How to Hack Every Restaurant’s Menu if You’re Vegan or Vegetarian

March 23, 2016 | By | Comments (0)

Photo by Scott Harrington

 

Whether you’ve decided to give up meat because of this little kid or you’re participating in the meatless Mondays trend, a plant-based diet comes with the stereotype of being boring and unappealing to the taste buds, especially while eating out. However, veganism and vegetarianism come with a variety of dishes you can order while eating out besides just a salad. Here are a list of foods to order when you’re out eating that will make even your meat-eating friends drool.

 

Japanese Restaurants and Sushi Bars

Photo by Armin Nayak

Photo by Armin Nayak

 

You don’t need to miss out on sushi just because you don’t eat fish. There are plenty of vegan and vegetarian options on the menu, from appetizers to sushi rolls. Just make sure to double-check with the waiter that things like miso soup don’t have fish sauce in them. 

If you’re vegan, try: garlic edamame, seaweed, miso soup, tempura or vegetable rolls and veggie hand rolls.

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above, plus that sushi with steamed egg on top (tamago).

 

Chinese Restaurants

Photo by Sher Yip

 

It’s not too difficult to find vegan options in Chinese food as most Chinese dishes do not have dairy. Tofu is also a common protein in Asian culture, so feel free to ask the chef if he can sub the tofu in for meat in a variety of dishes. Do be sure to check if the dishes are cooked with fish or oyster sauce.

If you’re vegan, try: fried rice, chow mein, eggplant tofu, mapo tofu, stir-fried veggies, fresh soy milk, tofu and vegetables and veggie dumplings.

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above, but feel free to add an egg to your fried rice or chow mein.

 

Mexican Restaurants

Photo by Julie Mirliss

 

You may think that eating as a vegan at a Mexican place would be impossible with the amount of cheese present, but it isn’t as difficult as it might seem. Order foods without the cheese and meat, and ask for extra veggies instead. Also, check to be sure that no chicken stock is used in cooking the rice.

If you’re vegan, try: veggie burritos, veggie tacos, beans and rice, chips with salsa and guacamole or nachos without cheese and sour cream.

If you’re vegetarian try: all of the above but add cheese or chipotle sauce as desired, cheese enchiladas, bean and cheese veggie burritos.

 

Korean Restaurants

Photo by Eugene Ang

Photo by Eugene Ang

 

Although Korean restaurants are best known for Korean barbecue, it’s not the only good thing that you can eat there. If you find yourself stuck at Korean barbecue and you want to use the grill too, ask if you can grill tofu or any other vegetables at hand. If you have the option of ordering things that are not from the KBBQ menu, here are some options.

If you’re vegan, try: vegan side dishes (ask which ones are vegan-friendly since some have hidden fish), spicy tofu soup, veggie bibimbap, veggie kimbap, glass noodles with veggies

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above, with a steamed egg on top.

 

American & Burger Restaurants

Photo by Karen Tran

Photo by Karen Tran

 

You can have your American food fix without eating just hamburgers or hotdogs. Luckily, most American places that feature burgers nowadays will also have a veggie burger option. If they don’t here are some other options.

If you’re vegan, try: black bean burgers, beet burgers, wraps, fries, sweet potato fries, pizza without cheese or veggie sandwiches.

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above, mac and cheese, pizza or egg salad sandwiches.

 

Vietnamese Restaurants

Photo by Scott Harrington

Photo by Scott Harrington

 

Although Vietnamese places are most famous for pho, there are still other plant-based options available. Check the appetizers and main dishes for a variety of options without meat.

If you’re vegan, try: veggie spring rolls, veggie stir fry, tofu banh mi or veggies with vermicelli.

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above and egg rolls.

 

Brunch and Breakfast Restaurants

Photo by Ashley Du

Photo by Ashley Du

 

Brunch places are luckily pretty easy to eat at as a vegetarian. It is a little more challenging as a vegan, but can still be just as delicious. You don’t need ham and bacon in the morning to stay satisfied throughout the day.

If you’re vegan, try: veggie breakfast burritos, oatmeal with different toppings, fruit platters, açaí bowls, smoothies or coffee with soy milk.

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above, veggie omelets, pancakes, waffles or eggs Benedict.

 

Italian Restaurants

Photo by Daniel Schuleman

 

Eating vegan at an Italian place may seem difficult with all the dairy at the restaurant, but it is doable and delicious as long as you know what to look for. Just be sure to ask if the dish you’re ordering has any hidden egg or cheese in it. Also, be sure to order dishes without parmesan on top.

If you’re vegan, try: bruschetta, veggie pizza without the cheese, marinara pasta, bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar.

If you’re vegetarian, try: all of the above, plus pesto pasta, fried zucchini or eggplant, alfredo pasta, garlic bread and veggie pizza.

 

Content courtesy of Spoon University.

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