I’m not vegetarian, but I am allergic to fish sauce. This may affect the dining experiences of vegans and vegetarians. My adventure took place in a highly-rated Thai restaurant in San Francisco this year.
There was a menu item that sounded great. It had an asterisk that meant “can be made vegetarian.” My immediate thought was hooray, they can make it without fish sauce so that I can eat it! After all, (real) vegetarians won’t want fish sauce in their food.
I asked if they can make it without fish sauce. No, they can’t. The fish sauce is already in the sauce.
Then how do you make it vegetarian?????
She told me they replace the animal protein in the dish with tofu. I was a bit surprised.
“You’re serving fish sauce to vegetarians?!?!?!”
She shrugged and walked away.
If not eating animal protein is important to you, check on the fish sauce, shrimp paste, and other “ingredients” that are made from the animal kingdom.
Some restaurants think that they can still serve you fish sauce or shrimp paste and call it vegetarian. I think my vegetarian and vegan friends would DISAGREE strongly.
Bonus: If you didn’t use certified gluten free oats in your oatmeal cookie, your cookie isn’t gluten free. If you didn’t use wheat-free soy sauce, it’s not gluten free. I may not notice but people with serious health conditions WILL notice… and they will not be grateful for your loose definitions.