they often have a plastic model of each dish to help you decide. For example, you can order a flying pizza slice:

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Next post: Kyoto and my encounters with cute deers and monkeys. Oh well, just an advance: