During the trip, we balance between cooking by our own means and small roadside restaurants.
On a daily basis
In general: tea, oatmeal (or biscuit if you can’t find it) and bananas for breakfasts. Sylvain loves these little red fruit-scented milk bricks to go with it all. Lunch and dinner in local “boui boui” are cheaper than shopping in supermarkets. Almost everything is cooked there the same day and sometimes directly in front of our eyes. Furthermore, we discover flavors and tolerances that we didn’t know each other.
We sometimes trust “guides” or websites (like TripAdvisor), with some nice finds!
Another solution is to use our gas stove. Not easy for preparing dishes with local ingredients (and not having the utensils for), we find ourselves buying ingredients known in Europe, which is more expensive, not local and has a bad carbon impact. We therefore reserve these meals for exceptional situations and mainly for pasta dishes. On the other hand, we find local vegetables at the markets, because in small towns and villages they are unaccustomed to selling vegetables and fruit outside the production season. It’s pretty convenient and it avoids having to hang around the market with our seasonal fruit and vegetable calendar 😉
The third solution is the on-the-go meal in the market. The problem of meals in night markets and floating markets is plastic. Everything is pre-packaged and then over-packaged (plastic bags), often individually. It is difficult to make the seller understand that you do not want to be served in disposable packaging. Their reflexes are very fast, more than ours at first.
So we get into the habit of watching every move to avoid ending up with a useless plastic bag.
Zero waste solutions
Buy bulk, bring our containers (in plastic for a bicycle weight issue).
But in the markets, few stalls still sell in bulk. And there are almost no bulk stores except in the shopping malls of the capitals crossed, which does not allow us to make regular “refills” but just a one-time purchase of a reasonable weight.
We no longer buy plastic bottles and fill our bottles at the water fountains available in some guesthouses or at the tap after passing through our filter pump. It’s tedious (2 minutes per bottle) but it seems to us the best alternative, much better even than hygienic solutions like Micropur. We stop from time to time to drink an iced tea served in a large plastic glass of course….
So I insist that we take care of them in order to reuse them almost infinitely. My glass has already crossed two countries and we have acquired bamboo straws!
However, even when we drink iced tea in a real restaurant, we are sometimes served in plastic glasses again.
Never let your guard down!!
Hard to convince
I defend my point of view on the drastic reduction of our plastic consumption with maximum reuse of containers or utensils collected inadvertently. It is important to clearly separate your needs and desires throughout the trip to determine what margin of error we are willing to accept in our waste production.
My arguments sometimes seem futile because plastic packaging is embedded in the daily lives of the inhabitants looking for everything practical, ready, all consumable. But I think it’s important to be vigilant about our consumption of plastic, cans and glass bottles and pay attention to our wastes. In particular, we try not to throw anythinh in the garbage cans of isolated areas, but in more crowded areas where the garbage will be picked up by trucks and transported, we hope, to a collection centre or even sorting.