How the #&$% is Thai food vegetarian?

When I’m using the word “vegetarian” in this thread, I do not mean vegan. I am talking about those vegetarians who will not eat dead animals or foods involving products using dead animals. However, they will eat milk, honey, eggs, etc. So I mean strict ovo-lacto-vegetarian when I’m talking about “strict vegetarians.” (Which, depending on your views, may be an oxymoron.) As I said above, I’ve known several people who fall into this category–it’s probably the most common form of vegetarianism I’ve encountered. I don’t really know anybody who is that fussy about the isinglass or whatever used as finings in drinks, but certainly cheeses made with animal-based rennets are objectionable to a number of vegetarians I know. So much so that when I’m preparing a meal for a vegetarian, I check on what cheeses I could use.

Moving to Cafe Society.

General Questions Moderator

Bwuh? :confused: Could you please elaborate on the part I bolded? glances at betta swimming peacefully in his bowl on my desk. Is my new little Fishie not, in fact, a fishie?

Who’s they? Honestly, in Anglo-American culture the term has relatively little history. In India, however, vegetarianism has been practiced for millennia and it’s fairly well accepted among both vegetarians and non-vegetarians that as a baseline matter, fish and eggs are not vegetarian and mushrooms, dairy, and honey are vegetarian. The vagaries surgounding word “animal” is irrelevant since it only comes into play if you are assuming that every concept is based on how words are defined in English.

Wiki “Because the term “fish” is defined negatively, and excludes the tetrapods (i.e., the amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals) which descend from within the same ancestry, it is paraphyletic, and is not considered a proper grouping in systematic biology. The traditional term pisces (also ichthyes) is considered a typological, but not a phylogenetic classification.”

In other words, there ain’t no class “Pisces” anymore, that was from Linnaeus. What was “Pisces” is now (and I simplify) Agnatha, Chondrichthyes, & (what are the little guys swimming around your fishbowl) Osteichthyes, aka “Bony fish”.

Umm, no, not at least as far as eggs go, see pulykamell’s definition. So, your “fairly well accepted” is not.

Fish do not form a clade; there are a bunch of animals that live in the sea and have scales and gills and so on, and generally look "fish"y, but they aren’t thought to all actually derive from a shared common ancestor not common to other animals. In that sense, they are a suspect way of categorizing animals (much like it would be odd to speak of a language family containing English, French, and Spanish. but not German).

ETA: Wow, I guess I was keeping this window open without refreshing. Way late on the ball on this one…

What’s 10 minutes between friends? :wink:
Your post added info, anyway.

Vegetarians aren’t the same as vegans, true, but vegetarians don’t eat fish. Pescatarians eat fish. Minor nitpick perhaps, but my sister went from omnivore to pescatarian to vegetarian, and she assures me there’s a difference.

Hare Krishnas don’t eat garlic or onions either. Makes their food very bland IMO.

At a Buddhist vegetarian restaurant I went to in Hong Kong, a lot of ‘meat’ products were faked using vegetables - e.g. chicken drumsticks made of soya protein complete with plastic bones, and taro fish, which presented us with a fish made out of the versatile root vegetable, even using a pea for its eye.

I noticed pork chops on the menu so I called the waiter over: “what are the pork chops made out of?”

He looked at me like I was stupid. “Pig,” he said.

“But this is a vegetarian restaurant.”


“And a pig is an animal.”

“No it is not.”

“What is it then?”

“A vegetable.”

Aroy-D’s green curry paste is also shrimp-free. (I knew I had a tub of green paste in there and was all set to prove you wrong. Imagine my chagrin!)

If the paste includes “nam pla” though, it has fish sauce in it.

Well, he is saying that in the context of the Indian definition of vegetarianism. Which is enlightening, because I never tweaked that Indian vegetarians don’t eat eggs. I’ve been around plenty of Indian vegetarian meals, and, now that it’s mentioned, it seems obvious, but I never noticed it before.

The only reason I know that the Yellow Curry paste by Mae Ploy is the only shrimp-free one in their line-up is because it says so on the tub. :slight_smile: I actually usually use Aroy-D, myself. I didn’t realize that their green curry is without shrimp paste. I have their red curry and massaman curry pastes in my fridge, and neither of those have shrimp paste, either, so I suspect the Aroy-D line comes without shrimp paste by default.

Given that there’s no official definition, only the way the words are used, this sort of claim is silly. What it does mean is that if someone says they’re vegetarian, and you really want to know the limits of their diet, you’ll need to ask more questions.

If you wanted to be a pedant, of course, those vegetarians better not be consuming anything fermented (monera) or made with yeast (fungus), much less any dairy or eggs (animal).

Often but not always. I used to work with a woman who had terrible cholesterol problems who went vegan for health reasons.

No official definition? Pescetarian may be a neologism, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t a word: “The Merriam-Webster dictionary dates the origin of the term … to 1993 and defines it to mean: ‘one whose diet includes fish but no meat.’”

But hey, people can call themselves whatever they want. I’m not presuming to stop a pescetarian from calling themselves a vegetarian, if they really want to (they’re not being accurate in current English parlance, but someone else’s conflicting diet and word choice is no skin off my nose). Nor am I insisting vegetarians stop eating yeast or mushrooms. But please note, we don’t *have *a term for a person who eats vegetables plus yeast or vegetables plus mushrooms. We *do *have a term for a person who eats vegetables plus fish. In the interests of accuracy, why shouldn’t we use it?

While the taxonomical stuff, as well as the semantic stuff, is all great fun (hey, if I didn’t enjoy some good pedantry as much as the next guy, I wouldn’t be here), I think that it’s important to stress that for most vegetarians / vegans, it’s also mostly beside the point. It’s a bit like when someone tells a vegetarian: “But plants are alive, too. Ah-hah! Gotcha!”. That doesn’t suddenly make eating an apple (or, in my opinion but YMMV, an onion) equivalent to stuffing yourself with hamburgers every day. For most people who avoid eating meat or other animal products, it’s not about playing a classification game or matching any strict definitions. It’s about the very real and very practical matter of reducing suffering. Mushrooms and yeast are not (as far as we know) capable of suffering. Animals, on the other hand, certainly are. However, how far any individual will choose to go, or feel that it is necessary to go, in doing so, will often vary quite a bit, and not everyone is all that concerned about what labels others put on them.

Pulykamell’s definition doesn’t apply to the context of what I said. And that context isn’t hard to miss since it’s in the same sentence. In fact it’s the first two words of that sentence, “In India.”

I’d say that among the vegetarians I know, the ones who “acquired” or vegetarianism (i.e., westerners who made a choice at some point in their lives to become vegetarian, converts) may have done it for moral reasons or for health reasons or both. Among the vegetarians I know who are “cultural” vegetarians (i.e., Indian vegetarians, vegetarians by birth), they are vegetarian first just because they were raised as such, and the morality or health aspects constitute secondary factors.