If you follow a vegan diet, you probably prefer to dine at vegan restaurants, where you don't have to hem and haw over every ingredient before ordering something off the menu. However, there are bound to be times when you end up dining at a non-vegan restaurant -- either for a work function, a family party, or a gathering with non-vegan friends. You don't have to resign yourself to a side salad and a glass of water while you watch everyone else dine. Follow these tips for ordering a vegan and delicious meal at a non-vegan restaurant.
Order a dinner salad -- and specifically name the items you want on it.
It's not unusual to order a dinner salad that sounds like it would be vegan as long as the chicken is left off, only to have it come and be topped with egg or cheese that was not listed on the menu. A dinner salad is a good option for a vegan looking for a safe menu, but there's a better way to order it than simply requesting that certain ingredients be left off. Say to the waiter something to the effect of, "I'd like the dinner garden salad, but with only carrots, sesame seeds, cabbage and croutons on top, please," rather than saying, "May I have the dinner garden salad without the egg?" This way, there should be no surprises.
Ask for a side of bread with oil.
Most breads are vegan -- as long as you don't load them up with butter. If you want to make sure you have something safe to nibble, ask for an order of bread with just oil and perhaps some vinegar for dipping. Simply tell the waiter you cannot have any dairy for health reasons. This way, your bread won't come with melted butter all over it.
Always ask what type of oil is used to cook foods.
Items like French fries, tempura vegetables, and sauteed veggies may indeed be vegan, but they could also be cooked in butter or another animal fat. Thus, if you plan on ordering these items, always as the waiter what type of cooking oil is used first. Also, be sure to tell your waiter that you cannot have any dairy or animal fat ingredients; request that any butter or other sauces used to finish such dishes are left off.
Dining out at a non-vegan restaurant can be a challenge, since non-vegan ingredients often lurk where you don't expect them. With the tips above, however, you can do a better job of avoiding animal products.
For more information, contact The Thai D'or Restaurant or a similar location.