- ಕೃಷ್ಣ ಶಾಸ್ತ್ರಿ - Krishna Shastry
- ಪ್ರಾಣಿ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳು, ಶುದ್ಧ ಸಸ್ಯಾಹಾರ, ಪರಿಸರ, ಆರೋಗ್ಯ ಇವೆಲ್ಲವನ್ನೂ ಒಳಗೊಂಡ ವೀಗನಿಸಂ ಎಂಬ ತತ್ವದಲ್ಲಿ ನಂಬಿಕೆ ಇಟ್ಟಿರುವ ಒಬ್ಬ ಸರಳ ಕನ್ನಡಿಗ ನಾನು.
ನನ್ನ ಇತರ ಆಸಕ್ತಿಗಳೆಂದರೆ ನೀತಿಶಾಸ್ತ್ರ, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ನೀತಿಸಂಹಿತೆಗಳು, ಸಾರ್ವಜನಿಕ ಆರೋಗ್ಯ, ಆವಿಷ್ಕಾರಗಳು, ವಿಜ್ಞಾನ, ಕನ್ನಡ ಭಾಷೆ, ಭಾಷಾನೀತಿಗಳು ಇತ್ಯಾದಿ.
I am a simple Kannadiga following veganism, that cares about animal rights, pure vegetarianism, environment and health.
My other interest include ethics, public healthcare, public policies, innovation, science & technology, Kannada language and linguistic policies.
Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Today afternoon I had some time and I thought it would be nice to have a lunch with my wife, somewhere close to her workplace. Most of the eating places around are non vegetarian; generally I don’t prefer them though sometimes I do visit such places. I often think – well, why do I still have such mental block about non-veg restaurants when dairy is also filled with lots of cruelty (lifelong slavery is worse than murder, I feel) and ideally I should feel same way about regular lacto-vegetarian restaurants as well. Whatever, I never ate non-veg, so I do have that mental block, I admit it.
Another problem that we usually face: so called pure vegetarian fine dining places are also quite unfriendly for vegans, because of their extensive usage of dairy products. Here is our today’s experience in Konark, Residency Road. Once again we found that it is quite unfriendly for vegans. We had forgotten finer level details that we had experienced few months back, and our memory just got refreshed today.
1) On the ground floor they don't serve South Indian thalis. On the top floor, thali serving place is not a fine dining place and other side of top floor is for buffet, which is again not good for vegans.
2) They use mixture of oil and ghee, so items like dose are also ruled out.
3) Alright, we ordered Alu-Gobhi masala and I instructed them not to use any butter, ghee or any dairy products. I also specifically warned that I am allergic to dairy. The person who took the order confidently and positively nodded his head for everything I said. For a moment I forgot that most Indians show off more knowledge and feel inferior saying no.
Finally when the item came there was cream on the top. Explanation was that 'Sir, its only little cream for garnishing'. I had no option but to reject it and make them redo it. During the entire process, joy of eating had vanished almost completely (which got totally lost when I realized that the item was also extremely spicy and tasteless otherwise).
To summarize, Konark is one of the busiest and well regarded vegetarian restaurants and they have several good aspects that I appreciate. However, it is certainly not a great place for vegans to eat. It is sad that dining out can be extremely frustrating for vegans, even in so called pure veg restaurants :-(
A general note
Sorry if this post sounds negative, but you know, sometimes we just want to have delicious and healthy vegan food without having to explain too much or ask too many questions. Once again, today I realized today that vegans don't have such luxury, and I cannot help venting out my frustration.
We cannot just generally instruct no for any and all dairy products, we have to be extremely specific about each and every item, and cannot afford to forget things like cream on the top! We have to be prepared for being fussy or weird people in front of others, unless we are ready to sacrifice our desires and order only guaranteed vegan items (and pretend for others sake that you just love that stuff). In most places, I order only items like Idli, chat, fruit salad, fruit juice, and maybe also some boiled vegetables if they have.
Another point that I have almost given up these days: Many “good” Indian restaurants (i.e. with upper middle class customers) use butter while preparing gravy for North Indian dishes, and use ghee in oggarane/tadka – this is their way of providing “superior taste” and show their “high class”. However, awareness levels of servers sometimes are so low that they cannot differentiate between oil and ghee, or they don’t bother about finer aspects regarding how chef makes the food. So, they won’t even tell us about butter-ghee ingredients, in spite of us asking – they will simply tell something on your face and you just have to believe it, that’s all. Ironically sometimes I get different answers on different days in the same restaurant. These days all I do is ask once, and if they say `No, we use only oil’, that’s it, I don’t try to dig further deep.
In some cases servers are knowledgeable about such usage of butter and ghee, and they do say it openly (and with pride!) – a classic example is Maiya’s in Jayanagara 4th Block – few months back I visited that place, I was hungry and tired, but had to come out after knowing that they use ghee everywhere, even for sambar’s oggarane (tadka). I was glad that at least they knew it and told me the truth. It is just sad and ironical that vegans cannot enjoy a good meal in such vegetarian fine dining places.
Maybe Bengaluru vegans should team up and start educating these kinds of places about veganism, then we can at least hope for better days ahead.