I've recently moved to India, and was wondering if there are any vegans here who are from, have lived in, or have traveled India who would have some tips on how to survive as a vegan.
When I cook on my own, it's fine- I can't use many packaged products because almost everything has "milk solid" even if it would be vegan otherwise (though I prefer fresh ingredients anyways). This leads me to wonder if normally vegan food will have dairy randomly added in, even if that's not traditionally how it's made- for example, I know veg samosa is usually vegan, but do I have to ask every time or are there certain foods that are safe to assume with?
What about ordering out and requesting pure veg without dairy? Is there a Hindi word for dairy that will cover everything, or do I have to go through and list every single possible dairy that could be used (if so, what are the names for dairy items possibly found in food here? Not many people speak English where I am, so I would probably have to ask in Hindi)
I also worry about what to do when at someone's house and they offer me food. I know Indian hospitality is really big over here, and I always appreciate it, but should I explain my veganism ahead of time, when they invite me in? Is it really rude to not eat food that someone offers? Will I risk offending people if I don't explain? (and if I do have to explain, what's the best way to go about it, especially if there is a language barrier?)
Another issue is going to temples. I'm not religious myself, but I do sometimes go with others who are. I know it's not appropriate to reject the prasat that's offered to you, but how do you know if there's dairy in it or not, and if there is (and you're not with someone who's willing to eat your prasat for you), how do you turn it down without being offensive?
Any tips would be greatly appreciated!