Vegetarian/Vegan Dining Experiences

BaneJ

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Hi fellow vegetarians,
As someone who used to sometimes eat out, and now order food online at least few times a week, preparing food for me given my dietary restrictions is not that easy. I also sometimes ask for a special instructions, since I like to alternate between vegetarian and vegan diet. It's a hard transition for me to go vegan, so I am slowly adjusting. Anyhow, what I noticed is that restaurants mess up my orders quite a bit, and it is frustrating. Labeling usually is not too obvious, or just looking at bizillion ingredients, I am not always sure if the item is vegan or not, nor are the waiters always knowledgable about it (especially if new).

So I gathered a group of friends, and we decided to try to find a way to resolve this issue. But before we solve the problem from technical perspective, I just wanted to ask you if you could please share your experience about this issue, and maybe fill out this survey to kind of help me understand the problem better (Dietary restrictions). It should take less than a minute...

Anyways, hope you have some suggestions to make my life easier, especially during the COVID situation.
 

Indian Summer

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I usually prefer to dine at or get take-away from restaurants that either are fully vegan or vegetarian, or ones that have a separate vegan menu, or failing that, at least have several vegan options on the menu, and it helps if they have a good reputation for catering to vegans. That way I minimise chances of misunderstandings resulting in being served non-vegan foods.

I also rarely request a lot of modifications to whatever menu option I order. Waiters and kitchen staff are only humans and make lots of mistakes, so I don't really want to make it much harder for them and maybe end up with something I really didn't want.
 

NYC Gardener

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I accept that whatever I order might not be 100% vegan. For example, fries could be cooked in the same oil as meat. It won’t be perfect unless I go to a vegan restaurant. It’s a situation where, “trying to be vegan,” applies for me.

Secondly, I order things where the ingredients are obvious or easy to find out about. Or options that are marked as VEGAN on the menu, which is increasingly common.

The one thing is that it’s hard to go to omni restaurants where there is a language barrier. NYC has some interesting restaurants where everyone speaks a language other than English, and the English version of the menu might not be that specific about the ingredients. I have to either skip those places or take a possibly-not-vegan day.
 
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Lou

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Well, I haven't been to a restaurant since.... April?

but back Before Corona, I tended to go to either Mexican restaurants or Asian restaurants. At a Mexican restaurant I would just order something vegetarian but without cheese. (No queso). And at an Asian restaurant will just get the tofu stir fry. I have never had any kind of problem.

I once went out with my sisters for someone's birthday, I had checked the menu online ahead of time and there was ONE vegan dish. but when we got there I found out it was on the dinner menu. And we were there for lunch. I was trying to figure out what to do when the waiter arrived. I was in the middle of explaining my dilemma to my sisters and blaming myself for not being careful. He just said it wasn't a problem and had the cook make me the dish.

Then there was the other time that I went to an Italian restaurant and there was nothing vegan on the menu. but I asked the waiter and he suggested pasta with olive oil and garlic. It was not on the menu. It was great and I have requested that at other Italian restaurants.

I'm not what I call a fuzzy vegan anyway. but I am willing to be less strident when I go out. but I don't think I really have to.

Oh BTW, I live in an exceedingly vegan-friendly area.
 
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BaneJ

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Thanks everyone for great tips. Very helpful perspectives. Yeah, when I was eating out (pre-corona), it used to be mostly be with friends, and since they eat anything, it gets a bit difficult to go to only vegan/vegetarian restaurants. And then my brain explodes every time when I see the menu and have to think which think is vegan/vegetarian, and if I trouble waiter or waitress with few questions, I feel at busy nights that they are not too thrilled with it..
I also probably stick with obvious ingredients, accept if things are not 100% vegan, like the type of oil they use, and not get upset if they make a mistake :).
 
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