Wednesday, October 5, 2011


Eating out as a vegan can be a little tricky. Assuming you're willing to go to a place that sells meat there are a few things you need to be careful of....

Thai- watch out for shrimp paste and fish sauce- even in the vegetarian section of the menu! Watch out for egg in the veggie spring rolls too. You can usually get rice paper rolls instead though :)

Chips- if they're fresh cut chips you're safe but if they're crap from a packet they'll most likely have animal fat in them.

Bread- watch out for milk products like whey... good bakers will roll their eyes at you if you ask them if their bread contains it. But you'll need to check with your server when eating out... and anything breaded or golden may have an egg wash on it.

Italian- watch out for fresh pasta- dried pasta will be vegan but fresh has egg in it.
Pizza- watch for milk in the base and cheese underneath the toppings- even if you ask for no cheese they still manage to find a way to sneak it on... it sometimes helps to let them assume you're lactose intolerant by saying something like 'I can't eat dairy products' instead of I wont eat them... same goes for anything italian- pasta, risotto etc.
Be wary of soups and risottos because of the stocks too- they might be ok- you just have to ask.

Asian- watch out for oyster sauce even in the veggie dishes- you can just ask for a soy based sauce instead. Dumplings (or anything you can't see)- may have traces of things you dont want to see in them..

Indian- beware of Ghee. Ask them if their meals are cooked in oil or Ghee (butter) or if they can do yours in oil. 

In general:
Always talk to someone who is confident in their answer! I know this sounds pushy but ask to speak to the manager! especially if your server says 'oh, um, yeah, I think that one might be ok for you?' or make them go and check with the chef. Once you find a good place that knows their stuff you'll slip into a routine and no-one will get annoyed at you anymore- I promise. The other thing is- things change! the recipe may have changed, the chef may have changed- it's always better to play it safe and ask again. 

Oh and on a slightly depressing note- people will lie to you to get you to spend money. If you think they're lying to you they probably are- run!

Its easier to eat at vegetarian places when you go out. But if you're out with friends who need their meat you can always find something. If all else fails mix and match- grab the veggies from one meal on the menu and pair them with the tofu or beans from another meal, add some rice and you'll be smiling. Give them a call ahead of time and you'll find they'll be happy to help, if you wait until you're there in the middle of a busy dinner service they might loose patience with you...

Ok, I think thats all.. if you have any other questions about food I'll always try and help. There's no reason you can't enjoy eating out, you just have to be diligent about it.

All the best! xxx

p.s. I always have food in my purse just in case- I go for a zip lock bag of pumpkin seeds personally.
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1 comment:

  1. This is s a great list of watch-outs! I personally found it fairly easy to eat out as a new vegan for the first month, but recently it has gotten more difficult. It seems to really depend on the restaurant's flexibility & customer service mentality.


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