Mai Kitchen is a popular Vietnamese restaurant in the western suburbs known for their authentic and modern dishes. Ever since they opened over two years ago, they had the foresight to include a vegan section on their menu, something that other Vietnamese restaurants didn’t do. The owner’s son, Dan Giang, has been instrumental in the marketing of the restaurant and trying to incorporate vegan options within traditional Vietnamese dishes. Tonight, Mai Kitchen has taken things to the next level by hosting a vegan degustation. Adelaide Food Central, along with other guests, were invited to take part in the “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat” dinner.
We start off with the Seafood Soup. The soup is well seasoned and has a thick consistency. Dotted with vegetables, what looks like a prawn rests in the centre of the bowl. To our surprise, the texture of the prawn is almost like the real deal.
Next was the Dumplings in 3 Sauces. Beautifully presented, there was a spoon full of vinegar, satay and soy sauce with chilli. The dumplings were perfectly cooked, and their skin nice and firm. The filling was well seasoned and you’d be forgiven for thinking you were eating meat.
One of our all time favourites is the Peking Duck Rolls. Slices of duck with crispy skin are combined with green onions, cucumber and coriander and wrapped in a soft, delicate pancake. These are then dipped into a sweet hoisin sauce. Oh wait! It’s not duck, but you’d be fooled for thinking it is.
Another classic is the San Choy Bow. The imitation mince is seasoned with soy sauce, oyster sauce and sesame oil. It’s then mixed with a medley of vegetables such as ginger, garlic, mushrooms, bamboo shoots and chestnuts. Topped with crispy fried noodles and wrapped in a lettuce leaf, you’d forget that you weren’t eating meat.
The Coconut Curry Chicken was nicely presented. The sauce was mildly spiced and had a lovely thick consistency. To our surprise, we actually thought there was chicken in the dish. Combined with freshly baked crusty bread, this curry was certainly a favourite.
Last but not least was the Roast and BBQ Pork with Lotus Leaf and Rice. While pork is a favourite protein among foodies, it can often be fatty depending on the cut. Have no fear, imitation pork has arrived. Seasoned with salt and roasted, or marinated in a Chinese BBQ sauce and grilled. Take your pick!
Substitute meat has certainly come a long way, and we’ve now got to the point where we can’t tell the difference. This is certainly a victory for all involved. The carnivores can enjoy healthier options that taste like meat, while the non-meat eaters are able to sample some delicious food that they wouldn’t normally eat.
In the interests of constantly improving their vegan offerings, Dan wants to know what you think of their dishes by going to this link.
Adelaide Food Central would like to thank Dan and all the staff at Mai Kitchen for their kind hospitality. Seriously, we can’t believe it’s not meat!
WHERE: 34 Wright St, Ferryden Park