Thursday, 8 November 2012

A vegan walks into a French restaurant...

And I'm afraid there's not much of a punchline.

I went vegan just over five years ago. One of the main reasons for that was the vegetarian options in French restaurants (read: 'restaurants in France serving French food', not 'restaurants in France'). The vegetarian diner has, typically, a couple of options. They could have a salad with cheese: salade de chèvre chaud, salade fromagère, that kind of thing. Or they could have an omelette with cheese or mushrooms or nothing in the middle.

Then I got to thinking: this cheese, these eggs, these are not from happy animals. Why would I order and eat them, since I'm vegetarian in order to stop animals suffering so much? A bit of research, a bit of thinking, and the only option was to go vegan. I had to get away from battery hen eggs and industrially raised cow cheeses.

Since then, I've been doing a fairly good job of avoiding French restaurants. The vegan options there are:

1) Chips
2) Green salad
3) Chips and green salad

You do find the occasional bistrot or resto that does a vegetable-heavy salad which you can ask to be made without the hard-boiled eggs or, say, emmental. It may arrive with or without them.

The solution? Don't eat in French restaurants. France is, slowly, coming around to the idea that maybe there are people in other countries who eat good food too. In Paris, there's a wealth of delicious, non-French food to discover. It's slowly making its way to the provinces.

Screw the French and their chips and lettuce. Try eating here instead:

Roast peppers with garlic and olive oil, then stuffed aubergine at the Turkish:

Vegetarian spread at the Ethiopian:

The best falafel you could wish for (yeah, it photographs badly):

Lemongrass 'chicken' or crunchy nems at the pan-Asian place:

Pizza with no cheese from many an Italian place (check the crust ingredients before ordering):

These are just the tip of the iceberg. You'll find delicious North African, Indian, Colombian, Japanese food and so much more in Paris. Be adventurous!

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  1. Hello, I read your justification for becoming vegan and I went through a similar process last year.

    I enjoy the change very much and wish I could encourage more people to go vegetarian or vegan. I think if more people follow this type of diet more restaurants will prepare veg meals for their menus.

  2. Hi Colin,

    I'm glad you're enjoying being vegan too! You're right that more demand = more supply. I think it's worth asking about vegan options in restaurants just so they know that the demand is there!



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