Community: Forum: Vegetarian Discussion

Vegan / Vegetarian Discussion - All Things Veg*n Forum

Is it because I live in a small South Pacific country that this is a problem?
I look at the menu if I can before dining out and find a few options between the regular menu and sides. Then off I go.
Well, tonight I had another average experience. I ordered the roast vege salad and asked for the feta and aioli to be left off, and could I have them replaced with kidney beans that were already on the menu with the nachos. The chef asked if I had extreme dairy allergies, which I said no, I was vegan. He said he could take the feta and aioli off, but not replace them with beans or anything else. My salad was nice, although dry because they didn't put ANY dressing on it!!! Even though the green salad I ordered for my starter had vinaigrette.
I didn't think a replacement was that difficult, and I was still charged the full price. I was dining with a group, so didn't want to make a big deal.
What's other peoples experiences been like regarding replacements?
It wasn't cheap and cheerful either!

Responses (9)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by ahimsa32fa at 02/11/14 06:52:19

    I've had the same kind of experience many times.

    Often, the waitress and even the chef, have never heard of "vegan". Tells you a lot about the schools where you pay to learn how to prepare unhealthy foods.

    A few years ago, I asked a waitress if they had any meatless dinners, and of course, she responded, "Yes, we have chicken, shrimp and fish!" When I asked if they served any fresh vegetables, she replied, "Oh yes, fresh from the can!"

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AllyG at 02/11/14 11:16:16

    Thanks for your reply. My husband and I laughed over your meatless meal suggestions! We ordered a vege stir fry in Malaysia and it came with chicken. When we took it back and said "no meat" she said that chicken wasn't meat! I've also been offered a "vegan side" of potatoes cooked in duck fat.

    I try to kindly educate without being preachy or condescending. But I will follow up our latest dining experience with an informative email to the restaurant. As my husband says, our vegan money is the same as everyone else's!

    I agree, that chef schools and hospitality needs a bit more educating. Maybe I will make this one of my next projects.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by The Hammer at 02/12/14 04:15:19

    something must went wrong because my reply wasn't posted yesterday, maybe it was censored..LOL.

    I have to side with the chef cook on this one. Asking to leave out one ingredient is one thing but to ask for a complete make over of a dish is a different thing. (Basically you are saying to the cook, "i don't like your food the way you prepare , do it the way i want)
    Also, it takes time to make a special dish for a customer. The few beans that he leaves out means financially nothing. But the time it takes to listen to your wishes and change a dish many minutes ? 10 ? 20 ? That extra time is probably more worth than the whole price of your dish.
    If you really want to make sure you get a dish completely to you wishes, isn't it better to contact the restaurant before you go so they can make it when there are no much other customers ? (According to you you were with a group so the cook must have been VERY busy..)

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AllyG at 02/12/14 12:54:41

    Yes, fair enough comment. It was a Tuesday night, the restaurant wasn't busy, it was a small group, and I wasn't asking for anything that wasn't already on the menu (just put kidney beans on top of the salad) if I was expecting a side of beans prepared with no dairy etc, not on the menu... I think that would be unreasonable. I was trying to ask politely for protein to be added to my salad. The salad cost $27.00 so the cost of the feta & aioli wouldn't be big... And adding beans wouldn't be big either.
    On the positive we dined out again last night and the chef did everything gluten free and vegan so I didn't feel like a dining pariah.
    Whenever I dine out and know for sure where I'll be eating I do ask ahead if there is anything on the menu I can eat. I've had some fantastic dishes, and some terrible experiences, as most people would.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by The Hammer at 02/13/14 04:34:59

    holy co !! a salad of 27 us$ !!Now i definitely am on YOUR side, for that money you deserve a good treatment and if necessary some special adaptions. :-).

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by Mike Weinberg at 02/13/14 11:21:41

    To ensure a cruelty-free meal, I hand the waiter or chef a V-Card. Here's the free link to V-Cards in over 70 languages that you can download to your computer or smartphone:

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AllyG at 02/13/14 12:42:46

    Lol. $27NZ - but still a higher end price for a main course salad. NZ$ are about 1.20 to the US$ so about $25.

    I was just annoyed that I thought I was well prepared, I didn't think I was asking too much of the chef with my request.

    Thanks for everyone's comments. I've got over it now and moved on. Lol. With my $27 salad.

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AndyT at 03/26/14 01:51:05

    Hello Ally,

    interesting to hear your comments - so that was in NZ, I understand, the home country of sheep dairy farming :-)

    I have been living in Malaysia for about 6 months now, and I actually find it very easy here to get chefs (hmm, maybe "cooks" or "hawkers") to veganize my meals ... I simply tell them "Please, I do not want my noodles with chicken or fish, I want them just with vegetables ... and please also do not add egg, anchovies, fish sauce or shrimp paste either, just vegetables!!!"

    That usually works fine, but again, I typically do not have to deal with high-class chefs who see the wish to change their creations as an assault on their artfulness, but with cooks and restaurant owners.

    Best regards,

  • Report Abuse

    Posted by AllyG at 08/02/14 21:09:15

    Lol. Andy's, it was the the food court at One Utama in Petaling Jaya, that I ordered the vege stir fry and it came with chicken! I asked my Malay daughter in law to talk to the chef too - we still all talk about our vegan chicken dinner.

    My kiwi son, Malay daughter in law and my Malay-kiwi grandson live in KL. I love love love the vegetarian restaurants. I'm not so keen on the hot weather!

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