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I've had odd experiences in ChIna as a vegan and teetotaller, and was wondering if anyone here can explain what's going on.|
One day I'd passed by a street vender and asked about is bread: "You meiyou rou?"
"Meiyou rou," he answered. "Jiu shi yang rou."
Hugh?! So if "yang rou" isn't "rou", then what does "rou" mean exactly?
One day in Changchun I'd walked into a restaurant and asked what they had "meiyou roude". The waitress recommended "gourou tang". Believing she had understood that I want no meat, I assumed that maybe "gourou" had some meaning other than "dog neat" of which I was unaware. Sure enough, it was dog soup. When I confronted her about it, she snswered, "ni shuo ni bu chi rou."
Hugh?! Am I using the wrong word to express the concept of meat?
On another occasion on Shenzhen, I asked what there was "quan su de". I forget the name of the dish, but it contained egg. Now I'm left saying "wo bu chi rou, yu, jidan, niunai, fongmi, suoyou dongwu laide wo bu chi."
A friend recommended "wo shi sushizhuyizhe".
Any other recommendations? Si far it seems that short of a long-winded phrase, there is no clear way in Chinese of expressing that I eat vegan. Any recommendations on that front?
Secondly, it would seem that refusing to drink is a matter of face in Shandong at least. When I first refused to drink, the host was offended, saying that this is Chona, and that in China we do as the Chinese do.
Under presaure and having to find a way out of my predicament, I responded that many Uighur and Hui are teetotaller too. Lucky for me, he laughed at my wit, but I could imagine this stunt perhaps being offensive among others. It seems that some hosts get offended if we refuse to eat animal products and byproducts, even if we are satisfied, happy and content with just rice if necessary.
How do Chinese vegans and teetotallers navigate what appears to be an extremely complicated food and wine culture surrounded by ideas of giving and saving face when all we care about is compassion for animals and caring for our health?