A guide to meat-free grub
It's not easy being vegetarian in this part of the world, where shrimp, and sometimes even chicken, are not always seen as 'meat' and non-carnivores are expected to pull chunks of pork out of their fried rice.
Narender Panjwani, of the Media Plus publishing house, became so frustrated at the lack of information about vegetarian restaurants in regional cities that he came up with the idea for the Veg Haven guidebook, to help his fellow grazers find places to eat while they're on the road.
'The idea was born a decade ago when I was travelling a lot as Asia-Pacific circulation director of BusinessWeek,' Panjwani says. 'It was always a challenge to find a vegetarian restaurant. But now that the world recognises vegetarianism as a healthy way to live, the number of such restaurants has mushroomed.'
The Southeast Asia edition of the book lists more than 650 restaurants in Hong Kong, Macau, Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore and Thailand. A North Asia edition will follow later this year. Apart from listing restaurants' addresses, phone numbers and business hours, the guidebook provides information on types of cuisine, specialities and prices.
'We decided to include small, medium and high-end restaurants as we wanted to offer information on a wide range of options,' says Panjwani. 'And, to make it easy for the reader to identify the class of restaurants, we have a price rating: '$' for inexpensive, '$$' for medium and '$$$' for high-end.'
Veg Haven Southeast Asia, published by Media Plus Hong Kong, is available in major bookstores for HK$98.