the vegan fork: Vancouver, BC

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Vancouver, BC

I tried to find and eat vegan food in Vancouver, and unfortunately most of the things I ate were somewhat disappointing. There are plenty of veg and veg-friendly restaurants there that I didn't try, though, so I'm sure Vancouver has some good food to offer.


The Stonegrill is a restaurant where most of the entrees are served raw but with a hot rock on which you cook it. Most of those entrees are slabs of meat or fish, but they also have a vegetarian entree that's served on the rock. It came with a portobello cap on the rock, and a plate of onions, peppers, broccoli, and mushrooms for me to add to the rock. It's interesting that the stuff doesn't really cook until you cut into it. Only the exposed surface cooks. So you cut the things into really small pieces and let those cook. Amazingly, the slab of rock stays super-hot for a long time.
The vegetables were nice and fresh and it was fun to cook them on the stone. However, the vegetables are completely plain, no marinade, and they're served with just some soy sauce for dipping. I would have been happier with a more interesting dipping sauce.

Vegetarian entree from Stonegrill in Vancouver, BC

We decided to order the "orange soup" for dessert. When we asked our server for it, she tried to steer us away. She told us that it's "interesting," "the owner's own creation," and "not the best dessert on the menu." However, the only other vegan option they had was sorbet, and we were pretty curious about the orange soup.

It's orange juice cooked with lily bulb pieces and Grand Marnier, served inside an orange shell. I was surprised that it was warm; I think it might have worked better cold. It was okay, but not terrific. It seemed a little bitter, which was probably due to the Grand Marnier. The lily bulbs didn't have much flavor, but they were weirdly crunchy for a dessert.

Orange Soup from Stonegrill in Vancouver, BC

Hon's Wun Tun House:

I wanted to go to Hon's because it has two kitchens: one for vegetarian food and one for other food. I thought that sounded great, and I could be assured that my food was totally veg (no oyster sauce to worry about). The place was big and crowded and loud and the two kitchens were open so you could see into them.

There were lots of fun choices on the menu, but I made a bad decision. I ordered "braised wheat gluten with vegetables." When it arrived, I didn't notice which kitchen it came from and the server didn't say anything. It looked kind of gross, so I was hoping it was my dining partner's "chicken with vegetables." I tried to tell him it must be his. He told me it must be mine. We both suggested the other person take a bite to find out. Finally a server came back with the chicken dish, and it was clear that the gross-looking dish was mine.

Braised Wheat Gluten with Vegetables, Hon's Wun Tun House, Vancouver

And it was gross. The gluten was...limp. The sauce had very little flavor. The vegetables were fine, but they were in the flavorless sauce. It was all kind of greasy. I didn't eat much of it.

We had some vegetarian pot stickers as an appetizer, and they were pretty bad too. They were super-greasy and not very flavorful. Oh, and Hon's claims to have a trademark on "potstickers." You would think they would serve really good ones!

The chicken dish, by the way, looked really good, and my dining partner confirmed that it was.

The Naam:

I wanted to go to The Naam because they're Vancouver's oldest veg restaurant, so I figured they must know what they're doing. It's a cute little place, and amazingly enough they're open 24 hours. We went for breakfast.

The truth is that they are one of those old school veg places that relies heavily on dairy and eggs and had a few vegan options, but not many. I ordered the tofu scramble and some home fries. The food was very good. I loved the fact that the scramble had lots of veggies in it. And that the scramble wasn't bright yellow with turmeric as they often are. The home fries were really good.

Scrambled Tofu at The Naam, Vancouver, BC

I was disappointed by the few vegan options, though. I wanted a cookie for the road. They had tons of cookies at the counter, but when I asked if any were vegan, I was told no, even though they had a sign listing lots of vegan cookies.


Blogger Sheree' said...

Bummer that your meals were less than good. I hate that. I agree with you that from your description the orange dessert seems like it should be cold. Your braised gluten does look kinda bad. I thought it was deep fried chicken when I saw the picture. But you have to thank God for scrambled tofu! It is the best. Kinda hard to mess up. I hope you have a better time next time you go out.

Mar 5, 2007, 10:21:00 AM  

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