Nestled on a quiet back street in Ferryden Park, is the infamous Mai Kitchen. The cosy suburban Vietnamese restaurant, known for its homely meals and familiar hospitality, has gained a cult following for its vegan menu and speciality mock meats (which feature alongside an equally delicious, comprehensive meat menu for the omnivores among us). The first official event of its kind, “I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat” showcased the diversity in flavour and use of alternative meats in Vietnamese cooking.
For this special event, the team at Mai Kitchen created an entirely vegan, seven-course degustation menu, with wines provided and carefully paired with the dished by the clever folks at Serafino Wines. Dinner was a colourful and mouth-watering compilation of Vietnamese flavours set in a warm, cosy and casual restaurant setting.
Entrées of dumplings with sauces and “seafood” soup tickled the tastebuds and boggled the brains of guests with their incredibly convincing vegan take on prawns. “Are you sure this isn’t real meat?” echoed around the tables as guests tasted the Peking “duck” rolls and San Choy Bow. A “chicken” coconut curry proved once and for all that tofu is not a bland and boring vegetarian substitute. Jam-packed with vegetables and tofu “chicken” in a thick, coconut curry sauce with a good kick of spice, this dish was the perfect winter warmer.
The event was a memorable evening for meat eaters and a chance for vegos/vegans to savour near-exact, plant-based replicas of foods. Guests were promised an evening of good food, great wine and even better company, and Mai Kitchen undoubtedly delivered.
Mai Kitchen is located at 34 Wright Street, Ferryden Park
Keep up to date with more events like this via I Can’t Believe It’s Not Meat Facebook
Photos by Evelina Katarzynski