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Thread: Eating out at Indian / Chinese restaurants

  1. #1
    VeganJohn
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    Default Eating out at Indian / Chinese restaurants

    Hi,

    Was wondering what people's experiences have been like. Since becoming vegan I have not really been to any non-vegan/veggie Indian places, as I would be unsure what to ask for. I am going for a farewell curry with some people who don't know I'm vegan. I know naan bread isn't vegan, but will it be OK to order something like a veg biryani and puppodoms/mango chutney and pilau rice?

    I usually find chinese retaurants to have a fair selection of vegan food, although I am wary about buffets. I have been told that veg spring rolls are made with tempura batter, although I often worry that there may be eggs in the batter. Also noodle dishes and singapore vermicelli look OK but are the noodles usually egg noodles, or does it vary?

    Any suggestions?

    Thanks!

    VeganJohn

  2. #2

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    If you don't WANT the people with you to know you're a vegan, then I would suggest calling ahead to the restaurant to get the ingredients for the dishes that will be served. I find it easier to call ahead and speak with a manager or owner if you don't want any misunderstandings.
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    VeganJohn
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Sounds like good advice.

    I sometimes don't like the fuss and questioning involved with telling people I'm vegan. Often I tell people I'm vegetarian in a chinese place and order boiled rice.

  4. #4

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Oh, but they're being paid to feed you! They should give you what you want! I will no longer accept a meal that has no protein in it and pay the same amount as someone with a chicken carcass! I am not a rabbit but a vegan. But of course, I welcome the chance to make a scene........
    Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. - Albert Einstein

  5. #5
    Ratbag Cal's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote Dianecrna
    I am not a rabbit but a vegan.
    Thanks, I might use that line next time I eat out!!
    A bit rattled

  6. #6
    snaffler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    We are pretty lucky in the Uk and in this area we have a couple of Indian places that are very strict on dietry needs also one colour codes the menu for wheat,dairy,egg,meat, the waiter told me that all I need to do as a vegan is pick a meal in the veggie list then choose the non-dairy options.

    Some nan breads are vegan, not sure about all indian takeaways etc but my local health food shop and Sainsburys supermarket both sale vegan nan breads.
    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams

  7. #7
    VeganJohn
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Vegan naan bread in Sainsburys? I will have to investigate at my local branch. Do you know the brand name?

    Onion bhajis and veg samosas are usually vegan I believe. Is ghee butter added to most curries do you know?

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote VeganJohn
    Vegan naan bread in Sainsburys? I will have to investigate at my local branch. Do you know the brand name?
    It's their own brand if I recall. It says 'vegan' on it.
    I bet Yoda was a vegan

  9. #9

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Usuallt in retuarants i dont say Im vegan but say -
    I need a special order - a nice veggie meal with no dairy, no egg, no oils and mo msg.

    They usually think its food allergies and I get better service, and after wards I thank the staff for a great vegan meal and if it was good leave a great tip.

    quite often when I have asked for a vegan meal I get that look - here is an awkward sod - and sometimes I ahve even been told they dont do vegan food.

    also the relgious side works too - I cant eat animal products due to my spiritual beliefs - and they really jump for this.

    I did once get asked after what was my religion was - Vegan of course! was the answer.

    I think as long as your nice - and say afterwards you will recommend them to your many vegan friends - you get even better service next time.

    also if you ahve abit of time do write to local palces - claiming you have lots of business dos and you ahve vegan staff and clients - do mention vegan drink and no smoking of course. You will get some great replies.


    gibby

  10. #10
    VeganJohn
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Thanks gibby!

    Another local person, we are taking over

  11. #11

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Im finding loads of vegans in newcastle, a group in northumberland
    all through the web - and a few motnhs ago I thought it was just me

    cheers


    G

  12. #12
    tails4wagging
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Must admit, I do miss an indian takeaway, but I wouldnt trust them if I ask for a vegan dish.

  13. #13
    snaffler's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    If the meal is made authentic and I mean really authentic not in the sense that the local balti house has used the word on the menus that is a selling point.

    Jellfrazi made in the traditional way is vegan
    Vindaloo made in the traditional way is vegan
    Rogan Josh made in the traditional way should be vegan
    Popadoms
    Onion Bahjis
    Veg Samosa
    All shoul be vegan if amde the correct way

    Always check the use of ghee.

    Gibby tip is the best Alergy it sends alarm bells they know if they screw up it's bad press....rembmer most do not consider egg as dairy so always say No Egg No Dairy.

    Alternatively make one at home it's nice and lots cheaper and always lower in fat.
    Go confidently in the direction of your dreams

  14. #14

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    I think most veggie samosas and pakora etc are vegan, but they seem to use cream or yoghurt in a lot of curry dishes.

    I rarely get take-away, but if I do it's usually a nice Chinese sweet & sour tofu with boiled rice. (Damn, I'm hungry now )

  15. #15

    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Well...Well, I give you guys few Indian Dishes, which you can order without any hesitation---as the are Vegan. Generally these are dairy free but still you can specifically order dairyfree-white sugar free.

    1. Samosa.
    2. Idli-Sambhar
    3. Masala Dosa
    4. Pakoda
    5. Dhal-Rice
    6. Vegg.Biryani
    7. Pulav
    8. chapati
    9. Bhindi Masala
    10. Chineesse Pulav
    11. Chinesse Noodles
    12. Vada Sambhar
    13. Spring Roll
    14. Manchurian
    15. Uttapam
    16. Kachori
    17. Pav Bhaji
    18. Chola Bhatura
    19. Chana Masala
    20. Puri
    21. Khaman(Dhokla)
    22. http://www.fatfree.com/recipes/indian/
    23. http://www.petaindia.com/recipes/
    24. Cutlette
    25. Veggie Omlette

    Never eat any Indian Sweet Dishes, as most of them are made in Ghee(it is a dairy product),Milk,White Sugar.Unless it is totally dryfruit preparation.

    If you wanna know about any Indian dishes,Spice,Stuff. Pls do email me without any hesitation.Contact Manish Jain

  16. #16

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Thanks for all those vegan Indian foods, Manish. I have never had a problem in Indian restaurants, they seem to understand my requirements very well. Less so Chinese or Thai, but I have always preferred Indian anyway. I sometimes say I am allergic to dairy, save myself the hassle. Mostly I don't eat out a lot though.
    Dynamic Harmlessness

  17. #17
    VeganJohn
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Excellent Manish, sorry I didn't reply sooner!

    I ended up having a veg biryani and plenty pappodums and mango chutney. I also had bhajis and samosas for starters.

    All in all it was a good night!

  18. #18
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Veggie omelette is vegan???? I don't think I believe you!!

    Same goes for the Chinese noodles - they're usually egg noodles, unless you specify rice noodles.

  19. #19

    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote miss_laura
    Veggie omelette is vegan???? I don't think I believe you!!

    Same goes for the Chinese noodles - they're usually egg noodles, unless you specify rice noodles.
    In India, mostly noodles are Eggs free. And Veggie Omelette is made with Chick peas flour+ tomato+onion. I hope it is clear now.

    Manish

  20. #20
    miss_laura's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Really? I thought all omelettes were made from beaten eggs? I do apologise!

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    We have been at an Indian "Gourmet Night" last night and out of the four main courses, one was with chicken and three were vegan, so were the samosas which were served as a starter! I was dead chuffed! All that was not vegan was the chicken dish, the raita (yoghurt), the bread (contained yoghurt) and the pudding (ice cream).

    So I had:

    samosa
    rice pilaw
    mixed vegetable
    vegetable kofta
    chickpea curry

    It was delicious!!!

    Actually, out of the many ethnic cuisines, I imagine that Indian and Chinese would be the easiest for vegans.

    In a Chinese Restaurant, I would order any dish and ask for it do be done with tofu instead of the meat/fish, ask not to use fish stock and order boiled rice.

    Anybody got any thoughts about Italian restaurants - apart from salads, tomato sauce and grilled veg?

    littleTigercub

  22. #22
    ♥♥♥ Tigerlily's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Middle Eastern food is quite vegan friendly as well.

  23. #23

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Manish, that omelette sounds amazing!!! I've had Tofu Scramble which is lovely, but your concotion is interesting!!! When can we all come to visit?!

    If I go to Italian restaurants (which isn't often) I'll ask if they pizza base has any animal ingredients in it, I am finding many are now suitable for vegans. I occasionally say I am allergic to dairy, just in case, but it seems pizza (without the cheese, obvioulsy) is ok for us. I'm not too conviced about those little cheap takeaway pizza places though.
    Mostly I just make my own though.

    I wish there was a little chemistry test we could carry around with us to double check that the establishments are true to their word before we tuck in! Like a litmus test for vegans!
    Dynamic Harmlessness

  24. #24
    feline01's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote mememe
    I wish there was a little chemistry test we could carry around with us to double check that the establishments are true to their word before we tuck in! Like a litmus test for vegans!
    My husband has been tossing that idea around for a couple of years now, really since we first went vegan. I think it would sell well. I certainly would use it (and sue the ass off of anyone who lied to me!)

  25. #25
    Veganbear's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    There's an Indian restaurant that I go to that is vegetarian. They don't use egg, so I just have to ask if something has dairy in it. They're cheap too!! I usually get fried idli and a masala dosa or mysore dosa. They come with this really good coconut chutney and really good sambar soup. All of their curries have dairy, which sucks because they have an eggplant one that sounds really good! Not far from the restaurant is an Indian grocery store that I like to go to. I can buy a box of sambar or idli mix for 99 cents each! They also have frozen masala dosas that are really good too! The restaurant is about 45 minutes away, but that's a good thing because if it were closer, I'd be eating there all the time and I'd be a fat pig!!

  26. #26
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    I find Indian restaurants to be more vegan friendly than Thai or Chinese. But we have 3 new VEGAN Thai eateries here now, so I don't have to go through the hassle anymore. The movement is growing!
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  27. #27

    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote kriz
    I find Indian restaurants to be more accommdating to vegans than Thai or Chinese. The movement is growing!

    Yes, you are right. It is growing. Woooohooo.

  28. #28

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote feline01
    My husband has been tossing that idea around for a couple of years now, really since we first went vegan. I think it would sell well. I certainly would use it (and sue the ass off of anyone who lied to me!)
    Yeah, I thought it would be a great thing too, I'd use it. Although I don't really eat out a huge amount and prefer to cook for myself, or if I do go out I prefer to go to a vegetarian restaurant where I know they'll be able to cater to me with ease, and I don't have to worry what they're putting in my dinner or cross contamination. Or ideally a vegan restaurant!

    Can you imagine the looks we'd get though if we started getting out our chemisty kits before we wanted to eat dinner!!!!! My friends think I'm weird enough (in a nice way) as it is!!!
    Dynamic Harmlessness

  29. #29
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote mememe
    Can you imagine the looks we'd get though if we started getting out our chemisty kits before we wanted to eat dinner!!!!! My friends think I'm weird enough (in a nice way) as it is!!!
    It would probably get people asking loads of questions though which can be a good thing. I used to eat at a place in Philadelphia which had claimed that their cheese was vegan but turned out it wasn't . PETA uncovered their lie and they are still in business (like I'd ever go there again ).

  30. #30
    spo
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Yes, there are many vegan friendly Indian places; and I prefer to frequent them because they truly understand the vegetarian ethic. They never seem annoyed by it.
    I am lucky because I live near Flushing, Queens where there are several Buddhist/Chinese restaurants which are vegan, with the occasional exception of using egg whites, which they list in their menu. I go to these places a lot, too.
    But, hey, feline, I would not be shy using a chem test to nail these "so-called" veg friendly places
    spo

  31. #31

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote feline01
    I used to eat at a place in Philadelphia which had claimed that their cheese was vegan but turned out it wasn't . PETA uncovered their lie and they are still in business (like I'd ever go there again ).
    That would make me soooooooooooo furious! Makes me just want to stay in and cook for myself. Bring on the Vegan Chemistry Test!!!!!
    Dynamic Harmlessness

  32. #32
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Quote gibby
    Usuallt in retuarants i dont say Im vegan but say -
    I need a special order - a nice veggie meal with no dairy, no egg, no oils and mo msg.

    They usually think its food allergies and I get better service, and after wards I thank the staff for a great vegan meal and if it was good leave a great tip.

    quite often when I have asked for a vegan meal I get that look - here is an awkward sod
    I do the same thing. To my surprise, more and more often, when I check with the waiter/waitress about a particular dish and say that I cannot have any eggs or dairy, they will say, "Oh, vegan?" It shocked me the first time.

  33. #33
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    There's a fifties looking diner here called "Swingers" with a vegan friendly menu. The staff also know a few things about the different food they serve. Traditional american diners are not exactly places where vegans like to hang out. But at "Swingers" I can, I usually order a veggie wrap with lots of hummus and enjoy the privilege.
    "Animals are my friends... and I don't eat my friends". ~ George Bernhard Shaw.

  34. #34
    VeganJohn
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Often in the UK, Chinese retaurants serve a thick sweetcorn soup with egg whites in it. Does anybody know whether it is vegan if ordered with no egg?

  35. #35

    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Sweet corn soup(eggs free) is Vegan.


    Manish Jain

  36. #36

    Default Eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    hey everyone,

    I've done a quick search on here for some info on this but thought it would be easier to start a new thread...I apologise if that's the wrong thing to do. I'm quite new to this forum and its been years since I've belonged to one..I'm limited for time too, so..

    here's the thing- I'm going out for a friend's birthday tomorrow, and we're going for a Chinese meal in Brighton. I used to eat Chinese food when I was vegetarian but haven't since being vegan.

    are there some dishes which are always safe? any tips or advice or info would be HUGELY appreciated. I'm not at all worried about asking about dishes when I'm there, or requesting things to be made vegan, but in general how is eating out in Chinese restaurants as a vegan???

    thank u x x x

  37. #37
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    Default Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    It's been my experience (at the Chinese restaurants I go to) that most veggie dishes and tofu dishes are vegan. Things like Mixed Veggies w/ Bean Curd, Chinese Greens, Garlic Broccoli, etc. You would definitely want to ask though, just to be sure. I think the one tricky ingredient to watch for is oyster sauce. They don't usually use butter. I get spring rolls a lot, those are normally vegan (whereas eggrolls are not). Steamed rice is fine. Fried rice is normally vegan as long as they don't put in eggs.

    I could be wrong...so definitely ask

  38. #38

    Smile Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    cool thanks for that, thats really useful to know. and yeh, asking is always the best thing to do, though there's a lot of trust involved!
    I guess I will see what happens tomorrow. I've played safe with eating out so far, mostly sticking to veg/vegan places. If nothing else then a bowl of steamed rice and plain veggies will have to do!
    thank you! x x x

  39. #39
    Rentaghost Marrers's Avatar
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    Default Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    Also ask about shrimp paste in stuff. Let us know where you go and how it goes!

    I haven't had chinese since the vegan place near Croydon closed down. As I'd always had really boring dishes eating chinese as the lone veggie in a group there was no incentive to go again, esp once I went vegan. (Though in Hong Kong it was altogether different & enjoyable and renewed my interest in chinese food!)

  40. #40
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    Default Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    veggie fried rice is usually vegan (make sure they don't put eggs).

    lomein is usually NOT vegan (the noodles themselves contain eggs). however, angel hair pasta with veggies is usually vegan.

    jamboxrock, i didn't know that spring rolls are usually vegan! glad i read your post.
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  41. #41

    Post Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    thanks for the replies-

    marrers- I went to china china, first time i'd been.
    dancing willow- if only they told you every single ingredient on the menu, eating out would be so much simpler!

    well it went ok, but to be honest I was only about 95% sure it was totally vegan... which made me unhappy but you see I was out with some people I had never met before and I just couldnt bring myself to make a huge fuss as it was my friend's birthday. maybe this is wrong, but hey ho.

    I ate a spring roll as I was offered it a couple of times and you know when someone is offering food and in certain cultures, not England, it is taken as kind of rude if you say no.. and these were supposedly vegan, so.. then I had plain rice and veg with tofu which came in an unexpected sauce... was told it was just soy sauce, and this is where the 5% uncertainty kicked in! my taste buds were telling me it was fine but, well, there was no guarantee.

    so, I dont think I'll eat out in a chinese restaurant again in a hurry unless I've been steered in that direction by a fellow vegan! but it also wasnt a total disaster x x

  42. #42
    sprite1986
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    Default Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    Is China China a chain? Because I'm sure I went there i Cardiff. Can't say I was impressed, there was hardly anything without meat in.

    I find different places are really hit and miss as to whether they enough choice to make it work going.

    Squishy tofu that you get in some places is possibly one of the nicest things in the world though!!

  43. #43

    Smile Re: help- eating out in chinese restaurant!!!

    hey- not sure if its a chain but it did seem like it could be. and yeh it was about 2% vegan friendly.

    squishy tofu isn't my favourite type of tofu but tofu IS in my top 5 things to eat! my latest fave is one with hazelnuts in it...mmm I'm gettin hungry now..

    x x

  44. #44

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    In South Wales every Chinese resturant that I have been too (and it's quite a few) that offer vegetable MINI spring rolls have meat in them. It's just the mini ones not the regular sized spring rolls. The regular sized ones are fine (and very tasty). I don't know why this is the case, perhaps they order them in from the same supplier and don't realise. So if you're in the South Wales area best keep an eye out

  45. #45

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    The vegetable mini spring rolls in China China definately have meat in them, I actually ate a couple without realising and then when I saw the meat I asked a member of staff why it was there and not labelled as so. He said that they don't know what is in them they just buy them in.

  46. #46

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian/Chinese restaurants

    Perhaps i'm halluncinating and just seeing meat everywhere ha ha!

  47. #47

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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian / Chinese restaurants

    Not sure if Wagamama counts as indian/chinese ciusine, however they have a good number of vegan items and they actually have a special info card which tells the customer which items are suitable for vegans.
    The food is fabulous and reasonably priced.
    Last edited by herbwormwood; Nov 26th, 2008 at 05:50 PM. Reason: spelling
    See my local diary ... http://herbwormwood.blogspot.com/

  48. #48
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian / Chinese restaurants

    Quote herbwormwood View Post
    Not sure if Wagamama counts as indian/chinese ciusine, however they have a good number of vegan items and they actually have a special info card which tells the customer which items are suitable for vegans.
    The food is fabulous and reasonably priced.
    Not at the one in Covent Garden it's not!!
    Born to Lose - Live to Win!

  49. #49
    my army bradders's Avatar
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian / Chinese restaurants

    I remember (before I was vegan) in Jaipur station café getting a tadka dahl and they had two options meat and veg the meat one as things turned out was the veg one but with a sliced hard boiled egg in it.

    I've had decent luck with a lot of omni Indian restaurants in London but the one we used to always go to said they wouldn't do anything vegan so they lost a fair bit of money from us.
    If I sink to the bottom I can run to the shore.

  50. #50
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    Default Re: Eating out at Indian / Chinese restaurants

    I find that the waiters in Indian Restaurants are really good at knowing exactly what is in the meals. We choose a vegetarian meal and ask if it has egg or dairy. In our favourite local restaurant the nan bread is vegan as long as we ask for it not to have melted butter brushed over it.

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