The Plastic Free Formula

30 Oct 2016 The Plastic Free Formula

I love Asian culture, the food and the people. If there's one thing that bothers me while travelling in Asia, it's plastic! Mention plastic, and the response is always the same, “too much!"

I do what I can as an individual, and my dream is to crack this issue and reduce the scurge. Asia needs it, we all need it. Read more about it here.

Going waste free in Asia can be a tiring affair, up-market restaurants generally are not a problem. Ordering drinks and not getting a straw is always tough, that's tough anywhere. I’ll get myself a stainless steel straw and carry it around with me next time.

Dumplings and fresh spring rolls served on a proper plate - win, win win.

I eat a lot of street food when I travel. I wander, and watch what I am hungry for and buy food from someone not serving on plastic. Many street food vendors in Vietnam are serving on a plate with steel cutlery and wooden chopsticks, then washing up afterwards. It can take a bit of time to find a street vendor like this, so start your food adventure early to avoid those hungry episodes on the road.

Generally, you can sit down and have Phở (soup), Cơm tấm, (broken rice - choose your toping’s), or fresh spring rolls on a washable plate. Banh Mi (Baguette sandwich) always comes with a bag, but if your quick you can say “No” in Vietnamese ‘Không’, you'll be understood.

The beautiful and reliable Banh Mi - hai trứng (two eggs)

Coffee in a single use cup is a tough one to crack. Coffee can be served in plastic or glass. There are thousands of small Vietnamese coffee shops, chain cafés and street vendors. The best formula to be plastic free on a trip overseas is to carry a reusable cup that has a handle and attach it to your bag with a carabiner.  It will come in handy when venues serve sit-down coffee in plastic cups. 

*Side note - there are also many "special" boutique cafes with great coffee, some examples; Saffron - Laos, The Little Red Fox and Sisters Srey in Siam Reap, Faifo in Hoian, Shin and Fugashin in Ho Chi Minh City.

My travel tip is : Support the small vendors who do the dishes! They keep our oceans and rivers clean!!!  There is a mood for change... single use plastic's days are numbered. 

Set an example. Ask for glass. Carry your own cup. Support the 'dish washing' street vendors.

Dishwashing preparation - I trust it, wouldn't you?

Fair Food Forager is now taking listings in Singapore and Bali and isn’t far away in other countries. A comprehensive list of ethical venues is definitely the next step, so please share your finds with us here. Help others source a meal with reduced plastic, and set the example.

Paul Hellier - Founder


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