Because vegetarians and vegans live in a world of constant worry over what they'll be able to eat next, we asked the BuzzFeed Community for their stories about dining out while vegetarian.
Their stories did not disappoint:
"At my wedding reception my dad and brother cooked the dinner, my dad is an amazing cook and owns a chain of cafes, so this is normal stuff for him. We had a pretty set menu that he came up with that had a vegetarian option.
Day of, I go up to the bar where they are calling up orders and my dad hands me a plate of rice and was like “oh yeah, well, that’s all I made vegetarian” I’m fine with it because after 10 years my dad still thinks it’s a phase.
Then my brother grabs the plate and said, “he cooked all the rice with chicken broth” so I go to the freezer, heat up a veggie patty and ate it alone by itself hahaha. Saddest meal ever, no bread, no condiments, nothing."
"Our school had veggie burgers, but they just took hamburgers and added lettuce and tomato."
"We went out for dinner for Mother’s Day with my boyfriend’s family a couple of months after I went vegan. After initially refusing to serve up a vegan option at all, I asked the restaurant for their lentil and butternut squash salad without the feta that it mentioned on the menu. What I was served was a mound of cold, plain lentils (from a tin I think), cold and crunchy butternut squash, and salad leaves from a bag. I couldn’t have a starter or dessert but we still split the bill evenly and so I had to pay £27 for a meal I couldn’t stomach..."
"I'm vegan, and I went to a popular pizza restaurant with my family and they had a singular vegan option, marked with a "vegan" and certified by the chef to be made vegan. I was thrilled, as I was worried that the pizza restaurant wouldn't have anything for me.
So I ordered the hummus platter, relaxed, and excitedly began digging in once it arrived at the table. A few minutes later I came across some concerning chunks in my hummus and pointed them out to the waitress. She paled and took it back to the kitchen suddenly. Slightly alarmed, I waited.
Next thing I knew, the chef was in front of me, apologizing profusely. It turns out those chunks were chicken that they had been sprinkling on top of some salads they were making at the same time that they were getting my hummus tray together. They had spilled chicken into my hummus. Literally spilled chicken pieces into the hummus. The one vegan dish they offered. Chicken. Chunks."
"It was my 10th birthday party and we were at an amusement park to celebrate. My parents had already told them that I was vegetarian and couldn't have meat, and they said they had vegetarian options. So come lunch time, all 20 of us kids are gathered around a table and they start bringing out hot dogs. Now, I'm not worried because they said they could cater for vegetarians so I know they're bringing me out something nice. They brought me a hot dog bun. With nothing on it except ketchup. At my own 10th birthday party. There's even a photo of me posing with the bun, staring at the camera in defeat."
"The vegetarian “lasagna” I was served. The meat lasagna had noodles and layers... I was expecting the same thing just with vegetables and without meat. NOPE! I got a literal stack of over cooked zucchini, eggplant, and squash. Needless to say, veggie stack has not been reordered."
"The scene: camp robber. The victims: two unsuspecting vegetarians. The motive: spreading greasy belly fat to the innocent and uninfected.
We don’t usually order desert, but we went to a restaurant that didn’t have many vegetarian options, so we were still hungry. We ordered a chocolate chip bread pudding. A few bites in, we couldn’t shake the feeling that it was weirdly salty and a bit crunchy. We more closely inspected the chocolate sauce drizzled on there and the bread itself, and we found tiny, browned specs of something awful. The unmistakable presence of bacon bits.
After bringing their egregious crimes to their attention, the waitress fessed up to everything: “Of course we put bacon in there!” I remember her confession as if it were yesterday."
"My fiancé and I had recently decided to become vegan and we went back to his hometown for Thanksgiving. No one in his family eats vegetables so I decided to prepare some of our own dishes beforehand so we would at least have something to eat. The one thing that we could actually eat at the dinner was the bread which I was looking forward to.
After a long day of cooking and driving we sat down to eat and I took a bite of the roll only to notice it was slathered in butter. His aunt decided to individually butter all of the rolls beforehand even though we mentioned that we don't eat it anymore. I was so frustrated I wanted to cry. Then everyone made fun of my food."
"I was on vacation with my family in an upscale organic farm community. My mom, dad, and I are all vegans, and we were with the rest of our family, who wanted to eat breakfast at our hotel. We sat down at the table and we asked the server if they had anything vegan. They said yes and returned, bringing us each a bowl of mushrooms and sprouts. That was supposed to be our breakfast. I didn’t touch it."
"I was at the beginning of a split with my soon to be ex-husband and feeling pretty bummed. My parents took to me to dinner to cheer me up. They picked this "cute little place" they liked that ended being a dinner that specialized in down home cooking. AKA the only thing on the entire menu I could get was green beans. Order comes out... and there's bacon in it. Whyyyy?"
"I was once on a 9-hour transatlantic flight that didn’t offer a vegan menu option. I figured it’s going to be okay — they sure must serve at least some plain rice or bread. Turns out, the only vegan thing in the lunch box was a TANGERINE. Luckily I sat with some very kind people who sacrificed their tangerines to me. So I ended up not hungry, but with a terrible allergic rash after eating nothing but citruses for 9 hours."
"In high school they were serving pulled pork sandwiches and didn't prepare a vegetarian option for me, so the lunch lady just gave me a bun with some lettuce on it. After that I quit the lunch program and just started bringing my own lunches. Still the wildest thing though?"
"One time I was lunching at a local restaurant and ordered the vegetarian soup. When it was served, I noticed something that looked a lot like meat floating around in my soup, so I asked the waiter. Turns out this was chicken in my vegetarian soup, but no worries, because the waiter told me: 'Chicken isn't really meat, because it's a bird.' Seriously?"
"A few months after becoming vegan, I was craving pizza in the worst way. Luckily, a local pizza shop had a vegan option. I was there with another friend who wanted something slightly different so we ordered one half pizza classic vegan and the other half pizza with different toppings. I asked if they could make sure the entire pie was vegan... turns out there was definitely meat sauce on it. Yup."
"I was in a business dinner in a fancy restaurant with some clients and my boss. There were no vegetarian options so I decided to go for the pasta and ask it to be served without the beef... and the waiter refused. I told him that he could charge the full price, I just didn't want the beef... he said no. Everybody was staring at us, so I kindly told the server I was vegetarian and didn't want the meat. HE STILL SAID NO. He kept saying he had to bring me the meat. I even told him he could keep it and eat it in the kitchen. At the end, he brought the meat in another plate and nobody ate it."
"This happened to one of my vegan friends when we were on an acting job together. The catering was provided for and most days had been fine, but one day for lunch they gave her two lettuce leafs and two cherry tomatoes cut in half. It was a long day and you needed a lot of energy so we told her to go and ask for more food. The girl at the till already had a reputation for being a little unpleasant. When my friend explained she was a vegan, not a rabbit, the girl offered her a ham sandwich. When my friend repeated she was a vegan, she went 'What about a cheese one?'"
"I always bought my lunch at school when I was a little kid. It was always super mushy and gross-smelling and tasted awful (but all public school food is tbh) but one day they had a restaurant cater a “healthy, balanced meal” for the kids. As a vegetarian, my mom called the school and asked if they had anything for me. The principal assured her that there would be a special dish just for people with special dietary needs. I was super excited to eat food that wasn’t crap for once.
When I got up to the counter, I saw the plate and my heart sank. For the non-vegetarian kids there was pot roast served on a bed of quinoa, and a Caesar salad with romaine on the side. For the vegetarian kids they had a puny side salad made of iceberg lettuce, a few cherry tomatoes and carrot slices, and one crouton on top with bleu cheese dressing. All of the kids who couldn’t eat the meat were disgusted by the “balanced meal” and refused to eat it, and I was hungry until I got home and wolfed down some Morning Star “chicken nuggets” and finally got some decent food."
"On a volleyball tourney trip my team decided to go to a casino’s buffet for dinner since we had such a large group of teenage girls. Goin into it as a vegan I knew that there wouldn’t be much for me but I thought they would have a salad bar or something. We get there and the salad bar is romaine lettuce and caesar dressing. When I asked one of the waiters to see if they could find me anything vegan, I waited for 10 minutes before one of the cooks comes and out and proceeds to point to the veggie dishes which are doused in butter. When I tell him I don’t eat dairy, he points to a meat dish without dairy. I proceed to ask if I could just get some plain steamed veggies and rice or pasta, he says he can do that for me. I go back to my table and when I get my food, it is a smelly pile of half rotten cauliflower. It was great. That night in the hotel I ate some peanut butter and called it a night."
"My extended family is not great with dealing with vegetarians. With the three weddings I went to on that side of family, two gave me mashed potatoes to eat and one gave me a roll. Just recently they had a baby shower and asked me about my diet preferences so I assumed they would put in an effort this time. They just made a bowl of quinoa, that was it. Everyone else got pasta wraps and meatballs. I should just eat beforehand at this point."
"One is that I once ate soma yuca fritas at my local Mexican restaurant who someone told me were vegetarian. I ended up throwing up all night. Turns out they were fried in beef tallow. Moral: always ask what things are fried in. Uplifting side: they are delicious and now fried in canola oil!
Second, I just went to a banquet and the only vegetarian options included mushrooms. I am terrified of mushrooms. I ate bread and cake for dinner."
"Once, my dad was making a salad and decided to go all out with bacon bits on top (I am pescatarian, but the rest of my family are carnivores). However, he accidentally added it to my salad. SO! After one horrifying bite, my face went sour and my dad asked me what was wrong. Then, his argument was, “It’s probably not even real bacon.” He fished the bacon container out of the recycling and to his dismay, in bold letters, the package stated, “MADE WITH REAL BACON!” In the end, I ended up having a frozen bean burrito and my dad had 2 salads."
"I was invited to a Military Ball and I was told there would be a vegan option. I guess 4 cheese lasagna is vegan in their mind. I survived off of a plate of 5 cold green beans and Tic-Tacs."
"I ordered gnocchi with red sauce at a local Italian restaurant. Before the order was placed I made sure to ask if the sauce had meat, to which the waitress happily replied that it had none. The food arrives, and I’m starving so I just grab a forkful. A couple chews in I realize that the sauce is absolutely infested with beef. I call the waitress back and tell her there’s meat in the sauce, she just says “oh yeah well there’s a little beef”. I hadn’t eaten any form of meat or meat products in 3 years and I vomited afterwards."
"One time, my sister and I were playing the “what’s in your mouth challenge”. My sister — being the lovely person she is — put a huge piece of roast beef in my mouth. I had been a vegetarian for 3 years at this time. I threw up moments after I realized what it was and that year she gave me a really good birthday present."
"MULTIPLE times in my life i've been at parties where there's a vegetarian option which, I really appreciate. But what I DON'T appreciate is when the meat eaters decide that the vegetarian choice looks better and take it all before I get any...most frustrating moment ever. I don't think they understand that if you've been vegetarian for a long time, you can't eat meat or you'll get sick!"
Some entries have been edited for length or clarity.