Vegetarian ‘options’, fish sauce and eating out

When I became vegetarian in 1992, what did I think being veggie in 2015 would be like?

Well I guess I hoped it would’ve moved on more than it has, particularly in regard to eating out.

Restaurants and fish sauce

Over Christmas I ate out a few times. Unfortunately, some restaurants still let their customers down with extremely limited choices. For example, the Asian food chain Banana Tree. Now, you’d think that Asian cuisine is one of the most veggie-friendly in the world right? Well, not at Banana Tree!

On the surface a lot of their meals look veggie, however, they have a ‘vf’ symbol next to them which means they contain fish sauce. In fact, so many of their ‘vegetarian’ meals contained fish sauce, there were in fact only two meals on the entire menu that were actually veggie! Pretty poor in 2015.

The vegetarian symbol

The vegetarian symbol

Another Thai restaurant I went to in Hove also had a lot of fish sauce in the menu. They were however happy to cook it without, as all their food was cooked from scratch. But if I had not asked I would’ve inadvertently eaten the fish sauce, bleurgh!

Ask before you order

My advice is:

  • Always ask before you order. Assume nothing!
  • Look at the key on the menu to find out what ‘v’, ‘vf’ or ‘vg’ mean.
  • If eating in Thai, Chinese, Malaysian, Vietnamese restaurants always check about fish sauce.

Their definition of vegetarian might not away match yours!


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