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all regional travel notes by: condekedar

- India, 2008/05/09
Subject: Easy tips to being vegan in India
I lived in India for over a year and did not have too difficult a time being vegan there. Here are key points: 1) Almost all Indian desserts will have some form of dairy in them. Jalebis, an orange-colored, fried sweet dough, is the only naturally vegan Indian dessert that I know of. 2) The vast majority of South Indian food is naturally vegan; items with butter or ghee are usually labeled as such on menus, because they're more expensive to make at restaurants and are priced accordingly. 3) Indo-Chinese dishes, often times called just called "Chinese" on menus, are always vegan, such as the ubiquitous veg. manchurian. 4) Street food is a mixed-bag. Some items you can tell are obviously vegan or lacto, but some are not as straight-forward. Pav Bhaji (dinner rolls eaten with a stew of tomatoes and vegetables) is usually made with butter on big skillets. Vada Pav (popular in Bombay and Pune), a potato dumpling in-between a roll, is vegan. 5) North Indian food is the most difficult of all. Typically, it's made with some type of dairy. Dal Makhani/tadka (cream or ghee), tikka vegetables (yogurt), vegetable korma (yogurt/cream), jalfrezi (cream), and various curries all use cream or yogurt. Simpler North Indian dishes, such as aloo gobi (potatoes and cauliflower), are more likely to be vegan, or can be made vegan more easily. The best thing you can do is specify "no yogurt, cream, butter, ghee or milk." Tell them that VEGETABLE oil is okay, though. 6) Naturally vegan Indian breads are usually rotis, puris and poolis; no one will put ghee or butter on them either. Naan is never vegan (yogurt is used in the mixing preparation). Parathas can sometimes be vegan, sometimes not. 6) Soy milk is becoming more easily available in upscale groceries, and even mid-range groceries, in mid-to-large sized cities. 7) In some cities, such as Pune and Nagpur, one can find locally-made tofu and soy milk at numerous stores. 8) Nutrela is a widely-available brand that makes "soya chunks", which are dried pieces of soy that become spongy and meaty in warm water, like texturized vegetable protein or gluten strips. If you can't find tofu, these are a good substitute. 9) Some chain coffee stores like Cafe Coffee Day, are starting to incorporate soy onto their menus. 10) When in doubt, just ask questions! If the waiter doesn't understand you, then try to find another patron who can explain your dietary needs in the local language.

- Minneapolis, 2008/02/27
Subject: Vegan items in most cafes
Most cafes in the Twin Cities area will have at least one or two vegan baked goods, but they quickly run out of stock. Also, the Landmark Theatres movie group offers vegan cookies and tea in the lobby.

- Minneapolis, 2008/01/02
Subject: Muddy Paws Vegan Cheesecake
Muddy Paws Cafe, formerly located on Hennepin Ave in Uptown, now is focusing on its cheesecake business and has closed its retail site. However, you can still buy cheesecakes from them (at least a dozen vegan options) at their new St. Louis Park location. See their website www.muddypawscheesecake.com

- Minnesota, 2007/12/05
Subject: Vegan options in Minneapolis
Aside from the restaurants listed, there are a number of Vietnamese restaurants on Nicollet Avenue S., between 24th St. and 29th St., all of which offers vegan options. Try Jasmine Deli, at 2532 Nicollet Ave S, which is a small, but award-winning place with simple, cheap dishes and sandwiches. Closed Monday. Phone: 612-870-4700

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