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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm sorry I'm not sure if I'm suppose to post it here or in the food section.

It's almost Chinese new year and my whole family is eating out in two weeks. We're eating at a Chinese restaurant and I have no idea what I'm going to eat and how my family will react. Here's the dilemma with the eating out. Unlike American restaurants where each individual can order their own plate of food it wouldn't be much of a problem since many restaurants serve vegetarian food but the thing is, is that in Chinese restaurants, there are many dishes placed in the middle of the table and we all kinda take what we want. The only dish that is probably going to be vegetarian, is a plate of green bean leaves with garlic. And i know that my aunts, uncles and definitely my grandmother will be asking why I'm not eating or not eating meat because they use to give me such a hard time when I used to not eat meat ( but i did consume vegetables mixed meat ).I'm dying just thinking about this. I don't to disrespect anyone on this important day and i don't to consume any meat. This was why i never got a chance to fully become vegetarian and give up not eating meat last year. Should I eat before I go and just sit there? or Should I not go at all? I don't know...Was anyone ever in this same situation? How did it go for you? Was it successful?
 

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I know that it is WAY harder when you're actually IN these situations than it sounds to people just reading it. To us, it sounds simple. Your life, your diet, you can do whatever the hell you want, and screw them and their backwards opinions. BUT, in reality, I know it's not like that, and that I could never do that.

I don't know what to tell you except DEFINITELY eat before you go. Are you involved in the ordering at all? Maybe you could try to choose some veggie plates? Any chance of talking to the restaurant beforehand?...eep, I don't know.

GOOD LUCK, and remember, we've all been there, and you ARE right.
 

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Is there anyway you could talk to the serving staff and ask for something vegetarian? I know it might make you feel out of place not taking food from the communal stuff, but that way you would at least get to eat.

Failing that, eat before hand and remember you are there to be with your family.
 

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As the others recommended, eating before-hand is probably the best option. I face this same dilemma everytime I have to go out with family too. I just eat before (or after sometimes) and depending on the place, just ask for a plain salad or vegetables. Calling the restaurant ahead of time and asking if they will make anything vegetarian could give you a better idea if you need to eat before. Good luck!
 

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i ditto what synergy said, ask if there are veg options and order that. my local chinese place makes a to die for kung pao tofu dish,

i went out last night to a place with family, someone else chose it, anyway, everything on the menu was animal and wrapped in bacon and meat it seemed, anyway, the restaurant was extremely accomodating with my requests nothing was a problem at all , they made something for me and both of my kids that is not even on the menu.

the rest of the clan ate the meat wrapped in meat ( my hubby's family......LOL)
 

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Do let them know as graciously as possible that you mean no disrespect. I know this might be really hard. Let them know you have no intention of starving yourself either. Perhaps after noticing you won't eat anything and you explain it to them, they might graciously order something that you can fill your tummy with.
 

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Is there a way you can order other dishes besides green beans that you can enjoy? Most Chinese restaurants cook with tofu, maybe you could get a tofu dish.

At some point you need to gain the confidence to tell your family that you don't want to eat meat. This is a good a time as any and the sooner the better. You don't want to surprise everyone while you're ordering. I would tell your family today if I were you.
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Yah but that's the thing, i don't really want to my family to order a specific dish for me because we all share the dishes. There are going to be a little over 20 people there and about 14 huge plates of dishes and many bowls of rice. I don't want to burden all 20 something people and make them pay money for a dish they don't really want to eat when they can be using that money to purchase a dish they prefer to eat. Should i still ask them if they can get me plate of vegetarian dish? hahah i'm so terrified of my grandmother cause she flipped out when she heard I'm not eating meat again. She was like omg!! What traumatized her into stop eating meat. hahah wait until she find out that I'm not eating anything that has touched meat.

my parents already know that i'm a vegetarian and they're just like eh...you were the one who chose to be a vegetarian. I think I'll just eat my bean leaves and rice hahahah Is it ok for me to bring a ziploc bag filled with cereal or crackers or is it considered rude? x.x
 

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Lily, my coworker is Chinese and quite traditional (he's 50 and spent the first 30 years of his life in Hong Kong), but because half of our four person office is vegetarian/vegan, he has exposure to it. Would you like me to ask him for some advice on how you can broach it with your family?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by lilyumestar View Post

Yah but that's the thing, i don't really want to my family to order a specific dish for me because we all share the dishes. There are going to be a little over 20 people there and about 14 huge plates of dishes and many bowls of rice. I don't want to burden all 20 something people and make them pay money for a dish they don't really want to eat when they can be using that money to purchase a dish they prefer to eat.
You WILL ultimately need to stop seeing vegetarianism as a burden on others. I personally don't feel it is at ALL, because it's a much bigger burden on the animals that these people insist on eating them when there are perfectly good plant-based alternatives.


The world would move forward in so many ways (health, environment, peace) if more people ate more vegetarian food.
 

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Well, the restaurant might consider it rude.
Seriously, I feel that you can make this so much easier on yourself - they can eat veg dishes, but you can't eat meat ones - simple as that. I know it feels like you are being an inconvenience, but all you can do is ask, right? And if they won't order for you with the communal stuff, then just offer to order seperately, but have it all delivered at the same time, and that you will pay.

It seems hard the first few times you do it, but you will get used to it. I isn't too bad, honestly.

But if all else fails, eat before you go.

Good luck.


pirate
 

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Half of my extended family is chinese so I've been in those shoes a few times. Obviously I don't know all the dynamics of your situation but this is what I got from mine.

Definitely go to the dinner and don't eat beforehand. No point in being a "closet" veg*n, why hide who you are? Sure, that could avoid a possible awkward reaction/situation but its going to happen sooner or later, might as well be sooner.

If you make sure whoever is going to be doing the ordering knows about your diet and you request that some vegetarian things are ordered, you should be ok. Most Chinese restaurants have a lot to choose from in that dept.

When you say you don't want to burden them by making them order something they don't want to eat, it sounds like you're considering yourself an "outsider" because of being vegetarian. You've got just as much right to eat and enjoy what you want as anyone else. Three to four veg*n dishes out of 14 is nothing. Be assertive but polite when people are asking if you want something that you don't eat or are trying to put something on your plate.

You will probably get the typical "are you serious? why would anyone not eat meat?" prodding. Also, if you've got young cousins, you might get some teasing or game playing with meat to try to "gross you out".

One thing I would not do is get baited into a debate about AR, veg*nism, or anything else related to that. I did that once and it made the rest of the dinner awkward and uncomfortable.

Quote:
Is it ok for me to bring a ziploc bag filled with cereal or crackers or is it considered rude?
Maybe its just me, but that seems extremely tacky. I'd vote no on that.

Well anyways, HTH and good luck.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Thank you very much everyone I appreciate all the kind help. mustn't think much of it. I'm to ask my parents before hand if they can ask my relatives to get one or two vegetarian dishes. If not I'll just eat that bean leave thing. Just go along with everything then. I'll go home and make something and eat afterwards hehehe thank you x3
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdufstuff View Post

Is there a way you can order other dishes besides green beans that you can enjoy? Most Chinese restaurants cook with tofu, maybe you could get a tofu dish.

At some point you need to gain the confidence to tell your family that you don't want to eat meat. This is a good a time as any and the sooner the better. You don't want to surprise everyone while you're ordering. I would tell your family today if I were you.
tofu, since it is white is out, I'd bet.

What about dried curd, though?

can you request extra vegetable only dishes from the family member making the plans?

It's tough when the diet comes up in a family party.

Maybe have a quiet response that you work out in advance. Maybe also, a few well placed pre holiday calls and e-mails.

Hello, I wanted to let you know that I've become vegetarian. I didn't want you to think I wasn't enjoying dinner, which am I looking forward to, and seeing you..

or some such.
 

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How do you know that out of over 20 people no one else would be interested in eating some of a vegetarian dish? I suspect that if it is on the table and being passed around, people will take some of it. If not - Chinese food reheats really well so it's not like it'll get thrown out! Rice and veggies makes a great meal
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
haha everyone in my family oppose to me being a vegetarian. They love to make my life harder to so-call "convince" me to stop being a vegetarian. Especially my grandmother and father. The rest of my family just thinks of me as a stupid foolish girl and an extreme liberal. I do love my dried/fried curd x3 Hopefully they understand and get more vegetarian dishes but i dont want them to make a big fuss over it. I hate it when people purposely make you feel bad by saying omg I forgot...so and so is vegetarian and every1 stares at you hahah

I ate at my aunts house a few days ago. No vegetarian food except for a plate of mustard green and rice. hahah that's all i ate =X but thank goodness i ate before that. Although they did have hm...my most loved fruit...DURIAN yay the stinky fruit!!! muahaha :3 my breath will forever stink
 

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Hello, I am Chinese as well, and I've been in a very similar situation as yours. When I turned vegan last year, my whole family didn't take it too well, and I got many negative reactions. They kept telling me how when they were growing up, meat was very precious and you need to it to grow and all that blah. Last summer, I went to China over the break to visit relatives, and I had to go to restaurants A LOT, with the whole communal food thing. It's the custom for the host to order all the food for everyone, and they usually try to order expensive meats for their guests, and would consider it rude if we didn't eat it. Yea, and I know, many chinese dishes contain meat, even in vegetable dishes, which is usually bits of pork meat. My parents were hoping that I would eat some meat, at least fish or the little bits of meat in the veggie dishes, but heh, I refused to. My other relatives also wished I would eat meat, and worried over me because they thought I was too thin and I was malnourished. psh... They don't really understand veg*nism, and since I can't speak Chinese very well, I couldn't explain it to them. They couldn't believe that I didn't eat any meat, or fish, or milk, or eggs! For most of those countless times I had to eat out, I stuck with the plain veggies, edamame, and if I'm lucky, bean curd. Sometimes, I didn't even eat anything, and I just sat there. Yes, I was being very rude and the hosts worried that I wasn't eating and offered to order something for me. Meh, I was feeling PMS-y that day... lol, I wouldn't suggest you doing that.

I understand how you don't want to burden your relatives to suit your dietary needs. In those situations, I just try to sit through the meal, eat whatever is available without making a fuss, and ignore the negative comments about my veganism. Heh, not very good advice, but I don't know what else to do...

I hope the dinner went well :)
 
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