How to Say “I Don’t Eat Meat” in 27 Languages

Show off your language skills and keep animal products off your plate.

Waiter taking food order from friends in Japanese restaurant

JohnnyGreig / Getty Images

Plant-based travelers can enjoy cuisine in nearly every corner of the world—so long as they order in the local language.

Vegetarianism and veganism are common practices in some areas of the world and less so in others. For travelers, this may mean it's best to explain to your restaurant server what you do and do not eat. 

Here, we’ve compiled a list of ways to ensure your food is meat-free in some of the most common languages. Bon appetit! ¡Buen provecho! Buon appetito!

How to Order Vegan or Vegetarian in Other Languages

Communication with your server is key to keeping animal products out of your order. Please note: Many languages do use different suffixes or syllables to show gender. On this list, the masculine endings are listed first with the feminine ending after the slash.

Arabic

  • Ana la akol allahm ana nabati/ya. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Ana nabatee/ya. (I am vegetarian.)

Amharic (Ethiopia language)

  • Sega albellam. (I don't eat meat.)

Cantonese

  • Ngall tsi sik sul. (I only eat vegetarian.)

Danish

  • Jeg spiser ikke kød. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Jeg er vegetar. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Jeg er veganer. (I am vegan.)

Dutch

  • Ik eet geen vlees. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Ik ben een vegetarier. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Ik ben een veganist. (I am vegan.)

Farsi

  • Man gousht nemikhoram. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Man giahkhar hastam. (I am a vegetarian.)
  • Man vehgahn hastam. (I am a vegan.)

Finnish

  • En syö lihaa. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Olen kasvissyöjä. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Olen vegaani. (I am vegan.)

French

  • Je ne mange pas de viande. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Je suis un végétarien/ne. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Je suis un végétalien/ne. (I am vegan.)

German

  • Ich esse kein Fleisch. (I don’t eat meat.)
  • Ich bin Vegetarier/in. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Ich bin Veganer/in. (I am vegan.)

Greek

  • Den troo kreas. (I don’t eat meat.)
  • Ime chortofagos. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Ime fegan. (I am vegan. Note: This word is new in the Greek vocabulary, so it’s best to explain what you don’t eat.)

Hindi

  • Main shakahari hoon. (I am vegeterian.)
  • Main shuddh shakahaari hoon. (I am a pure vegetarian.)

Hebrew

  • Ani lo ochel/et basar. (I don’t eat meat.)
  • Ani tzimchoni/t. (I’m vegetarian.)
  • Ani tivoni/t. (I’m vegan.)

Icelandic

  • Ég borða ekki kjöt. (I don’t eat meat.)
  • Ég er grænmetisæta. (I am vegetarian.)

Italian

  • Non mangio carne, nè pollo, o pesce. (I don't eat meat, chicken, or fish.)
  • Io sono vegetariano/a. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Io sono vegano/a. (I am vegan.)

Japanese

  • Watashi wa bejetarian desu. (I'm a vegetarian.) 
  • Watashi wa niku o itadakimasen. (I don’t eat meat.)

Treehugger Tip

When ordering Japanese food, order your food Buddhist style—shojin ryori—and you'll get a vegetarian version of the dish.

Korean

  • Gogi an mogoyo. (I don't eat meat. Note: Koreans may interpret “gogi" to mean beef only. It’s best to describe what you don’t eat.)

Mandarin

  • Wo bu chi rou. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Wo shi sushi zhe. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Wo shi chun sushi zhe. (I am vegan.)

Mongolian

  • Bi makh iddeggüi. (I don’t eat meat.)

Norwegian

  • Jeg spiser ikke kjøtt, egg, eller meieriprodukter. (I don't eat meat, eggs, nor dairy products.)
  • Jeg er vegetarianer. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Jeg er veganer. (I am vegan.)

Polish

  • Nie jem miesa, drobiu, ryb, jajek, sera. (I don’t eat meat, poultry, fish, eggs, cheese.)
  • Jestem wegetarianinem/ka. (I am a vegetarian.)
  • Jestem wegan. (I am a vegan. Note: This is a novel term in Polish and not familiar to many people.) 

Portuguese

  • Eu não como carne. (I don’t eat meat.)
  • Eu sou vegetariano/a. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Eu sou vegano/a. (I am vegan.)

Russian

  • Ya nye yem meeyasa. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Ya vegetariaanyets/ka. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Ya vegan/ka. (I am a vegan.)

Spanish

  • Yo no como carne. (I don’t eat meat.)
  • Yo soy vegetariano/a. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Yo soy vegano/a. (I am vegan.)

Swedish

  • Jag äter inte kött. (I do not eat meat.)
  • Jag är vegetarian. (I am vegetarian.)
  • Jag är vegan. (I am vegan.)

Tamil

  • Naan maamisam saappiduvathu illai. (I don't eat meat.)
  • Naan saivam. (I am vegetarian.)

Thai

  • Phom/Chan pen jay. (I am a vegetarian. Note: Ahaan jay is mild, onion-, garlic-, and animal product-free food.)
  • Phom/Chan pen mangsawirat. (I am a vegetarian. Note: Ahaan mangsawirat describes Thai food without meat, seafood, or dairy but perhaps eggs.) 
  • Phom/Chan mai khai. (I don’t eat eggs.)

Vietnamese

  • Koo dou chai khoong ah? (Do you have vegetarian food? Note: Dou chai, sometimes spelled thuc an chay, means vegetarian food.)
  • Toi khong ang theet, tom, kaa. (I do not eat meat, shrimp, and fish. Note: In Vietnam, these are separate items not covered under the umbrella of meat.)

Best Types of Cuisines for Vegetarians and Vegans

Injeera bread dish, Gondor, Ethiopia,
Ethiopian food offers vegans a plethora of plant-based options.

Tim E White / Getty Images

Certain cuisines are more vegan-friendly than others due to factors such as surrounding geography, local religious practices, and available resources. Here are a few cuisines that offer an abundance of vegan and vegetarian options.

Southern Indian

Thanks to its peninsular, tropical geography, Southern Indian food often offers more vegetarian and pescatarian food than its landbound Northern neighbors. Southern Indian cuisine is known for its spicy vegetable stews, lentils, and rice, many of which are made vegan. Southern Indian food usually has less ghee (a form of clarified butter) and more coconut milk. Just be sure to trade paneer (cheese made from cows or buffalo) for tofu.

Some vegetable dishes may contain dairy, so check with your server if you have questions. Many versions of naan, a leavened flatbread, include yogurt. Choose roti, also called chapati, for a reliably vegan bread

Mexican

Before the Spanish conquered Mexico, many Indigenous people lived on a plant-based diet, dining on crops affectionately called the three sisters: corn, beans, and squash. Familiar Mexican meat-based dishes didn’t enter Mexican cuisine until the 16th century. Today's vegan-Mexican options include endless delicious combinations of the sisters with other fresh fruits and vegetables, all steeped in a rich history of culture.

Occasionally, lard appears in otherwise vegan foods like tortillas, sweet corn tamales, beans, and anything that has been fried. The same holds for rice, which may contain chicken stock. Be sure to clarify with your server if you have questions about how your food is prepared.

Southern Italian

Southern Italian cuisine doesn’t rely on resource-intensive dairy and meat for its signature sapore. Grains, legumes, and veggies are often mixed to create hearty, vegetable-forward meals that pass vegan muster. Think pasta pomodoro, caponata (eggplant stew), and fave e cicoria (pureed fava beans with chicory). These foods taste like the volcanic soil in which they were grown, giving Southern Italian cuisine a truly unique flavor.

Check with your server if you’re not sure the base of your stew or soup is entirely plant-based, as some Southern Italian food does contain animal stock. Italian restaurants in the United States tend to plate their food with grated cheese, so be sure to ask your server to hold any toppings. 

Ethiopian

Ethiopian food features rich stews brimming with spices, vegetables, and legumes. The best part? You get to eat with your hands. Tear off a piece of vegan-friendly injera, a spongy fermented flatbread made with the ancient grain teff. 

Sometimes niter kibbeh (butter) is used to enhance the flavor of vegetables, so be sure to ask your server if your food is cooked this way. Otherwise, unless the dish is centered around meat, all Ethiopian fasting foods—known as yetsome megebe—are vegan-friendly. 

Tips for Eating Vegetarian or Vegan

Two female friends sitting on holiday in Venice, Italy

SolStock / Getty Images

As the lifestyles continue to gain popularity, it’s easier and easier to eat vegetarian or vegan in pretty much any major city in the world. Wherever you are, follow these tips to make your dining experience that much more enjoyable.

Look at the Menu in Advance

For many places in North America, you can use the internet to scout out where you’ll be eating so you’ll never find yourself stranded with nothing to eat. If you discover that where you’re dining doesn’t have any vegan options, you can suggest another place to eat, or you can continue your vegan sleuthing to find food just about anywhere.

If you can’t change where you’re eating, you can often use the menu to cobble together a satisfying vegan meal. Comb through the sides and salads—with a few alterations, you might be surprised how much you still can eat, even at a restaurant (like a steakhouse) that caters to meat eaters.

Speak to Someone at the Restaurant

If the menu doesn’t appear to have anything that could even potentially be made vegan (by removing cheese or butter, for example), you can call and ask if the chef can create a dish that meets your dietary needs. Many establishments are more than willing to accommodate.

You can also get creative with your toppings to gussy up your sides and salads. Can’t find a vegan dressing? Ask for olive oil and vinegar. That trusty combination with a dash of salt and pepper will transform a side into a delicious meal. Oil also makes a great alternative to butter for any complimentary bread served.

Disclose Your Dietary Needs Before Placing Your Order

It’s easier when all parties understand that you’re hoping to order a meat-free meal before ordering. Speaking to your server beforehand can help them clue you into animal products on the menu you hat not yet thought of. By opening a conversation up about your needs, you can help yourself and everyone involved in the meal have a more pleasant and fulfilling experience.  

This part of eating vegan can cause some folks anxiety because it can feel like you’re taking too much time or asking too many questions. To counteract those worries, learn what’s available before you arrive and articulate it before you order. This gives you the best shot at quickly and effectively communicating your needs and providing your server with the information they need to best serve you.

Why Is This on Treehugger?

Eating less meat is one of the easiest and most effective ways an individual can reduce their overall carbon footprint. We hope that small changes like this can remind everyone that our choices can make a difference in the climate crisis, inspiring more people to participate in sustainable behaviors. 

View Article Sources
  1. Estévez-Moreno, Laura X., Genaro C. Miranda-de la Lama. "Meat consumption and consumer attitudes in México: Can persistence lead to change?" Meat Science, vol. 193, November 2022. doi:10.1016/j.meatsci.2022.108943