I previously shared the tips of ordering veggie food in non-vegetarian food serving eateries. Here are some other tips when looking for veggie food out of the veggie comfort zone.
- Be cautious. Not all service crew knows the ingredients of each dish. Kindly and politely request them to ask the chefs if need be.
- Avoid soupy items. We really don’t know what’s in the soup.
- Avoid fried items if you are not comfortable with used oil. From what I asked so far in the eateries I have been to, they often use the same oil for the frying of non-veggie food too.
- If the restaurant and/or service is friendly enough, you may even request them to wash the utensils or at least use fresh clean oil. Remember to mention that you are a vegetarian and is seeking their service for this.
- For special orders, order at restaurants. Not in usual hawker centers and heartland coffee shops. Few reasons why. One, we pay for service at restaurants but not in hawkers and coffee shops. Two, restaurant kitchen seem to have more utensils and they have less ‘funny’ taste (i.e. foreign taste due to unwashed utensils used to handle the special orders). Three, hawkers and cooks in coffee shops have long queues at times and they need to serve fast. Some may not be willing to offer such service. If they get your order wrong, such as using oyster sauce by accident, they can’t incur the loss should you reject the order.
- From experience, special veggie orders from Chinese restaurants has the higher chance of serving ‘not-so-veggie-friendly’ veggie options due to reuse of oil or cooking of strong taste of meat related dishes prior handling veggie orders. However, places like Putien (they even serve veggie-friendly soup) are quite safe and veggie-friendly! In fact, I didn’t have to instruct the service crew much for it is understood that most Chinese vegetarians do not consume onions and garlic. They have veggie options in their menu and their bee hoon taste great!
- Italian restaurants or places which serve western and Italian food are thus far the safest with best service I have experienced so far.
- When overseas, especially in Southeast Asia (SEA), speak simple English and in short and simple sentences when ordering.
- If you can’t dine at restaurants at that point in time, look out for other options, it’s possible!
a) Look out for coffee shop which serves Prata. We can always have plain Prata with sugar.
b) If there’s really no other choice in switching of dining options, most coffee shops serve toasts. Order a nice dessert too to add variety in your options, fill your stomach and pamper yourself. Try not to give the impression that being a vegetarian is ‘pitiful’ cos we have ‘nothing much to eat’ because this is not reflective how we feel!
- Lastly, the best way will be to encourage the people around you to try out vegetarian food! Well, we are not forcing people to accommodate us, but rather, providing them with yet another option! I do have peers and colleagues who enjoy veggie meals now and then with me. A friend once told me: “I don’t usually take much green, but seeing how you munch on them, it seem to me that they taste great and I eat more unknowingly!”
Hope the above tips help! Feel free to share yours below in the comment section
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