Travel in Europe

When traveling in Europe can one eat in vegan restaurants like in America? Read ingredients?
Thank you in advance

Not necessarily. Some European countries don’t have the laws and standards we have in the U.S. Also there can be problems with insects in the food.

In the U.S. a vegan restaurant would be ok?

Let’s discuss after Pesach. Yes. You can eat in all types of restaurants in the USA and in many places. But there are things you need to take into account.

Rav, thank you for such a beautiful new site. Would you mind elaborating on the issue of vegan restaurants? There has been some recent controversy regarding public statements made by a Rav I respect and revere that many other rabbis have bashed. Getting your insight would add a great deal, including on any other types of restaurants you made reference to. Thank you in advance.

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There are laws that people need to know about when eating in a vegan restaurant.
The biggest issue you will have is Bishul Akum (cooking of a non-Jew)
The exclusions to that is if the food is eaten raw. That covers a majority of the foods.
I will post a menu from a vegan restaurant and I will show you what is ok and where the issues are.

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Looking forward. Thank you for your time!

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So, without making this straight Halachah, I’m gonna address this menu from Shouk on the fly just for discussion purposes.

Shouk Pita

This place is Israeli, so no problem of Bishul Akum. But let’s make believe it isn’t. Just to discuss the menu. So we are assuming it’s non-Jews.

Everything comes with rice and lentils or greens. The rice and lentils would be Bishul Akum. The greens may have bugs.

The cauliflower can have bugs

The pita is fine because it’s Pat Palter meaning commercially baked breads, pastries etc.

The Shouk Burger should be ok. I’m guessing it’s from mushroom or green beans. You need to ask what’s in it. Just the main ingredients. Just to confirm it’s not something that you do not eat raw.

Breakfast pita and fennel is fine.
Always watch out for salad greens.

The eggplant is a problem as I don’t believe it can be eaten raw. That is an issue of Bishul Akum.

Salads ok without the greens

Creamed or puréed Soups are usually good since it’s a majority water so you don’t worry about Bishul Akum

Pizza pita is fine

The cashew labneh is fine

Hummus should be good since you can assume they use canned chickpeas.

The cookies are fine they’re Pat Palter. The drinks are fine except for the wine

If you’re having a hard time reading the menu go to their website


would sweet potato fries or french fries be a problem?

Not sure.
There’s the other exemption from Bishul Akum which is אינו עולה על שלחן מלכים…
That means it doesn’t make it to a King’s table. That seems to have been put in place for certain foods that are just not that presentable, like something only poor people would eat.
My father is of the belief that today most things are served on a Kings table. But I will ask him again.

Understood - is the position you’ve held prior regarding rice made in rice cookers (I believe the thread was regarding sushi rice) no longer applicable?

Regarding greens, if ordered with dressing or sauce on the side, isn’t the Halakha conclusive in saying that we are to inspect with the naked eye? If not, being from LA, I’ve seen most vegan restaurants have a UV salad green spinner. I’ve spoken to a Talmid Chacham mashgiach (he has certified some vegan restaurants) who used to be relied upon by the entire community in the 80s (since then there have been many competitors) and he told me that he’d more comfortably eat salad from a vegan restaurant than a non-vegan kosher restaurant specifically with regards to bugs.

To be honest, the bedika has been extremely unreliable in most kosher restaurants, and thus the consistent and persistent position to continue banning greens previously permitted (confirmed by kosher restaurant owners - spinach, kale, arugula). All that’s left is romaine. Accordingly, $15 for a romaine salad seems to be a waste of one’s resources for the purpose of a humra, which is also problematic al pi Halakha.

Please help me make sense of this.

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Yes. Agreed. Only bugs that you can see with the naked eye. Otherwise we wouldn’t be allowed to breathe. I can check lettuce that is served to me in the salad on the spot. If you can do the same, kol hakavod.

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If the threshold for problematic bugs is that which can be seen with the naked eye, then wouldnt one assume that any restaurant, and especially a vegan restaurant, wouldn’t serve you greens with a visible bug?

You are correct in that I have found on my travels in the nice restaurants they clean the greens really well. But different areas and different levels of restaurants have different practices. In a restaurant that you know they have a crew that do a great job, you can rely on that.

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Thank you for your insight. There are several salad restaurant chains here - they just make salads. They literally display their greens as art behind the counter. They do have cooked grains on the assembly line, and towards the end cooked proteins. Assuming you ask for a plain salad with toppings that can be eaten raw (whether they are raw or cooked), is there ANY problem? Also, what is the standard of “foods being fit for a King’s table?” Seems to be a broader standard than “can be eaten raw” - is there indeed a difference?

Thanks in advance. Shabbat Shalom!

Is fish considered bishul akum since it can be eaten raw (sushi, sashimi, etc.)?

Can be eaten raw is very different than King’s table. King’s table refers to foods that are lower class, something only poor people eat. We don’t have much like that today.

Salad bars are fine. Make sure to avoid bugs, beef, bacon, etc.

Thanks! One more question - going to a “non-kosher” sushi restaurant would be ok assuming the rice was cooked using a rice cooker and all other fish/ingredient were kosher?

Ingredients to watch for is eel sauce.
Not sure how the rice cooker helps