E is for Ethnic Food

Tuesday, October 6, 2009


On Saturday night Joey came and met me after the workshop to grab some dinner and do a little Nuit Blanche-ing. It started raining and we were both hungry so we needed to decide on a restaurant fairly quickly. We were on Queen West, so we decided to check out the succession of Indian buffets around McCaul. SANY2323None of them had buffet for supper, so we just chose one and I figured I would have some aloo gobi and rice and be a happy vegan gal.

Once seated, I noticed the menu had a vegetarian platter, but didn’t specify which dishes came with it. I asked our waiter and he mentioned palak paneer, which I knew had dairy. I asked if I could substitute it for something without dairy, to which he replied he could make the whole thing dairy-free. Amazing!

SANY2322 When it arrived at the table he walked me through the dishes and told me where dairy had been removed. I don’t remember what everything was called but there was a dairy-free palak paneer, chana masala, a veggie curry, salad and rice – so good!

I’ve noticed that I have so many more options when we visit an ethnic restaurant. I find a lot more options on the menu and I have found the servers to be incredibly accommodating of my needs and requests. I also love the naturally gluten free options I encounter like corn tortillas in Mexican/Latin American restaurants and injera made with teff in Ethiopian restaurants.

I also adore the Persian influence at Camros Organic Eatery. SANY2255 Love the cinnamon and saffron that they use (along with the phenomenal organic produce)

If you’re eating in an ethnic restaurant and don’t know everything a dish contains, just ask! Usually the server will know, or at least be able to ask someone who does know. And if they can’t give you a clear explanation and you want to be on the safe side, choose something else. I try to stick with items that I am either familiar with or recognizable, simple ingredients (veggies, whole grains, nuts, spices) rather than ones that have a long list of components. It makes it easier for me to determine whether or not I can eat it as well as estimate on its Points value.

It was wonderful to see the International round up on the Vegan MoFo blog yesterday. So many amazing options beyond the typical North American grub.

What’s your favourite ethnic fare? Is there any type of cuisine that you’re dying to try? Do you find as many, less or more options that fit your dietary needs (vegan, gluten free, Weight Watchers friendly) at ethnic restaurants?

E is also for Eric and this picture is so cute I couldn’t help but share!

SANY2278I love you, monkey

Only a few more days to enter my tea giveaway! Don’t forget that you can follow me on Twitter and/or tweet for another entry.


LizNoVeggieGirl said...

My favorites = Indian, Thai, Italian, and Japanese.

Lauren said...

Yum! I love Indian food! I've only had it at the Whole Foods salad bar though, because my husband hates the stuff! Channa Masala is my favorite! YUM!

Alison said...

Indian food is definitely one of my favorites - we are curry fanatics here. I didn't eat Indian food until my husband (then boyfriend) lived had roommates from India. The smell of curry always takes me back to those days.

Nicci said...

i have yet to try Indian and would love to find a neat restaurant around my area.

Linz said...

Mmmm, yes. I too, as a lacto-ovo vegetarian, find much success at Ethnic restaurants.

But what the heck do they use for non-dairy paneer?!?!?!?!?!?

Ashley Gibson said...

Joey *thought* he didn't like indian food until I made him try it. There's so much variety AND dipping -- what's not to love??

It was a palak-free paneer - basically pureed spinach. It was delish!

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