Vegans sometimes have a tough time finding suitable food to eat, especially if living in a largely non-vegetarian place. Fortunately, the growing number of people going vegetarian or vegan has led to restaurants adding additional menus.
Unlike vegetarianism, veganism has far greater restrictions not only on diet but in all areas of life. There’s no use and consumption of lanolin, milk in its various forms, eggs, honey, and anything derived from animals. Since most restaurants cater to such a varied clientele, it’s tricky getting around this. The solution lies in learning which foods lean towards veganism and communicating the same to the restaurant.
Largely vegan cuisines:
Among the numerous cuisines offered in numerous restaurants, Indian, Pakistani, Thai, Greek, and Egyptian foods have an extensive vegetarian menu. This means you can easily ask the chef to hold off on a few ingredients like dairy and meat if it’s a meat-based dish. Such restaurants have a large vegetarian clientele and more often than not, vegans do drop in. Here’s a look at key ingredients these cuisines may include and which you’d want to be excluded.
Indian fare: Indian food is extremely varied but vegetarian by and large. Animal products, if any, are typically clarified Indian butter or what is known as ghee, and yogurt. Most dishes can be made without the ingredient so chefs will have no problem catering to your order.
Pakistani cuisine: Pakistani fare shares many similarities with Indian cuisine but is also influenced by the fare of neighboring countries like Afghanistan and Iran. This mixed bag of cuisines guarantees whatever dish you pick is rich and bursting with flavor.
As with Indian fare, ask the chef to exclude dairy products. It shouldn’t be difficult since many of the dishes comprise forms of bread, veggies, and fruits. Even foods like biryani which are largely meat-based can be vegan; there’s usually a vegetarian option that can easily be made vegan.
Thai: Thai cuisine can also be vegan though many foods are flavored with fish sauce. Still, good restaurants will cater to your requirements. Dairy isn’t a staple unlike with Indian and Pakistani fare so you shouldn’t have problems. Coconut milk is used instead.
Because of the high number of tourists flocking to Thailand, local cuisine has made way for Western palates. Tofu is a common meat substitute and vegetables are widely used in meat and rice dishes as well.
Greek cuisine: This southern European country is rich in fruits and vegetables. You’ll find them peppering almost every dish so vegans have nothing much to worry about. If dairy is used it’s in the form of cheese which can easily be skipped.
Take note that most Greek desserts contain honey so be careful when ordering. Even dry items like filo pastries tend to contain butter.
Egyptian fare: Egyptian cuisine is defined by its rich use of legumes and vegetables. Local bread is also common and you’ll find it accompanying most meals. As with desserts from almost all countries, milk and butter are key ingredients in those of Egypt’s so you may want to skip it or place a special order.
Restaurants, eager to please their customers, try their best to make sure you leave fully satisfied. Send them a good review publically if you want to help more vegans find quality options.