“Vegetarian hitchhikers stock” or “inventory of edible contents in our travel backpacks upon arrival home (according to photograph attached). Items classified by country of purchase (not of actual origin) following no particular order. 24th December 2015.”
Rosehip and mint tea
A packet of (pink coloured) Himalayan rock salt
Spirulina in powder
2 instant cup-soups
Half a kilo of Kangra Valley tea
Half empty bag of green tea
600 grams of honey
10 balls of Kurut (Kyrgyz speciality made of dried yogurt balls)
Sweet red paprika
One box of breakfast cereals
2 packets of chicken noodles (they turn vegetarian if one does not add the seasonings)
3 pots of Potato puree (they turned out to be chicken flavoured)
2 small chocolates “Kazakhstan”
Of unknown origin
Black tea bags (without label)
Chewing gum “Mamba”
Authors’ reflections and comments on the inventory:
I have always been of the opinion that the contents of one’s bag can say a lot about its owner. Keeping that in mind we must confess that we are not really keen on sharing the intimacies of our full backpacks, but we are alright with showing just a fraction of the big picture. This photo that we came across while writing about our journey back home responds to one inquiry we are often made: vegetarians? what do you eat on the way?
Unfortunately, we must confess that the contents listed in the inventory above do not seem to represent our diet with any accuracy whatsoever. We usually ate much more rice than pasta and noodles, and it was common to find among our belongings more than one onion, and often more than three, as well as garlic, ginger and leak. Also almost invariably 1 pepper and 4 tomatoes squeezed into a tupperware box. Boiled eggs were often part of the diet as well, specially in Central Asia. And any sort of grains were consumed whenever available for an appropriate intake of proteins (the thing all vegetarians worry about). The menu was usually complemented with fruits, nuts and additional veg.
Note 1: when local delicacies of a vegetarian nature were available in markets, shops and stalls, we also indulged in them without restrictions – i.e. Lao baked sweet potato, Myanmari avocados, Thai coconut sweets, Indian ladoo, Iranian everything-made-from-dates, Turkish simmit, Churchhella from Georgia, crazy stuff in China, etc.
Note 2: when foraging was possible, we did follow locals’s advice. Banana flower, Durian and Rattan are amongst our favourite “discoveries”. Unfortunatelly none of them are available in the photograph above, but you might be able to see a banana flower picked right from the palm here)
Note 3: none of us drinks coffee, hence its absence from the list.
Note 4: we hope this post has helped to illustrate the fact that hitchhikers do not need to stay hungry on the road, even more if is equiped with any sort of camping stove.
Note 5: Burma only approved a tiny part of the vegetarian diet, namely: papaya, watermelon and cucumbers. The videos of “cats horrified by cucumbers” do not apply to her. All the rest of stuff was worthless of her attention and palate.
Note 6 – for Iva (or anyone with similar observations): now you can see why our backpacks are a bit oversized… do not follow our steps, and do travel light if you can.
6 10 additional food-related images for further clarity (got a bit carried away by the beauty of roadside food)