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Vegetarian Dining?

vermont
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Vegetarian Dining?

Just wondering if anyone has any advice or insight on dining for a vegetarian in Negril.

We're staying at a resort and will eat there mostly, so I imagine I can do well enough there...

But when we venture out into Negril, I'm just wondering how much the local dining scene has to offer for a non-meat eater? Will veggie foods be readily available or will I need to be explicit about the no meat (no dairy) thing?

Thanks!

Kingston, Canada
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1. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

Just look for places that have Ital on their menu boards. There are quite a few both on the beach and the west end cliffs.

CAN
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2. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

tons and tons of options. Jamaica is very big on vegetarian foods.

vermont
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3. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

thanks! i figured i'd be set... couldn't quite put my finger on what to look/ask for... but the "ital" note makes perfect sense.

Indiana
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4. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

Jamaica is easily the easiest place I have ever been to find vegetarian food.

I am not vegetarian (love meat, sorry) but I have eaten it a few times in Jamaica because it just looks so good (and because meat is more expensive). Ital is everywhere, but regular vegetarian can be found too.

I spent six weeks in rural Jamaica building a school back in college in 2003 and one of our girls was a strict vegetarian who was worried about finding enough to eat for that long of a time (i.e. boiled potatoes would get old real fast...that is kind of how she was thinking) - and she had no problem whatsoever. Jamaican cooks are inventive, spices are unique and plentiful, the produce is great, and there is a reasonably significant portion of non-meat-eaters in Jamaica so it behooves them to have a thing or two on the menu.

Edited: 03 March 2010, 17:44
Vancouver, Canada
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5. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

With all due respect, Jamaica is a very hard place to find veg. food. Meat eaters do not understand this. I can't count the number of times a meat eater has told me "they have lots of veg options" when in fact they were referring to fish or chicken, or overlooked the fact that an integral part of the meal had ham, or simply thought a garden salad should be sufficient. You can find meatless options on menus but they're hardly adequate. You will also have to ask very carefully about things cooked in chicken stock etc. Send the server back to the kitchen to ask the chef. They're likely to initially say, "the soup is vegetarian! Just pumpkin!" when in fact it is based on chicken stock.

However, if you ask, you will be directed to ital places.

When we travel to the Caribbean, we take our own supplies: Power Cookies from Whole Foods (a local recipe), Clif Builder bars and Stonewall Jerquee/Primal Strips. This way, we never feel stuck.

CAN
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6. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

crystal...on this we don't agree. My other half is a rasta and we have no issues finding vegetarian foods....

Vancouver, Canada
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7. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

It depends where you go...most restaurants catering to tourists are not veg-friendly. You may know better places.

Indiana
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8. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

Obviously it depends, Crystal, but I think more vegetarians know the questions to ask. Soups that are creamy or have the tell-tale sheen across the top were obviously cooked using animal/dairy fat.

Regardless, Ital is available everywhere and that is far more restrictive than vegetarian.

Indiana
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9. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

Crystal, nobody is suggesting that a vegetarian head to Rick's or Margaritaville.

Good vegetarian food can be found anywhere. You just have to ask around or know where to go. Ital is plentiful. Restaurants that have real vegetarian cuisine are plentiful.

I remember a delicious-looking spicy mango-scotch bonnet vegetable stir fry served at Rockhouse one time we were there - and I remember it because the menu said Vegan option (or something like that).

Heck, I even remember a rural jerk vendor in St. Thomas who served jerk spiced grilled vegetables over a bowl of coconut rice. I ate that a few times.

You aren't going to be able to use the same "list" of restaurants meat eaters go to, but there are options that can be found. Just ask around for good ital/veg. food and people will be able to point you in the right direction.

Edited: 03 March 2010, 18:22
vermont
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10. Re: Vegetarian Dining?

so, just to be clear though, if i ask for ital or ask if a dish is ital, does that generally mean no animal products? (equivalent to asking for vegan... although not nearly everywhere in the states even knows what vegan really means).

or should i clarify further by saying no meat/no dairy just to be sure?

and as most vegetarians do, when in doubt about the reliability of a reply, i pass.... i'd rather eat just fruit and vegetables than take a chance.