So, You’ve been attracted by this delicious picture of a pizza and so you clicked on the article to know where you can find it?
Well, I will tell you very soon but now that I have your full attention: welcome to this article about… being a vegetarian in Portugal!
This article is specially dedicated to the futur EVS volunteer who will have the crazy idea of being vegetarian and come to Portugal (but it could interest everyone who want to know more about it). To help you in this new world where being vegetarian is like being an alien from an other planet, I will tell you my personal experience since the past two months that I have been in Portugal. So first, let’s start with the reactions you should expect from the Portuguese people when you will drop the news of you eating habits. Okay, if you are vegetarian for quite a time you are used to the reactions of people but Portuguese people are really not ready to heard that and they aren´t used to vegetarianism. I have a few stories to show that very well:
The first one. Once we were in Costa da Caparica and it was time to eat so we walked around all the restaurants and asked if they have something without meat. They literally took one step back, open their eyes widely and said: “VEGETA…Que?”. Just for you, here is an illustration of Portuguese People faces when you ask for something vegetarian in a restaurant.
The second one take place in the school in which we have Portuguese class every Thursday. We eat lunch there too, so the teacher asked us if we have any food allergy to tell the cooker. So, it was the time for me to tell the big news. And the reaction was as expected: jokes. “Ok so for you, it will be easy, herbs and grass”. But I am used to this so I just laughed and wait for this “déjà-vu” moment to be over. The vegetarian food that they prepared in this school is actually pretty good, so I will not complain (even if I am french and that I am supposed to do so). When we went to lunch I saw on the board that there were only 2 persons out of around 180 that took a vegetarian meal during this shift and the funny thing is: it was me and my flatmate/friend who only can eat halal food ! I guess it is a good representation of the 3% of person who are vegetarian in Portugal.
Fish and meat are very an important part of the food in Portugal, especially in traditional meals. So, for now I never try traditional salty food because half of them are made with meat and fish. But, the good thing is that they are a lot of sweet food that hopefully don’t contain animals.
If it can comfort you, you are not alone! Actually I happened to make a few friends who are vegetarian and even vegan. Now I have a huge list of vegetarian restaurants that I absolutely need to try before coming back to France. When you meet another EVS volunteer and he turns out to be a vegetarian too, it is like you just heard the most amazing news in your life and you are a little bit like this:
By reading the beginning of this article, you must think “Oh, being vegetarian in Portugal seems to be a real nightmare… how do you survive?” Well, truth be told, It is not that hard actually. Once you drop the news to people and they have made the usual jokes about vegetable having souls or that you can only eat herbs, they actually get interested about the cause and when it come to make food for everyone, they adapt the meal for you.
I think we could make a vegetarian “revolution” in Portugal. I mean, a few things are being made by the government thanks to vegetarian associations. Indeed, since mars 2017, thanks to a petition from the Portuguese Vegetarian Society signed by over 15 000 persons, every public establishments has to offer at least one meal without products of animal origins. It is a big step. A vegan festival even take place every year in Lisbon in the beginning of October since 10 years. I went there and there was actually a lot of people, so that means that there are more and more people that feel concerned and interested. It is a good thing! I think it is mostly for environmental reasons because people finally realized that we destroyed the planet and that we urgently need to do something in someway. To go in that revolution way, I have now a new goal for my EVS project: make my 3 evs flatmates become vegetarian. Oh my god, if I succeed, it will be a huge step because they are very open minded and tolerant about it but they also loved their meat.
And now, because I have promised you in the beginning of this article, there is where you can find this amazing Pizza from the article’s picture. Actually it come from a french restaurant called Ma Biche Pizza. It is a very nice little place in the city center of Lisbon and there are normal price for Pizza.
Still Hungry ? For desert you can also taste those delicious vegan pancakes with banana and strawberries in a place (still in Lisbon) called Amélia. It is also not very expensive but very crowded between noon and 2:00pm. If you love to take picture of your food to put it on Instagram, this is the perfect place for you.
I also heard about a restaurant in Almada near Cine Incrivel (our Thursday night jazz place) that serve vegetarian burgers that I really need to try. Actually there is a lot of places near Almada and Lisbon that I still have to go to. I even have to go in Porto to visit a friend who is a EVS volunteer in a Vegan restaurant which seems so great. Maybe one of my next article will be a list of good places to eat that I will update regularly. We will see!
So I guess this article is now over. I really wanted to talk about this subject because it is a big part of my life now and I think it is very important to talk about it. I didn’t want to be moralistic and force you to become vegetarian because from the past, I know it is not the best way to talk about this. I just wanted to show you that you can eat very well while being ethical. So I hope you enjoyed it and you laughed at my stories about Vegetarian vs Portuguese. Maybe it even make you want to eat in those places when you will go to Portugal. Either ways, my job here is complete.
Have a good week and see you next time for another episode of “the adventures of the french girl in Portugal” !