View Full Version : Indian Restaurant! Need some help :(

Nov 16th, 2014, 09:55 PM
Okay, Okay, Okay! Hi everyone! :o

So I realized that an Indian Restaurant opened near my town and I've been wanting to try something new for a change. I am aware that it has a Vegetarian-Side of the menu but with all the trust issues I have on being a Vegan, I don't know what is good and what is not since the ingredients are unfamiliar with me (with it being another language). Is there anything I need to look for? or ask about? I don't want to be looked at, as if I'm coo-koo! lol even though I'm getting use to it....slowllyyyy.

Thanks in advance for the tips! :)

Nov 16th, 2014, 11:17 PM
Hi, welcome!

I haven't been to your country unfortunately but my experience of Indian restaurants here and in other parts of Europe is that they are usually pretty helpful, and are knowledgeable about vegetarianism, though not necessarily veganism. The fact that your one has a vegetarian section to the menu is a pretty good sign. And they are likely to speak English so you shouldn't have any trouble communicating what you want.

I think Indian vegetarians generally don't eat eggs so the main things to ask about are dairy products, which would mainly be ghee (clarified butter), yoghurt and paneer (cheese). Often they can leave those things out of dishes that would normally have them, if you ask them. The breads sometimes have dairy produce in them so that's another thing to check.

Good luck - please let us know how you get on if you go.

Clueless Git
Nov 17th, 2014, 10:54 AM
Yah, as Harpy said ...

Paneer cheese, butter ghee and yoghurt used in naan bread are the main things you need to watch out for.

Nov 18th, 2014, 10:47 AM
I went to an Indian restaurant several years ago. My Mom, sister, and self were the only people in the whole restaurant as they had just opened their doors for dinner. I asked the waitress about several menu items as I had been warned ahead that they cook most of their food with ghee. Sure enough she said all the rice was made in ghee as well as vegetables. I asked if the cook could make a batch of food without it. She got irritated and said it would be a long process and she wasn't sure. There was literally nothing on the menu that I could eat otherwise, not even garden salad. She said she would talk to the cook and off she went. In less than five seconds she was back and said he would be happy to make a separate batch. I mean, come on, there was no one else there! When I received my food, I took my first bite and immediately knew there was ghee in it. I didn't say anything because I couldn't be 100% sure but I just knew. I didn't eat my food and have never gone back there again. It was my one and only bad experience eating out (I only eat out on average five times a year though). Not saying that all Indian restaurants are this way. Most are probably much better. But do ask about ghee and other dairy as it is commonly used in Indian cooking.

Nov 19th, 2014, 07:51 PM
That sounds very annoying, Robin. I guess you can get stroppy disobliging people anywhere unfortunately.

Generalising a bit, people who run Indian restaurants here seem typically to be fairly flexible about adapting things. I was in one the other night where when told that I didn't eat dairy they nicely pointed out that some of the veg. dishes had ghee and stuff in them but then volunteered to make them without, which I thought was nice of them as there were plenty of dairy-free ones anyway.

I have heard that most of the mainstream ones here now tend to use vegetable oil for cooking because ghee is rather expensive, but some of the dishes are certainly finished with ghee unless you ask them not to.

Nov 24th, 2014, 04:14 PM
My advice is to email before you go if you can. That way they get advanced warning and there should be no confusion due to accents. Plus when people are put on the spot they have a tendancy to tell you what they think you want to hear!

pat sommer
Nov 26th, 2014, 04:35 AM
Chain restaurants seem to have better policies in place in general but why be limited? Certainly emailing ahead is worth the effort.

I'm afraid I've had to fall back on the old allergy ploy. Since I usually dine with non-vegans, I blame the dairy allergy on them (Indian dishes are for sharing). So what if their Prawn-something is ghee free too?

A strategy used by real-allergy suffering friends in China was to print out a sheet with ok/banned foods in pictures and headed with a bloated face shot. This was handed to wait-staff to give to the cook along with a request that they call a doctor if the diner's face looked that way... :eek:
The soy-allergic friend had good success with that. Had nearly perfect success with it with the excitotoxin sensitive friend (MSG).
Really helped skipping the I-explain-to-you-explain-to-him routine.

The other way I handle tricky what's-safe-to-eat situations is to walk straight into the kitchen with a happy loud, "hello Chef" and speak to whomever answers me.
Never been kicked out. Confidence is key (or alcohol)