Tips on dining out as vegan

Tips on dining as out as vegan, this is another question I get asked a lot. Contrary to what most people think, we don’t get to prep-meal all the time (read my post Why Vegan). While I feel comfortable making or cooking our own food at home, sometimes we can’t help but eat out. I have to tell you, Hawai’i is not yet vegan-friendly as far as restaurant choices go unlike New York, Portland or even LA. Yes, vegetables and fruits abound here albeit exorbitantly-priced, unfortunately I can only count in my fingers full vegan restaurants here. Where I live on the west side, there is none, sad isn’t it? So here are some practical tips you can follow when you are out and about:

Tips on dining out as vegan

7 Tips on dining out as vegan

1. Use Yelp or Happy Cow. Yelp is free for consumers to use and read reviews while Happy Cow is an app that you have to pay for $3.99. Happy Cow is very helpful if you travel a lot because it will tell you which nearby restaurants or stores are full vegan or offer vegan options.

2. Call the restaurant ahead or check the menu online to save you trip.

3. Request for vegan options or guide the waiter as you order. For example at California Pizza Kitchen, you can request to have the meat and cheese taken out when ordering salad or sandwich.

Tips dining out as vegan

4. Request for substitutes. For example in a Thai restaurant I recently dined in, I asked to replace meat with tofu and vegetables for green curry (of course this is making sure that they use non-animal ingredients in their seasonings).

5. Skip buffet and opt for sit-down menu. There is really nothing much you can do with buffet so your safer option is to order from the menu.

6. Bring vegan snacks or food you can eat if all else fails. Bananas, grapes, carrot or celery sticks, bread. protein bars, at least you know what you’re feeding your body (read accidentally vegan)

Tips on eating out as vegan

7. Explore fast food. While not my top of mind when it comes to vegan places but you’d be surprised that some do offer vegan options, of course very limited to say the least. Jack in the Box has salad, just request for balsamic dressing. Wendy’s is the same, request to have cheese taken out. Taco Bell has veggie bowl, replace sour cream with guacamole or pico de gallo. Domino’s offers vegan cheese now.

Tips dining out as vegan

Have fun! You’re doing your health and the animals a huge favor by embracing a vegan lifestyle so don’t allow the inadequacy of the outside world disrupt your inner harmony. It’s catching up as more and more people now are becoming aware of the amazing benefits of vegan diet.

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29 thoughts on “7 Tips On Dining Out As Vegan

  • While I’m not vegan, this was a very interesting read. I had no idea Domino’s has vegan cheese! It’s also shocking to me that Hawaii is not very vegan friendly. I would assume that living on an island with an abundance of naturally grown crops, eating establishments would be more vegan friendly!

  • I know pork is a big part of Hawaiian culture but I had no idea they weren’t very vegan friendly. I happen to live close to one of the vegan cities you mentioned (Portland), so it’s really commonplace here.

  • I eat vegan when I’m out fairly often as I can’t do dairy. These are great tips!

  • I wish I wasn’t allergic to tofu. I miss eating it!

  • Ehmkay nails

    I’m so lucky to be in NYC. I wish I could show you a pic of my sandwich the other day. We have lots of vegan choices but I STILL struggle at places. I want to go to Hawaii though. I’m sure I’ll find something!

    • thefabzilla

      You’re lucky you have so many options! Most of the vegan options here although still limited are in downtown. Full vegan restaurants are very rare, I have only been to one and didn’t like the way the food was cooked. When are you going to Hawaii?!!! That’s exciting

  • Great tips for those who wish to go vegan

  • Not vegan but I notice so many more dishes at restaurants that are lately. Some places are definitely better than others of course. CPK seems like it would be easy for vegans and vegetarians.

  • My favorite Thai restaurant in town is very nice about vegan substitutions. They even ask if you would prefer the vegan version of the dish when you order.

  • My Nail Polish Obsession

    I’m very surprised Hawaii doesn’t have more vegan options. As a state that really touts living off the land and things produced there it seems strange.

  • I’m allergic to tofu, well soy in general, and gluten. It’s like a mine field to navigate a restaurant, but it can be done, with your tips. Restaurants are getting more used to the different types of eating lifestyles we have now. In a lot of places, they will provide a vegan or allergy free menu upon asking. Let’s hope Hawaii catches up with that soon – i’m sure the chain restaurants already have, but in Kapolei, I’m sure it will be harder to find those specific menus.

    • thefabzilla

      Except for Down to Earth in Kapolei where I shop and buy takeout sometimes, there’s no vegan restaurant here. Inside Koolina, you can request for substitute but for the most part, the concept of vegan to these restaurants are limited to salads, sad isn’t it

  • 25 Sweetpeas

    I would imagine it would be hard anywhere! I would think Hawaii would be tho, I’m not sure why but it’s interesting that it’s not! For future reference I do think a lot of the FL cities are friendly!

    • thefabzilla

      Surprisingly yes although Hawaii is supposed to belong to top states with most vegans. I tell you, vegan option in non-vegan restaurants are so limited. Where I live, except for one vegan/vegetarian store, there’s no place to dine

  • I’m surprised Hawaii isn’t very vegan friendly; even my small southern town has a lot of vegan restaurants.

    • thefabzilla

      Yes, it’s a surprise too considering that Hawaii is listed as one of the states with the most vegans (which I also question). But who knows, businesses here will take notice

  • Yvette

    It’s great to see how many restaurants have substitutes and vegan options!

    • thefabzilla

      Yes, when I first went plant-based over a decade ago, eating healthy is like “alien” to most haha

  • This article has helped many of us take the best out of many fast food places .thanks.
    Jack in the box r wendy I m going to try! cheers

  • Jen Walker

    I imagine traveling and trying to eat out in smaller towns can be difficult if you’re vegan. At least fast food places can be found most laces so there is an option, even if it wouldn’t be a top choice.

    • thefabzilla

      Happy cow is a useful app. and Yes, better to be prepared with some snacks like nuts and fruits if all else fails

  • Lacquerexpression

    These are all great suggestions!

  • Leslie

    Great tips! I’ll have to check out that Happy Cow app. It’s great to see that more restaurants are offering more vegan options as compared to a few years ago.

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