One of the many trials and tribulations we face as active participants in a cruelty-free movement is the constant struggle to find delicious vegan food while dining out. And no, surprisingly enough we’re not talking about that sad, poor excuse of a salad that most restaurants recommend as a substitute for a meal. As delightful as they can be, munching on lettuce is not the vegan dream, so we’ve compiled a few pro tips to sniffing out some of the best grub you’ll ever have.
This goes above all else. For all success you’ll find while dining out on a plant-based diet, the best possible advantage you can give yourself is taking the time to look online or ask around about places that people recommend. This will significantly increase your choices, and also reduce the time wasted walking between cafes and restaurants checking menus to no avail. Talk about frustrating!
Also try checking the menu of your destination online, or even calling ahead to figure out some options. Most places are more than happy to help out.
This app will change your life.
Also available online as a website with the exact same features, this free resource is incredible for finding new vegan hotspots in your local area. Allowing you to search via city, region, zipcode or your current location, HappyCow not only allows you to find delicious food nearby, but also lets its users leave detailed reviews on their experience at the location, enabling honest opinions to be left on the page. The website also provides a rough guideline for price, the ability to upload your own images, the opening hours and contact number of the establishment. Amazing as this already is, it gets better. Not only does this tool cover all of this, but they also provide links to the businesses social media, a brief overview of the kind of food they serve and the location!
Just as you think it can’t get any better, trust me, it does. If you’re going out with non-vegans, HappyCow also has a feature that allows you to filter your search results by locations that cater to both vegetarians and meat-eaters, as well as vegans. This way allows everyone to be happy and find amazing food to suit everybody’s needs.
Websites & Blogs
A quick Google of vegan options in your area can often come up with a lot more than you might expect! There are a countless number of incredible blogs and websites which document all the fantastic vegan businesses out there, with overviews and first person accounts of their experience there. This is a quick and simple way of checking out your nearby locations.
In the case of eating out emergencies (which, let’s face it, are unavoidable), a basic way of helping you along in your decision of where to eat is to pick and choose based on cuisine.
There are quite a few cuisines which actually embrace vegetarianism, and therefore have many common dishes which can be easily made vegan! Here is a basic list of cuisines to look for, and which you should maybe avoid:
Cuisines to Avoid
- Fast food (while not its own cuisine, many fast food chains unfortunately don’t yet cater to vegans, so it’s often best to avoid these
While there will be exceptions to these, it is always important to double check that whatever you may be interested in ordering is in fact vegan!
Talk to Your Server
Kindness can go a long way.
If you end up at a restaurant that you haven’t had an influence over picking, let your server know what your requirements are. Make sure you are especially kind to the individual looking after you, as while this should be a blanket rule already when interacting with people in the service industry, you’d be surprised at how far a smile and a positive attitude can get you!
All in all, dining out vegan isn’t as scary as it can seem. With a little bit of effort, it can feel as though you’re not missing out on anything at all!
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