Vegan Food should just be called food. Because that’s what it is. Eating real foods that are not derived of animal products. I find it difficult to eat Vegan all the time, especially when dining out so I decided to write a series on eating Vegan at a Restaurant.
Over the next two weeks I’ll share with you several types of restaurants where you can eat vegan without being one of those icky people who ask a million questions and become difficult to the staff at the restaurant.
Here are some tips to get you started:
If you have plans to go to a restaurant and you aren’t sure of the vegan options, just call them up and ask. If the restaurant really doesn’t have any vegan options, you can change your plans. It also let’s the chef know ahead of time that you are coming so if they want to prepare something special they have the time to do so. Then when you get to the restaurant you can relax because you already know the options. I have even called a restaurant and been thrilled and surprised when I was told they had a separate vegan menu! I wouldn’t have know that unless I asked. You can also try looking the menus up online, but it can sometimes not be clear if items are actually vegan, so I always suggest a call.
Eating Vegan at a restaurant can be AWESOME! I have heard from both chef and waiter friends that they much prefer someone being clear in their limitations so they can address it correctly and without confusion. When you first walk into a restaurant, if you haven’t called ahead, ask the greeter about vegan options. They will be able to tell you before you even sit down. If there is no greeter, ask the server right away. The last thing you want to happen is that you already have your drinks, everyone places an order and then you realize there is nothing for you to eat. Asking as soon as possible ensures a relaxing dining experience.
When you ask, just be polite. You don’t have to shout at the world, don’t make a million demands, and don’t try to deconstruct the ingredient list, just ask if there are any vegan friendly options with a smile on your face. Not everyone understands what vegan is, so if they don’t know, help them out by just telling them what you don’t eat.
LOOK FOR THE CODES
Menus often have little icons next to items that indicate which items are vegan or vegetarian, just like they do if it is spicy. Sometimes it’s a little “v”, sometimes a leaf, or other fun icons. Just look for the guide so you can know what they stand for.
BE CLEVER WITH SUBSTITUTES
Most menus have vegetarian options which can easily be made vegan. Just ask if the dairy or egg can be removed from the dish to make it vegan friendly. Sometimes when you remove an ingredient the dish might need something else to boost it up a notch, so what I like to do is peruse around the menu and if I see another ingredient I think would be great, I might ask for a substitution. A good example of this is if I am ordering a veggie burrito, I would ask for the cheese and sour cream to be removed, and instead replace it with guacamole. Saying the word “sub” or “replace” is key because then hopefully they don’t charge you extra! Sometimes if there are no main dishes that are easily made vegan, I will look to the sides. Often there are lots of side dishes that are vegan friendly, or can be adapted, so I will order a big plate of those.
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