The initial success with getting vegan food seems to have been beginners luck, I haven’t done so great lately. Every time that I’ve seen the actual food or a picture of it, I’ve succeeded, but every time I’ve only had a menu and a waiter to consult, I’ve failed. Twice I got stuff with egg in it because I only asked for a vegetable dish (素菜). Today, I really confirmed that what I ordered (常家豆腐) didn’t have meat or eggs. After eating a while, I thought that the taste of the white meaty-looking stuff was familiar. I think it was chicken. Either it was a miscommunication or chicken isn’t counted as meat (肉). I thought a bit about asking what it was and why they had said that the dish had no meat, but I chickened out (no pun intended). I can’t keep failing like this, so I should learn how to ask what the ingredients are and to give a complete list of things I don’t want (meat, bird, fish, egg, milk).
Cooking at home is much safer, but not as fun. The grocery stores actually have lots of cool stuff that we don’t have in Sweden, the most useful being tofu in different shapes, forms and tastes. At the store today I was looking at the bread (not the western kind, more like buns that you steam cook) and the people behind the counter were repeating the same thing a few times until I realized they were addressing me. I just gave them a surprised/confused look and kept on looking. A while later I came back and one guy came up to me and asked me the same question again. I figured he was asking if I was looking for something so I said that I was just taking a look. He went back behind the counter and the others asked him if I had understood. He said I had not. They all seemed somewhat amused and I pretended not to notice.