non-drinker and vegetarian visiting Czech

Discussion in 'Culture' started by devo, Apr 12, 2005.

  1. devo

    devo Member

    Hey everyone,

    I will be visiting a friend in Czech next month with a friend. Because I am a non-drinker and vegetarian, I am curious to know the probable reactions of the family I will be visiting and the people I meet there. Will they be offended if I do not drink or eat meat inside their homes, since it is part of their culture? How would someone such as myself typically be treated? Will they be understanding?

    Please let me know what I should expect while I am there. Thank you.
  2. Jana

    Jana Well-Known Member

    You will not be the only non-drinker and vegetarian in the country, so - in my opinion - the family you are going to visit will try to get and offer you anything they think might be acceptable for you. It would be helpful if they knew it in advance, but even if not, nobody will take it as an offense when you refuse to eat meat and drink beer or slivovice. I guess they would just feel sorry for you :wink:...
  3. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    Mostly, you'll be considered an amiable eccentric. Prepare yourself to be an object of pity until they get used to your ways. I advise you to let them know beforehand to give them time to adjust the grocery shopping list.
  4. evian

    evian Well-Known Member

    CR is one of the worst places in the world to cater for vegetarians. Meat is a staple in the Czech diet, featuring in the majority of household and restaurant meals. AFS student exchange program recommends vegetarians wanting to experience CR should be lenient with their diet restrictions or consider choosing another country. It is very difficult to find a pure vegetarian meal in much of the country. Vegetarian dishes will often be labled under 'Bezmasá jídla' on menus. I have read that some vegetarian meals are cooked in animal fat, and may in some cases even contain bits of meat! Most vegetarian meals comprise of potato, dumplings, cauliflour, onions, mushrooms and cheese. Some vegetarian restaurants in Prague include Café FX, Country Life and Albio.
    Hope this helps,
  5. Sova

    Sova Well-Known Member

    As a non-drinker, myself, I often felt pressured by Czechs to drink with them. Mainly, the lines went like, "Once won't hurt," or "you haven't lived until you try Czech beer." In the end, most Czechs weren't offended, but rather as Eva and Jana pointed out, they seemed to think I was missing out on something special, and took an attitude of pity. There were, however, a few Czechs who were offended that I wouldn't drink with them (even when I asked for a substitute non-alcoholic drink). In the CR, it's definitely not as bad as in Russia, though. Not drinking with someone can be taken as a mortal offense there.
  6. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    I agree! On the menu, there would be a vegetarian dish called "fried cheese with ham" or something! :shock:
  7. cechofil

    cechofil Well-Known Member

    Don't worry Devo,
    I was just in Prague, this time for 3 weeks and while being vegetarian is sometimes challenging it is absolutely feasilble. I am amazed that vegetarians have actually been discouraged from visiting the CR for such a reason. Of course people react curiously to you as there are not many vegetarians in their country. But I was always treated respectfully (to my face, at least) and I always managed to construct or modify a meal from almost every restaurant. Only once did I strike out and so we went somewhere else. Just be very polite when asking them to get you something outside of the norm. But almost always, you can find something acceptable, "as is" such as salads and vegetable side dishes. I often ate at a great pub, Vinarna Palecka at Chopinova 26 Praha 2 that had several vegetarian selections (using dairy in some). The vegetable bake is great. Also, there are many fast food Asian places in malls that offer an entirely vegetable meal. Country Life was mentioned and I found that ok, too. But mostly, what I did and you might want to do is get your own food at your local market. Produce and wholegrain foods and (for my lacto-ovo needs) dairy products are plentiful and cheaper than eating out. As others said, try to alert the family in advance. If you are left hungry after a meal with the family why not have a stash of granola bars with you for later? I say, where there is a will, there is a way. I have been vegetarian for over 30 years, trust me. You WILL survive. You aren't going there JUST for the food anyway, are you? CR is so much more than the food. Good luck and let us know how you fare. :D
  8. cechofil

    cechofil Well-Known Member

    Think of it this way Devo, you can be an instrument for change and awareness of vegetarianism in the CR. 30 years ago in the US, vegetarianism was not the fashionable and acceptable thing it is today. Back then, some people were even openly hostile to you for it. More than once, I encountered morons that were verbally abusive in attempts to force me into defending my beliefs all because they disagreed with it. Thankfully, people are much more tolerant nowadays and although CR has a little catching up to do in learning about us, you can be one of the ones to help educate them. :lol:
  9. sussy

    sussy Active Member

    I am a vegetarian as well. I think it's quite sad that anyone would discourage you from visiting any country or urge you to be flexible as to your dietary needs as your only two choices. It's great to hear all the positive suggestions, which prove that there are plenty of other alternatives. I recently travelled to Japan, which is notoriously difficult for vegetarians. I found that the easiest way to overcome the language barrier on menus is to learn the name of a few Czech items that you can eat. Your friend's family would most likely be able to help you with this. I think learning a few basic phrases in Czech such as, "I am a vegetarian" and "I don't eat meat(dairy, fish, etc)" would be beneficial also. Since people tend to have their own ideas regarding what constitues a vegetarian, in Japan almost everyone thought that I ate fish even after I told them I was a vegetarian, you can never assume their idea of vegetarian is the same as yours. So, it's a good idea to learn both phrases. I also think that it's a good idea to try the markets for fruits, breads, and snacks that you can eat just incase. This is also a great way to save some money! I am sure that with a little planning you will do just fine. Good luck and have fun!
  10. holger

    holger Active Member

    One of these phrases, legendary from a movie:

    Jsem abstinent ;) [Sam upsteenant] (hope to get the american pronounciation well)

    >I dont drink alcohol.
  11. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    Jana said: you will not be the only non-drinker here.

    While this is true, the country is know for its beer, and consumption. Czechs consume more alkohol per litre than any other country in the world...

    Yes, there are some non drinkers here, but be prepared for a funny look when you tell them no...

    I agree, being a non drinker is much better, a sign of strength, hats off to you...

    It is estimated that as many as 65 % of the population in the Ukraine is alcoholic or drinking at a problematic level. We, in the West, tend to frown on this much more than they do in the East, where is seems like the norm. We have many more public and social programs in place to combat this....
  12. Halef

    Halef Well-Known Member

    No way.

    Czechs consume about 10 litres of pure alcohol per capita per year (15 litres per adult). The rank is 4th in Europe.

    Czechs do hold the "world champions" title in drinking beer - about 160 litres p.c.p.y.

    See for more info.
  13. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    yes, it was beer only, as stated, beer and its consumption.... alcohol is alcohol
  14. Eva2

    Eva2 Well-Known Member

    I only hope that this vegetarian trend will remain marginal. If you think you are doing nature a favor, consider this: can you imagine the state of this planet if all species ate only vegetable matter?

    Awaiting the firing squad... :shock:
  15. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    I agree with you and dont consider myself to be a part of the firing squad, but can surely identify them:}

    When they finally get off their little Iraq horse, they will be over here to get ye, don't worry
  16. anu

    anu Well-Known Member

    why should there be a firing squad? this is not an argument, lions and wolves will never turn into vegetarians, so nature doesn't have to be afraid :wink: as for the world population it would be great if all human beings were vegetarians, because much farmland is wasted to feed beast (animals? don't know which word to pick for the german "vieh") or to grow cereals to feed beast. but then, of course, to be firm you should not be only a vegetarian but a vegan... and THIS makes life complicated, i think :?
  17. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    Im going to pass on the vegie thing, I eat meat...

    Eva the moderator awaits the lions....they eat meat too.
  18. whatgives

    whatgives Member

    They're here....
    In case you didn't notice the thread on Bush and Foreign Policy has been locked, so stop your idle ramblings. By the way, we are here for you, not Eva. :D
  19. KJP

    KJP Well-Known Member

    oh I noticed...I told you they would come...

    MOM, I mean DANA, see whatgives here? No pun intended
  20. idemtidem

    idemtidem Well-Known Member

    I just wanted to say hello... :lol:

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