Finding vegan food can sometimes be challenging, and you might find yourself sticking to a small selection of restaurants that you know will cater to you. This is really limiting and can be awkward when visiting a new place or eating out with friends. The guide below shows you how easy it is to eat vegan at almost any restaurant — you just need to know what to look out for.
Even if a restaurant doesn't have a vegan option on its menu, it usually only takes a few simple changes to existing dishes to create a delicious vegan feast. Read on for details on how to order vegan at three common types of restaurant. Before you know it, you'll be eating out every night.
Chinese restaurants often have a really good selection of vegan options, although there are a few potential issues to watch out for. Vegetable dishes often include fish sauce for flavour — you should ask for this to be excluded from your meal. Noodle dishes may contain egg noodles, but ask about alternatives. Most restaurants will also offer rice and wheat noodles or can switch them for rice. Tofu is a favourite vegan option at Chinese restaurants — choose the salt and pepper seasoning for a real kick or black bean sauce for a milder flavour that's packed with plant-based protein.
Similar to Chinese cuisine, loads of Indian dishes happen to be vegan — you just need to know what to look out for. Some curries are made with ghee, a type of Indian butter, and creamy sauces can contain cow's milk. Ask for your curry to be made without ghee and with coconut milk instead — this is commonly used in lots of dishes so it should be no problem. When it comes to sides, you're in luck! Onion bhajis, vegetable samosas, lentil daal and saag aloo are almost always vegan. Just check that no egg is used in battered or fried items. Poppadum are also fine and can be dipped in mango chutney as a yummy alternative to mint sauce. Avoid naan bread as this is usually made with milk or yoghurt.
You can't go wrong by asking for a vegetable pizza with no cheese at most Italian restaurants. Some 'fast food' pizza chains may use milk powder in their dough, but this is very rare in authentic Italian restaurants. Garlic bread and dough balls make great starters — just check they're made with garlic oil, not garlic butter. Olives, tomato bruschetta and bread with oil and vinegar are also good as starters or sides. If you're getting sick of dough, check out the pasta menu. The majority of restaurants will offer a simple pasta with tomato sauce or a fancier vegetable and lentil dish. Check that the pasta doesn't contain egg as this can be the case if it is fresh rather than dried.