It’s summertime and New York City is brimming with incredible restaurants, food trucks and stands. People are eating and cooking up delicious looking food left and right and the scents are flowing through the streets. With veganism on the rise, there are more vegetarian and vegan options in restaurants than ever before, however as we still make up only around 1% of the population, vegans aren’t always accommodated on the menu. Here are a few tips to taking advantage of New York’s booming food and restaurant scene while keeping your vegan agenda in check.
- Look Up Restaurants Beforehand- Yelp
Yelp is a great tool for finding specific kinds of restaurants in your area. Go ahead and type ‘Vegan Restaurant’ in the search menu and scroll away. Looking for Vegan Sushi? Gluten Free, Vegan Pizza? Type it in and see what comes up. Dining with a gaggle of friends? Looking for take out? 3 am vegan cravings? Using the Yelp ‘filters’ option allows you to specify exactly what you’re looking for.
- The Vegan Version of Yelp- HappyCow
Take it a step further and start utilizing HappyCow.com. This application is like yelp, but specifically for vegan and vegetarians. It also has a blog with lifestyle posts, recipes and a forum for the vegan community. Use it in any city, state our country for help finding delicious, animal friendly places to eat when you’re at home, or on vacation.
- Get Creative, Stay Flexible
Even if you do all the research in the world, sometimes you’re just along for the ride and find yourself at a steakhouse as the only vegan at the table. Not to worry- you can still enjoy a slew of sides, salads, or grains. Ask for a vegetarian menu if they have one, or be creative and bold in your dish pairings. Ask to switch out chicken for mushrooms in a pasta dish, or ask for a side of veggies and rice if it comes down to it. Let your waiter know you don’t eat animal products and ask for suggestions. Your waiter may give you the side-eye, but in my experience, restaurants work hard to accommodate everyone at the table. Leave a nice tip, and be sure to say your thank yous.
- Stock up with Snacks and Remember Why You’re Vegan
There will probably be an instance where there’s absolutely nothing on the menu you can eat. Don’t sweat it. I always keep a few snacks on hand for when I’m deliriously hungry and far from my house or any vegan friendly food. Keep some nuts and dried fruit, and throw an apple in your bag for these circumstances. Remind yourself why you eat a vegan diet. Whether it’s for your personal health, animal cruelty, environmentalism or a combination of all three, you’ve made a commitment that will have lasting and positive effects on you and the world around you.
Cheers to that.