Being a vegan in a world where most people are not is a challenge. Cooking at home is easy where you can buy everything you need but what happens when you eat out? There aren’t many vegan restaurants. One option is too seek out an Indian one where vegetarian dishes are popular.
Indian cuisine is largely vegetarian. You can expect to find vegan dishes by asking the chef to hold out on non-vegan ingredients like ghee (clarified butter), eggs and yoghurt which is used quite extensively. Here are a few other ways you can make sure to eat only vegan-friendly meals at almost any restaurant.
Most beverages contain no animal products. Even traditional milk-based drinks like lassi can be made with soy milk. Non-dairy cashew milk and fruit-based drinks like watermelon, lime and mango are other alternatives. The great thing about opting for beverages is that you’ll always find a few that are vegan, no matter where you go. So, if all else fails and the food menu doesn’t look promising, look at the drinks section.
Scout around for vegetarian restaurants
If there’s no vegan restaurant, search for a vegetarian one. Or, call ahead and ask if they have a vegetarian menu. Most Indian restaurants have an extensive vegetarian menu that’s easily customizable. The chef will be more than willing to hold off on certain ingredients if you make a request.
When calling ahead, let the restaurant know if you want a full meal. If it seems accommodating ask if they can prepare a certain dish. Don’t feel like you’re being a burden; if the restaurant already says it can accommodate a vegan, it may be willing to create a ‘custom dish’ without a fuss.
Some sides are very filling and they’re so varied that you’ll come across a vegetarian or even a vegan one. If the selection is good, you can put together a meal. Non-dairy bread, buns or rice with veggies and salads will make a complete meal. A healthy one too!
Don’t worry too much!
There are more vegan restaurants today than there were a few years back. You’re bound to come across a vegetarian one at least or a restaurant that has a vegetarian menu. Ethnic restaurants like Indian, Italian and Thai are good choices because they can be asked to hold off on certain ingredients. Here’s a quick list of items to ask chefs to exclude at different ethnic restaurants:
* Indian: No ghee, butter and yoghurt
* Chinese: No meat, fish and eggs, including in stock
* Thai: No fish, oyster sauce and eggs
* Japanese: No fish sauce, roe and eggs
* Mexican: No cheese, sour cream, and egg-based dips
* Italian: No eggs and cheese
The best way to guarantee you get a vegan meal is to go through the menu closely. Clarify any doubts you have. If there are absolutely no vegetarian restaurants available, have a small meal at home so you can order vegan side dishes and beverages.
Being vegan doesn’t have to be a pain; you can continue abiding by your lifestyle even when dining out at non-vegan establishments. Just do a little research, speak with the restaurant and pick and choose foods wisely. Try to stick with places that carry a vegetarian menu such as ethnic establishments. You’ll have an easier time sticking to your vegan diet.