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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
This has probably happened to most of us at one time or another in some form or fashion, but every time it happens to me it really pisses me off !


We (me, my husband, roommate, and roommate's girlfriend) went to a Vietnamese restaurant for dinner. They have an entire section on the menu labeled as "vegetarian." The restaurant has a very loose idea of what vegetarian is, though. The pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) is in a "vegetarian" broth. This means chicken broth. All of the rest of the items on the menu either have animal broth, fish sauce, or oyster sauce in them, unless otherwise specified. I always specify to not have any of these sauces added to what I order and haven't had a problem so far. However, when I ordered the vegetarian pad thai today, it came out swimming in fish sauce. The smell, to say the least (and those of you who know what fish sauce smells like can understand), almost made me puke onto my plate.

We let our waitress know and she told the manager/owner. The owner went back and talked to the chef and the chef told her he couldn't make it vegetarian (though I'd ordered it without fish sauce and the rest before without any problems), so I ordered a different plate that the chef could make vegetarian. Then another waiter comes over and started arguing with me about it. He said that unless I was in a vegetarian restaurant, nothing labeled vegetarian had to actually be vegetarian. He said he'd worked at several restaurants where that was the case because of all of the fish and chicken eating "vegetarians" out there. I basically told him that it still wasn't right, that being a vegetarian meant eating nothing from a dead animal, that what the menu said was false advertising. He wouldn't give up his position though, so I just let it drop. I was close to punching him in the nose! The nerve of the man! He wasn't even our waiter or the owner!

I can't help but think what would have happened had I been a Buddhist monk that came in ordering food. I wouldn't have had a problem (my roommate, who is Buddhist--but not vegetarian--agrees with me)!

I'm going to write a very angry letter to the place complaining about the terrible service and the misleading menu! I hope no other vegetarians have eaten chicken broth or fish sauce unknowingly because they thought it was vegetarian. If they don't do anything about it, I think I'll right the Boston Vegetarian Society so they at least know about the issue and can at least inform vegetarians in the area to not patronize the place.

(By the way, for all of those of you in the Boston, MA area the name of the restaurant is Pho Pasteur--they have restaurants in Chinatown, Brighton, and in the Back Bay area.)
 

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That man sure needs to learn a thing or two about customer service! If I argued with a customer like that at the small store where I work, I would be fired on the spot.
 

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it's not a hard concept to understand - i don't know why he had the nerve to argue about it (especially WITH a vegetarian - as if you do not understand what it means to be one!)

i admire your restraint too...i think i may have flipped the table or something! or at least
in his face for trying to get me to eat fish sauce!
 

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I still don't get it...

vegetarian=vegetables. where do people get off thinking fish and chicken are vegetables?!


the other day I had a bad eating experience at a local burger place. i asked for a tossed salad and all they gave me was a bowl of iceburg lettace. no joke. LOL!

lovenlight,

linz
 

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That's happened to me, rainbowmoon..... a huge bowl full of lettuce with a bit of diced tomato or two.

Overall my experiences of being vegan and eating at omnivore restaurants has been positive (though you wouldn't know it from the complaining I often do).

At some places, after I have stated I am vegan they have actually provided me with my own waiter/waitress, and some have gone through the menu (and what modifications they can do) in detail.

At a pizza joint I used to go to they'd have a certain weekday of unlimited pizza for $5, where they'd walk around with trays full of slices of pizza giving one to whoever called for one. I asked if they brought around vegan pizza, but they didn't so they said they'd bring me some..... and for the $5 they brought me the largest size they had (it was huge, but I ate it all (I even had to undo my belt I was that full)).

Despite all this I'm still very untrusting (and I rarely eat out anymore).
 

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I hate when restaurants label things vegetarian and they're not! It usually only happens to me at Asian restaurants...I suppose it's b/c most Asian restaurant menus are divided up by pork/beef/chicken/veggies, etc.

I was at a higher scale Chinese restaurant with some friends and I ordered szechuan tofu from the VEGETARIAN section of the menu and it came covered with ground pork. I tried to argue with the waitress, but she didn't speak much English and was not very accommodating, so I gave the tofu to my roommate and didn't eat. The thing that pissed me off the most was that my friends all suggested I just eat around the pork and got bothered when I started arguing with the waitress, as if I was the one at fault.

Needless to say, I will never eat at that restaurant again.
 

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Waiters and waitresses shouldn't argue or be combative (unless they are abused or whatever ... which can happen). It;s hard enough dealing with non-vegan restaurants without annoying argumentative waiters


Heheh ... I remember eating at a spot in a farming area of my province (but a largish town and shopping area with lots of restauants and malls). This spot had an area on the menu labelled "Vegetable corner" ... that section had 3 items and 2 of them had chicken or something else. Man , I can't remember what I had (I assume , the other item). I wouldn't eat at a place like that now... that was only a month or so after I went vegan). It's pretty lame when the "vegetable corner" section of the multipage menu still mostly has meat in it


Luckily in my city, there is a vegetarian/vegan restaurant downtown and I eat there if I'm downtown sometimes. I don't eat out much and really didn't when I was an omni either.
 

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Thats the reason that I hardly ever eat out at restaurants anymore. If I do happen to find something to eat it is usually not very good and the food I cook at home tastes better and I know whats in it. I only restaurant i truely enjoy eating at is the only vegetarian resaurant in my city. The food is great and I can enjoy it because I know there won`t be any mix ups. They know what vegetarian and vegan means.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
The thing that makes me the angriest about the whole thing is they're Asian. Most of them should be familiar enough with the idea that Buddhist monks do not eat dead animals in any form. For all I know, the waiters and waitresses there are Buddhist and go to the temple and eat there afterward. They must realize that there isn't any meat, fish, poultry or anything from a dead animal served there.
It's like because I didn't enter the restaurant with a shaved head, in orange robes, I wasn't given the same service as they would have given a Buddhist monk.

I refuse to eat at this place again, which might cause some problems with my husband and my roommates because they love to go there to eat pho. I don't really care though. If they really want to go, I'll stay at home or if it causes an argument, I'll just skip ordering a plate and order one of their fruit shakes instead (which is the only place that I liked the place--the "vegetarian" plates on the menu I can make far better at home).

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After the McDonalds thing, you'd think restaurants would learn their lesson. These guys should lose their jobs and if the owners are supporting it, they should be out of business.
I think I might include that in my letter. I think a big problem is that there's still a lot of restaurants out there that don't know about the McDonalds case.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
There's several good vegetarian restaurants to choose from in Boston. I'd go to them everytime I want to eat out, except for the problem of my husband and roommates not wanting to go. My husband doesn't mind going, but he's not going to go because my roommates won't eat at a vegetarian restaurant.


Here's a link to their menu, just so you can all see how misleading it really is.

http://www.weseatyou.com/restaurants...ghton/menu.htm
 

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I hate that!!!

I always ring ahead, or turn up early and organise something with the waiting person and/or chef. I just tell them straight up, this is what I want, this is what I CAN NOT have. Sometimes I give them vegan alternatives to a certain sides or ingredients. If I think there is a chance they might have misunderstood me on the dairy part I just tell them I am am allergic.

I find that they are generally *very* accomidating. I used to work in a Thai place, and I know the chef there was always *very* happy with vegetarians or ppl with special diet requirements rung ahead and organised it, so that way he is wasn't put on the spot when he has 10 entree and 15 mains needing to be cooked and served.

I was in a vegetarian/vegan cafe the other day and I ordered some pizza. I told them I am vegan blah blah and have been there before, so I figured it would be ok, and I just orded this pizza, asked a question about the base and the soy cheese and that was it. Then the next thing I knew I am eating this pizza, and I had one thought running through my mind *rennet*this cheese is not melted properly but I still didn't ask about rennet* so ... I asked the waitress and sure enough!! It was friggin non vegan soy chesse. And it was incognito because it even looked like real vegan cheese. Ok, I felt stupid for not asking, but also irritated because this is a vegan/vegetarian place and I had told them I was vegan! Surely they knew this cheese was non vegan?

I couldn't give it back because I had already started eating it, plus it was really my own fault, so I palmed it off to the fiance and felt sickly!!

And you know what annoys me?! Vegans who eat cheese and egg when they are out for dinner, when they originally stated to the establishment that they were vegan. I understand that it is hard/impossible to be 100% vegan, but making the choice to eat dairy and eggs when you go out for dinner but still telling everyone your vegan really gets under my skin!! And this isn't a I'm a better vegan then you stupid thing like that, this is because it goes along with that whole; Yes, I am vegetarian but stick in a prawn or some chicken stock to friends, co-workers and restaurant ppl. It makes it difficult for ppl to grasp the concept that vegetarian means *no meat* just like it makes it difficult for the ppl to grasp the vegan concept when they have other vegans running around eating the dairy based pasta sauce or oyster sauce or egg or some such thing in their meals, when it is inconvenient to do otherwise.

And I so know this happens allot because I am a member of a vegan mailing list and we just had a thread *slip ups* and many ppl admited to asking for vegan meals and upon finding out that it had to be made with egg or dairy or something, they said what the hell, give it to me anyway!

argh!

So, the moral to the story is: always ring ahead and ask many questions.
 

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i'm not expert, but from what i understand of buddhism, as long as a buddhist doesn't participate in the actually killing of the animal, it is okay to eat whatever they are offered. so no, many buddhists (even monks) would eat the meat they were served, whether they were in a restaurant or at a friends' place. of course, i could be wrong, but from my reading this is what i have discerned.

remember that in china, much of the country is very poor and has limited access to quality food. having access to non-meat food that is nutritious and filling is actually a privilege in many places, including the states. some people would starve if not for the non-vegetarian foods that are available.

the only chinese places i feel comfortable eating in are the vegetarian ones. there is too much possibility for cross-contamination in any others. i have turned many of my omni friends on to eating at all-vegetarian restaurants. the food is almost always higher quality and better tasting, and more affordable.

sorry you had such a crappy experience, though. but culture (and the food surrounding culture) is such a tricky thing...
 

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The people that ran the Thai place I used to work for were Buddhists and they followed a strick diet, vegetarian plus they didn't eat onion or garlic and a couple of other things... leeks.. something else too. However they bought sold and profited from products they would not eat.

It must depend from person to person.
 

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Whoa, I really do hope that you write to the restaurant (and to the local community paper as well).

It'd bad enough that you were mislead by their menu "labels" (I'm sorry, but its pure BS for them to label something vegetarian when they KNOW it's not. If they had labeled something as not containing peanuts, and it had peanuts--they would be liable for a big ass lawsuit when someone had an allergic reaction...), but then to be treated rudely by the Chef was just adding insult to injury.
 

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Some of you mentioned calling yourself allergic to animal products at restaurants... we had a discussion on that over in "Strangest thing you've been offered to eat". Maggie, I believe, was very opposed to the idea of people who aren't legitimately allergic using that as their reason for not eating certain foods.
 

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I suggest you write to the restaurant, and include the definition of vegetarian and vegan in your letter, as defined by the dictionary. Back it up, for instance, say "The term "vegetarian" was coined in 1873, and it refers to a diet excluding anything which involves the killing of an animal. This includes but is not limited to all meat, including fish and chicken, and slaughterhouse by-products such as gelatin." or "The term vegan was coined in 1944, and refers to a person who eats no animal products whatsoever. This includes but is not limited to all meat, including chicken and fish, eggs, dairy, honey and their derivatives such a sloctose, casein, whey etc."

If you can give the full definition, they'll get the picture. You can write to a local vegetarian society and get them to chase this restaurant up as well, if it doesn't work, but this is not guaranteed. I hear stories of a restaurant in Britain (a place where vegetarianism is generally accepted.) where fish is listed as a vegetarian option. The manager knows a pescatarian calling themselves vegetarian. Pretty much every real vegetarian going there has pointed it out, and the vegetarian society has contacted them saying that under the 1975 trade description act, they're being bastards. But they refuse to back down. But don't let this story put you off! I'm tempted to write a sample letter myself here! But I won't bother, since sarcasm, rudeness and a British sense of humour may not go down well!
 

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That waiter should be fired for his rudeness and ignorance. The gall to say that unless you were in a vegetarian restaurant, nothing labeled vegetarian had to actually be vegetarian is just about the stupidest thing I have ever heard. And aside from the obvious ethical reasons why they had nerve to put fish sauce in your dish after you asked them not to, what if you were allergic to seafood? You would think these places would be afraid of lawsuits.
 
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