Years ago, eating vegetarian meant having to settle for a salad and in some cases that meant a few pieces of lettuce that didn’t look pretty enough to make it onto a burger. Nowadays, vegetarian options are much more prevalent and even have entire restaurants dedicated to the cause.
However, not all of our friends share the same lifestyle as us, which can make getting together for dinner somewhat difficult. By making a few educated choices, and with the help of some tips we are going to provide for you in this article, you will soon be able to navigate any restaurant in this carnivore world.
Before you go out.
Before you even leave home, you should always check the menu if you have the time. Never be afraid to call the restaurant ahead of time to see if the chef can accommodate you. It is also important to ask your server about your did. Some questions you might think to ask are: “what was this food fried in?”, “does this dish contain any eggs or dairy (if you are a vegan)?” and “would it be possible to sub out this meat item for a vegetable item?.”
If you are a very strict vegetarian or vegan, please keep in mind that many restaurants will cook a vegetarian dish in the same pan/ area where they cook meat. If this bothers you, this is another question you will want to ask the restaurant on whether they can accommodate or not, prior to getting there and being disappointed.
For the most part, Chinese restaurants offer a lot of vegetarian options. In fact, a lot of the time dishes can have the meat substituted for tofu. Just be sure to double check if the dish was cooked in fish or oyster sauce.
Try: fried rice (without eggs if you’re vegan), chow mein, eggplant tofu, mapo tofu, stir-fried veggies, fresh soy milk, tofu and vegetables, and veggie dumplings, vegetable spring rolls, vegetable dumplings, vegetable soups, vegetable fried rice, vegetable noodle dishes, and beancurd are all great options.
Eating vegetarian at Mexican restaurants sounds hard but can definitely be done. First and foremost, you need to make sure that the tortillas weren’t cooked in lard and that the rice wasn’t cooked in chicken stock.
As long as it’s all clear there, feel free to order a burrito or taco without the meat (or cheese if you are vegan). Salsa, guacamole, chipotle sauce, tortilla chips, vegetable or bean burritos, rice, vegetable tacos, vegetable fajita, and vegetable chimichanga’s are all popular vegetarian/ vegan options that you can probably get at any Mexican restaurant you go to.
Italian food is notorious for being covered in dairy, with all of the sauce and extra parm people tend to add. Next time you go out for some Italian, see if the following are on your menu: Bruschetta, grilled artichokes, bean salads, olives, bread with olive oil and balsamic, salads, pasta with marinara sauce (most pasta’s don’t contain eggs, so just ask to be sure), vegetable pizzas with no cheese.
If you’re vegan, make sure your dish doesn’t contain eggs or dairy and make sure your server doesn’t sprinkle any parm on it either.
It’s easiest to stick to sides when you go out for American style food. Luckily, you can eat as many fries as you want! You can also include veggie dogs, veggie burgers, onion rings, and potato wedges in your meal as well. Just make sure to ask your waiter what they fried their potatoes in.
Thai food is another Asian cuisine that can easily be vegetarian or vegan. In fact, meat is often a very small aspect of the dish and the flavor won’t be altered if you take it out.
Double check with your waiter that there isn’t any fish sauce that went into cooking your meal, and you are pretty much good to go! You can get spring rolls, fried mushrooms, Thai curry, Thai mushroom salad, Green Papaya Salad or Som-Tam, Clear (or Glass) Noodles, Tom Yum Mushroom Soup, Tom Kha Mushroom Soup, and vegetable soup.