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08/25/2015

Aaak! There’s egg in this! (What to watch out for when eating out.)

I spent this past weekend in my hometown of Chicago to celebrate the birthday of my youngest daughter, my stepmother and aunt. We enjoyed the view from the 96th floor of the John Hancock building and I got to hang out with my too-cute nephew. At 18 months he already knows how to work an iPod and pushes the buttons on a remote then looks around to see what happens.

 

ChiSky

My daughter and I had lunch at our favorite Chinatown restaurant. We ordered  a bean curd dish and a vegetable and noodles dish. But, I'm afraid I wasn't doing my vegan due diligence. As we neared the end of the meal I suddenly tasted scrambled egg.

Here are the mistakes I made

First, I didn't tell the server I am vegan and don't eat ANY animal products.

Second, I failed to recognize or remember that the noodle dishes often have egg.


In general Chinese, Thai, Indian, Mexican and many other international restaurants make good choices for vegan dining out. Not only are they often not meat centric but your non vegan friends and family will find what they want too. That said, there are still things you need to do to make sure your meal is animal free.

Follow these suggestions to insure that you don't have any "Aaak!" moments of your own

Say it loud! I'm vegan and I'm proud!
Be sure to let your server knows you don't eat any animal products. Clarify that statement by saying no dairy or eggs. Don't worry about being a pest. Say it again after the orders are taken just to be sure or if you have any doubt that they really understood.

Ask for suggestions
Ask your server what on the menu is vegan. In today's society many restaurants are knowledgeable and prepared for vegan and vegetarian diners. The chef may even be willing to create something that isn't on the menu.

Look for a vegetable or vegetarian section on the menu
Then skip the rest of the menu. This way you will be less likely to be tempted by food you are avoiding. You can modify what you find by having them leave off the cheese or egg etc.

Get familiar with the likely problem ingredients
Thai food often has fish sauce. Mexican may use lard or use meat broth in their rice and beans. Fried rice and noodles often include egg. Indian dishes may use ghee (clarified butter) or yogurt. This way you will be prepared to request that your dishes be made without those ingredients. Then be a pest again and say "No fish sauce!"

Send it back
Even with all of that you may still get something you don't want. SEND IT BACK! You don't have to eat something you know isn't right.


I'll chalk this up as a learning experience. Usually Nana Kwaku does all the being a pest functions when we dine out. I need to remember to do a better job of it myself when he isn't around.

Have you had a "Aaak!" moment? What did you do? How do you prevent them? Leave us a comment below.

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Ama Opare
Lifestyle Coach, CEO at Opare Institute
Supporting you by bringing you flavorful and satisfying vegan and raw vegan recipes, inspiration and online training and one-on-one coaching to help LOVE YOUR VEGAN LIFE! I am an educator and revolutionary who has teamed up with my physician/dietitian husband, Nana Kwaku Opare, MD, MPH, CA, to address the growing health problems in the Afrikan/Black community by building a Nation of Black Vegetarians and Vegans.

5 Comments on “Aaak! There’s egg in this! (What to watch out for when eating out.)

EDwina Adams
09/11/2017 at 12:51 pm

Being a vegan and having lived in OKC & now TX has been an interesting challenge & educational experience. I have had more Aaarrk moments than I care to remember through the years. I would tell the wait staff that I am a vegan. Their response,”oh ok.” Clearly, most were clueless. So I had to educate the waiters. Of course, I had learned to have the order read back. I have learned to ask questions about ingredients. I also learned to ask if the wait staff understands. There are times when I sometimes forget to mention no this or no that. When I receive the dish and it’s teaming with those items I cannot eat I send it back. I am trying out a new Thai restaurant (3rd) visit. I placed the order and it came back with item I didn’t want or cannot eat, I sent the order back. Advised the waiter and the dish was recooked; I sent it back a second back. I informed the waitress please prepare this did as I requested & if you don’t I will return this dish again. Amazingly the dish was prepared as requested but I spent 45 minutes waiting. The young waiter told me they were trained a particular way. I informed him, he also needs to listen to the customer. Their may be food allergies the cook needs to know about. My final solution is to learn how to prepare dishes you like and avoid the hassle. Thanks for reading!!

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Ama Opare
09/27/2017 at 10:03 am

Edwina, making your own is the only way to be sure you are getting just what you want. We are discovering that all over again here in Tanzania. It seems MSG is in everything.

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Tabitha
08/27/2015 at 8:56 am

Neither did I about the ghee and yogurt.

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jlmaceo
08/26/2015 at 3:02 pm

Thanks Alma, we’re careful about the fish sauce; but didn’t know about the ghee or yogurt often in Indian food.

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Ama Opare
08/27/2015 at 8:22 am

Cultivate your inner pest! 🙂

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