can vegans ever eat out? - VeggieBoards
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#1 Old 08-27-2008, 05:09 PM
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I am not vegan, only vegetarian-and I was wondering, can a vegan person eat anything at a normal restaurant (i.e. not one that is specifically vegan/vegetarian)?
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#2 Old 08-27-2008, 05:11 PM
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Sure. They can call ahead and ask about options or about having something special prepared, or just show up, hope there's a green salad and a baked potato, or ask for substitutions. There's pretty much always something, but not necessarily a wonderfully tasty and nutritionally balanced something.
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#3 Old 08-27-2008, 07:09 PM
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As far as fast food, there's not many options. Some salads (often you'd have to ask for no chicken, cheese, etc..) not sure about what dressings are o.k. though. Taco Bell you can like ask for no cheese/sour cream, get beans instead of meat, etc... Subways Italian bread is vegan, you can pack veggies on that. Not sure what fries are veg (not McDonalds for sure)

Eat-in type restaurants you can usually tweak something to be vegan friendly, but if you're dealing w/people who are unfamiliar w/veganism it's pretty much eat at your own risk.

I was just on vacation, and at the hotel we were calling restaurants in the area trying to find some place that would make me something other than a salad. I was surprised at how many said they wouldn't... the one place I found that would, made me a mushroom pasta that was AWFUL. I puked it up 40mins later. Usually though when I've gone anywhere that special made me vegan dishes, they were absolutely delicious.
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#4 Old 08-27-2008, 07:23 PM
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Pasta with marinara sauce, and hopefully some roasted veggies, is an easy one. (Granted, if you're really picky, you may want to ask if there is egg in the pasta...)



I just went to a Thai place last weekend and they had LOTS of vegan options, and even had a special section on their menu. I actually didn't even order from that section, and got a veggie stir fry in a spicy basil sauce.



Pizza, no cheese. (Again, you may want to check if the dough is vegan.)



I've gotten veggie burgers at burger joints, which probably weren't vegan. Or, you could just get the lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard, etc. on a bun if you're really in a pinch--healthier than french fries.



If I'm totally at a loss of options, I will get a salad and a steamed vegetable or a baked potato.



I usually look up the menu before I go, if I know ahead of time. So far, I haven't starved
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#5 Old 08-27-2008, 07:42 PM
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It depends on the vegan. Can you get an item with no animal products at an omni restaurant? Likely if you are on top of things. I wouldn't trust it though.
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#6 Old 08-27-2008, 08:28 PM
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On vacation, we visited a seafood restaurant. My husband had oysters while I asked the waitress what sort of vegetable based dish they could make up for me-- she did a great job, from fried green tomatoes to olives to greens, roasted potatoes and rice, peppers...I forget what else. Delish!



Last week we were at a food court, and there was a Mexican grill (not Taco Bell.) I got a vegetables-only burrito with lime cilantro rice, black beans, tomatoes, onions, corn and guacamole-- yum! I just asked them to hold the cheese.



Ask and see what they can do for you.
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#7 Old 08-28-2008, 02:46 AM
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I'm in the UK so I don't know how much it's similar to wherever you are.



I don't really enjoy eating out at places I don't know well. But I've built up a fairly extensive list of places that I know I can get a decent vegan meal, and I like to sway opinion to one of those places if I can ... chain restaurants/pubs etc like Barburrito, Pizza Express, Wokmania, Wetherspoons, and some ones local to me like a local sushi place, an 'organic' type restaurant with lots of vegan options but that serves meat.



At chinese buffets I can usually pick and choose a lot of the veg and rice. At an Italian place I can usually get pasta with plain red sauce, or pizza without the cheese. At a pub I can often get a baked potato. Pretty much anywhere I can fall back on chips (fries). I manage.
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#8 Old 08-28-2008, 02:56 AM
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I spend lots of time on the road in my job and eat in restaurants for most meals during the week. I mostly eat in omni resraurants and rarely have a problem. Where I'm at now, the local Indian restaurant is fully aware of my dietary restrictions and they prepare a lovely Dhansak curry (with extra chillies) just for me as well as the mango and avocado salad and poppodams and chapati. Last night I ate a Japanese style noodle and had a lovely veggie and tofu ramen along with gyoza, all vegan as verified by the waitress. Tonight I might visit the local gourmet burger place and I have been assured that the two of their 3 veggie burger choices are suitable for vegans and cooked with no contact with their meat burgers and their fries are cooked in vegetable oil.



The list goes on. I eat at restaurants for dinner, at lunch places for lunch (usually get a sandwich from the HFS) and have breakfast in the hotel I'm staying at. I eat very well and its really not a problem once you learn how to talk to your waiter.
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#9 Old 08-28-2008, 06:16 AM
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Yep. I went to sushi twice in August. Got avocado salad, cucumber rolls, and seaweed salad rolls. Mmmm... sushi...

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#10 Old 08-28-2008, 08:40 AM
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I've found sushi, Italian, and Indian places to all be pretty vegan friendly, as well as Mexican if you are careful with lard, cheese, and sour cream.



I'm not going to lie though, eating out can get very hard. For me, eating out in omni restaurants is a major part of my lifestyle, and this is the main reason why I am still officially a lacto-ovo vegetarian even though I eat vegan much of the time. it seems to me that a lot of the vegans on VB don't eat out very often.
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#11 Old 08-28-2008, 08:49 AM
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I've been eating at Souplation a lot lately.



If you look at the side items, a lot of time you could find vegetarian options or easily made vegetarian options. I've had good experience in many Thai restaurants. They always seem to have vegetarian items on the menu or even a separate list of vegetarian dishes. Also, I've gotten veggie burgers from a lot of the smaller burger joints.
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#12 Old 08-28-2008, 08:51 AM
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^ I forgot about Thai! The tofu red curry at my neighborhood place is one of my all-time favorite meals.
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#13 Old 08-28-2008, 08:56 AM
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I eat at Thai and Indian places all the time. Even those vary though, and you shouldn't be afraid to ask questions. I will also eat at Mexican places, though that's often risky around here.



I live in New Mexico, which has a lot of New Mexican restaurants. The trademark of the cuisine is the green and red chile sauce which is used to smoother everything. I went to one place I had been going to numerous times. I had always ordered their vegetarian Indian taco platter with the green chile sauce. One of the cooks came out one day and informed me that the green chile sauce has chicken stock in it. "Oooooo.... good to know. So if I really wanted my meal to be vegetarian, I should order the red chile sauce." "Yes." "Thanks for telling me!" The cashier had a horrified look on her face. "I didn't know and I feel so bad now, because I've been letting you order that all this time." "Now we know. Red chile next time." When you eat out, accidents can and will happen. Don't be afraid to ask questions, and when there are slip-ups, realize that people are often doing their best, and correct yourself for the future.
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#14 Old 08-28-2008, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Malcontent View Post

I've been eating at Souplation a lot lately.



If you look at the side items, a lot of time you could find vegetarian options or easily made vegetarian options. I've had good experience in many Thai restaurants. They always seem to have vegetarian items on the menu or even a separate list of vegetarian dishes. Also, I've gotten veggie burgers from a lot of the smaller burger joints.



I've had mixed results from Thai places as many of the chefs think fish sauce is suitable for vegetarians. And asking Thai chefs to not use fish sauce is like asking Chinese chefs not to use soy sauce...
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#15 Old 08-28-2008, 09:06 AM
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I eat out several times a week and have no problems. It's just a matter of asking the right questions and knowing the menu at whatever particular place you go.



It's not difficult to order "I'd like this, but can you leave out this, and this and this and could I get a side of this too?" . You just have to be specific and if the wrong thing is brought to you, you need to ask the server to get the order fixed.



As is said in Vegan Freak, a quiet vegan is a suffering vegan.
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#16 Old 08-28-2008, 09:21 AM
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Yes, last week our family stopped at a highway rest area and I ended up eating an energy bar and the apple I'd brought along while my family ate sandwiches...there was nothing much at the fast food places there unless one included cheese (and I'm lactose intolerant, which is why I eliminated cheese in the first place.)



If there had been a Mexican eatery I would have done better, I'm sure. (Yeah, beans!)
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#17 Old 08-28-2008, 09:34 AM
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I eat at regular chain restaurants all the time. With the exception of steakhouses, I can usually find something.



Some chain restaurants I like are:

Macaroni Grill - The "Create Your Own Pasta" can easily be made vegan (you pick the ingredients, duh) and the bread is vegan. If you get a salad you just have to tell them to not put cheese on it.

Red Robin - The "Red's Rice Bowl" is vegan without the chicken (the vegetarian version is on the menu). Sadly, the gardenburger is not vegan.

Chili's - There's nothing vegan on the menu but they'll gladly make you Veggie Fajitas if you ask.

Claim Jumper - They've got this great portobello sandwich that they assured me is vegan without the cheese



I've been known to get just fries and a side salad at burger places.



Other than that, I like to eat at indian places, chinese places, Japanese places (veggie sushi is awesome), thai places, greek places (mmmmmmm....falafel ) and mexican places (you just have to make sure the beans aren't made with lard, they usually aren't, but you never know)
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#18 Old 08-28-2008, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by FitChick99 View Post

(Granted, if you're really picky, you may want to ask if there is egg in the pasta...)



That's not *picky* that's just being accurate, being *vegan*.

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#19 Old 08-28-2008, 12:23 PM
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Yep. I went to sushi twice in August. Got avocado salad, cucumber rolls, and seaweed salad rolls. Mmmm... sushi...



I just quote this one cause it was the more succinct post about sushi. People who eat at these places, do you ask that it be prepped on another cutting board or anything? Cause I wouldn't really want those little flecks of fish or their juices on the board that rolled my sushi. I wonder when packing if it would ever require a label saying "prepared in a facility that processes fish".
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#20 Old 08-28-2008, 12:50 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFalafel View Post

I've had mixed results from Thai places as many of the chefs think fish sauce is suitable for vegetarians. And asking Thai chefs to not use fish sauce is like asking Chinese chefs not to use soy sauce...





I've had the same experience with Thai places, so I tend to avoid them most of the time.
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#21 Old 08-28-2008, 12:53 PM
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Originally Posted by sybaritik View Post

I've had the same experience with Thai places, so I tend to avoid them most of the time.



I've never had any trouble here. The main place I go to doesn't put fish sauce in anything, but rather serves it on the side. The others haven't had any problem leaving it out.
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#22 Old 08-28-2008, 01:16 PM
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I've never had any trouble here. The main place I go to doesn't put fish sauce in anything, but rather serves it on the side. The others haven't had any problem leaving it out.



I don't have trouble with the Thai places here either. Two of the ones I go too will gladly leave out egg and fish sauce from anything that would otherwise contain it if asked, The other has a vegetarian menu and doesn't use it on any of those dishes.
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#23 Old 08-29-2008, 10:14 AM
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Just had to post in this thread.

My cousin is in town tonight - first time ever on the West Coast, and he wants badly to have fresh salmon. So he asked if we could go to one of the premier seafood places in Seattle.



After looking at the menu online and being a *little* intimidated - mainly by prices (gulp - but it's my cousin's treat) I called the restaurant and actually spoke with the chef and he went over a long list of items he had available and could work with to make something special.



I'm actually pretty excited, cause I usually stick to places I know.

Also... Why is it that vegetarian restaurants (of which Seattle has PLENTY) never have a waterfront view of the Olympic mountains at sunset - yeah, just a personal peeve...
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#24 Old 08-30-2008, 02:57 AM
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I personally hate eating out... You seriously can't trust anywhere you eat.. I read online about a lot of "vegan-friendly" fast food places and restaurants, and they also gave menu options for the restaurants and fast food places. Although they may consider their food "vegan-friendly", it may not be. Some "vegans" overlook the fact that a lot of food is made with refined sugar. I was told Papa John's dough and sauce was vegan, so I order a pizza without cheese and come to find out the dough and sauce have sugar in it... That's not vegan, mainly because most sugar is purified by animal bones used as a charcoal, so I'd rather not risk eating out anymore.



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#25 Old 08-30-2008, 07:40 AM
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I personally hate eating out... You seriously can't trust anywhere you eat.. I read online about a lot of "vegan-friendly" fast food places and restaurants, and they also gave menu options for the restaurants and fast food places. Although they may consider their food "vegan-friendly", it may not be. Some "vegans" overlook the fact that a lot of food is made with refined sugar. I was told Papa John's dough and sauce was vegan, so I order a pizza without cheese and come to find out the dough and sauce have sugar in it... That's not vegan, mainly because most sugar is purified by animal bones used as a charcoal, so I'd rather not risk eating out anymore.



www.veganthis.org





You've just validated that concept that 'I heard' is not a good way to research restaurants. In fact, a simple telephone call to a restaurant provides far better information than websites or 'I heard'. So tell us, how did you find out that the sauce had sugar in it? Did you 'just hear' about that? And how did you verify the sweetener was charcoal filtered refined sugar? Another rumour or was this documented by the restaurant?



And you are wrong about most sugar being filtered with charcoal. In fact, its becoming less and less common in the US and outside of the US its unheard of. So, a cheeseless Papa Johns pizza in the UK would most likely indeed be animal product free.



The problem with 'I heard' is that it goes both ways: some ill informed 'vegans' can spread untruths about foods not being suitable for vegans as well as the other way around.



Personally, I stay out of chain restaurants as much as possible. The best places to get a chef completely in control of their ingredients is small, family run restaurants. They can make anything if asked nicely.
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#26 Old 08-30-2008, 09:38 AM
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Originally Posted by MrFalafel View Post

The best places to get a chef completely in control of their ingredients is small, family run restaurants. They can make anything if asked nicely.



AND if they are willing to think outside of the box!

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#27 Old 08-30-2008, 05:48 PM
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Originally Posted by MrFalafel View Post

You've just validated that concept that 'I heard' is not a good way to research restaurants. In fact, a simple telephone call to a restaurant provides far better information than websites or 'I heard'. So tell us, how did you find out that the sauce had sugar in it? Did you 'just hear' about that? And how did you verify the sweetener was charcoal filtered refined sugar? Another rumour or was this documented by the restaurant?



And you are wrong about most sugar being filtered with charcoal. In fact, its becoming less and less common in the US and outside of the US its unheard of. So, a cheeseless Papa Johns pizza in the UK would most likely indeed be animal product free.



The problem with 'I heard' is that it goes both ways: some ill informed 'vegans' can spread untruths about foods not being suitable for vegans as well as the other way around.



Personally, I stay out of chain restaurants as much as possible. The best places to get a chef completely in control of their ingredients is small, family run restaurants. They can make anything if asked nicely.







BEST.POST.EVER.



I get so very tired of vegan-spread hype...
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#28 Old 08-31-2008, 04:08 PM
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My website is about exactly this subject. There's many many many many options out there and the majority of places have something a vegan can eat.
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#29 Old 08-31-2008, 04:16 PM
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For the most part, I've had no trouble eating out, save for a couple of pub places and maybe a chain or two. You just have to learn not to be shy about asking questions. Recently, I dined out with friends and the place had a grilled vegetable dish with risotto. I asked the server if she could find out whether it had any animal ingredients such as meat broth in the risotto. She came back and said the chef was happy to make it vegan for me. It was delicious.
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#30 Old 08-31-2008, 07:03 PM
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Originally Posted by Caligirl2191 View Post

I am not vegan, only vegetarian-and I was wondering, can a vegan person eat anything at a normal restaurant (i.e. not one that is specifically vegan/vegetarian)?

yea...even at a pub i had bangers and mash inside a yorkshire pudding last sunday



not vegan tho...quorn often has egg and/or milk protein in it...
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