How to eat out when eating is tricky

2 October, 2020

Tips for pleasing all the gang

Food intolerances and dietary preferences can sometimes make it challenging to eat out with a group. If someone in your gang has particular needs, you need to know which of your local restaurants can accommodate you so everyone can have a good time. The last thing anyone wants is for their friends to have a reaction that causes pain or discomfort after they’ve shared a meal.

Whether you’re gluten-intolerant, low FODMAP, paleo, keto, vegetarian or vegan, there’s some basic principles you can apply when eating out to keep tummies feeling full and happy, without triggering an allergic reaction or digestive upset.

Tips for eating out

Chefs and wait staff have become more sensitive to their customers’ dietary requirements and many restaurants indicate on their menus the dishes which are gluten free, vegetarian or vegan, as a matter of course. However, eating out can still be a challenge, especially when you first start eating in a new way, for example a paleo or keto diet. Most menus have options for proteins and vegetables that can be served without the ‘extras’ that you cannot eat.

Before you head out, there are some things you can do to make sure the restaurant can accommodate you.

  1. Check out the menu of the restaurant you’re going to and see what types of dishes are available.
  2. Call ahead. It’s always worth confirming that the restaurant can cater to your request. Questions to ask can include finding out what flours might be used in sauces or seasonings, or finding out if there is a separate fryer for gluten-free foods.
  3. Make sure you are clear when ordering your meal at the restaurant on the day.
  4. If possible, try not to eat at the busiest time of the evening. The more the kitchen staff are rushing, the more likely it is that mistakes will be made.
  5. Be prepared to treat yourself if you do get exposed to a trigger food. Have your EpiPen or medication with you.

Vegan and vegetarian friendly restaurants in Chatswood

Do you love to slurp fresh noodles swimming in sauces and spicy soups? The noodles are made onsite at Chang’an Noodles and the restaurant happily caters to the vegan and vegetarian in every crowd. Just make sure you explain your requirements and the lovely crew will look after you. Malatang Funhouse also makes it easy for vegetarians. This self-choice noodle bar allows you to fill your dish with the ingredients you want to eat (there’s meat, seafood and vegetables), then hand it over to the chefs to heat and mix with your choice of soup. Or head to General Chao and try their wok fried cauliflower in black bean sauce, delish!

Of course, most of the restaurants around Chatswood have plenty of options to suit. Just watch out for things like fish sauce and shrimp paste!