Eating out on a plant-based diet

Eating out on a plant based diet is really hard. I’m yet to master this. Last year, I used the fact that it’s really hard to cheat and just eat meat or eat like I used to.

This year, is different. I have given up meat completely (so far!) but I’m finding it very hard to give up dairy and egg while out, purely for the fact that most places around here don’t offer vegan or plant-based foods, so I take the easy way out and order vegetarian. Also, I don’t like making a ‘scene’ by questioning the wait staff about what’s in the food or what food I could eat. Half the time, they don’t seem to know!

I know in the grand scheme of things, it’s not really going to hurt me, but I don’t like it, I wish that I could eat purely plant based. I wish there were more places to eat at that do vegan/plant based foods. I think though, it does seem to be getting easier. I’ve eaten out three of the past four nights for various reasons (normally we don’t eat out that much) and I’ve managed to do fairly well.

Thursday night, we went out to have a couple of drinks and decided to go to this little Vietnamese place we have been to a few times. On the menu, they have two vegetarian options, a soup and a tofu noodle salad. I asked the lady if they could make a laksa vegan. She said no, and so I said that I’d just get the vegetarian soup.

Her: ‘Oh are you vegetarian?’
Me: ‘Yes, is there oyster sauce or fish sauce in it?’
Her: ‘It is made with real chicken stock’
Me: ‘…..oh…..well…I guess I’ll get the tofu salad’
Her: ‘it is made out of fish tofu’
Me: ‘….oh right, well, don’t worry about it’.

Turns out, they don’t have any thing vegan, or even vegetarian, despite two dishes on the menu under the heading ‘Vegetarian’.

So we decided to go to the only other open place. A kebab shop. I ended up with a falafel kebab. Which was actually quite terrible. I wished we’d just gone home and made dinner.

Saturday night, Sam had organised to go out and have dinner with some friends. It was a German beer bar/restuarant. It’s a great place, though I remembered last time they didn’t have anything vegan, so I was a bit worried about that. This time, I managed to find the ‘Bavarian Fitness Salad’. Basically a large green salad, with cherry tomatoes, broccolini, asparagus and sprouts in a light yoghurt dressing. I asked if I could have the honey mustard dressing that was listed on one of the other salads. Alas, they must have ‘forgotten’ because it came out with yoghurt dressing. I tried to question the waitress, but she didn’t seem to know what I was talking about…or care. So I gave up, I didn’t want to make a scene, especially not in front of Sam’s friends!

Now tonight, I’ve just come back from a fantastic Japanese place. It was really cool, to order you used a touch screen and it was so quick! It’s hard to tell sometimes if something is vegan or vegetarian. So I just did the best I could. I had vegetarian sushi, teriyaki tofu, tempura vegetables and vegetable gyoza. It tasted really good, though I’m suffering a bit because I feel like I’ve eaten fast food.

All in all, it is hard to eat out. But I’m trying, and I’m doing better than last year. It’s a process, and I’m getting there! That’s what’s important.

This week will be a test though, I’m going away for a night for work. So I’ll have to have at least four meals out. We’ll see how that goes.


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