Monthly Archives: August 2010

My New Love: Green’s No Harm Chicken Parm Sandwich

I recently decided to try something I’ve never had before at Phoenix’s vegan stronghold – Green New American Vegetarian in Tempe – the No Harm Chicken Parm sandwich. I’ve never understood the concept of chicken parmesan – vegan or not. Why would you take a perfectly fried piece of food and cover it in sauce and melted cheese, thus destroying the crispy goodness of the breading? However, I’ve eaten so much rice and Asian food recently that I was craving something totally different. When we went to Green last weekend, I decided to give it a try and see what I was missing.

Much to my delight – I now have a new favorite menu item at Green. I liked it so much I went back for lunch during the work week and had it again!

Green's No Harm Chicken Parm Sandwich

The breaded mock-chicken was indeed perfectly fried, but the sauce and vegan cheese (unfortunately not Daiya) gave it a tangy zest that I didn’t expect, and it didn’t offend me texture-wise as much as I thought it would. The mock-chicken cutlet was thicker than what they use for the Secret BBQ Chicken Sandwich and Spicy Peanut Chicken Salad, and held together well. Now I’m wondering what else I can order with their breaded vegan chicken. If I could get them to put it on a bun with just some pickles, it might be the illusive vegan Chick-fil-a replacement I’ve been seeking for years!

My husband also tried something that I don’t think we’ve had before, or at least couldn’t remember – the Mongolian Bowl.

Green's Mongolian Bowl

He ordered it with crispy tofu and rice. The tamari sauce was light and somewhat dry – a very basic item that didn’t stand out compared to some of the other bowls like the Thai Peanut bowl. He thinks it would have been more flavorful if he had ordered it with the mock chicken.

We also tried one of the Soynami specials – I think it was called Dee’s Hazelnut.

Green's vegan Chocolate Hazelnut Soynami

It was a full-on chocolate and hazelnut delight, with tons of giant pieces of chocolate to chomp on. I still prefer the chocolate and peanut butter Soynami, but it was a fun end to a great meal.

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Filed under Obsessions, vegan food, vegan Phoenix

Vegan Food Adventures in Singapore: Part One

Sorry I’ve been so MIA on this blog! I’ve been sick for over a month (along with the fractured foot) and only eating bland pasta/rice dishes. I used the time to get my guts in fighting shape for a business trip I needed to take to one of the most flavorful dining locations I’ve ever visited – Singapore. Lucky for me, I started to heal up just in time to try some exciting vegetarian (and hopefully vegan) cuisine! I didn’t have much free time to get to off-the-beaten path places, but most of the restaurants I ate at had decent vegetarian/vegan options. I was there for a few days, so I’ll post dining highlights over the next month or so.

My disclaimer: when I travel abroad, I try as hard as I can to confirm that what I’m eating is vegan, but I also strive to be polite and not insult my hosts by asking too many questions that may seem offensive. Sometimes, language and cultural barriers just make it hard to get accurate ingredient info. So while I do my best to avoid anything that obviously contains dairy or eggs, all I can be certain of is that what I ate in Singapore was vegetarian, but it may not have always been vegan.

One of my greatest fears as a frequent vegan traveler is being stuck on a 17-hour flight with nothing to eat. I of course brought along enough snacks to keep me full for a week, but it’s always a nice surprise when the airlines actually have edible vegan food. For dinner on my outbound trip on Singapore Airlines, the main entrée was a light rice dish with mixed vegetables. It could have used some soy sauce, but given my condition and the long flight ahead, I was happy for the blandness. I liked the bread with olive oil too.

The mid-flight snack was also vegan – pasta with red sauce and more mixed vegetables. It wasn’t really what I’d normally want to eat at 5:00 in the morning Phoenix time, but the pasta filled the void just fine. Breakfast was a little lame – a very small fruit plate, followed by a soggy attempt at a hash brown over some kind of stewed/overcooked greens and a cooked tomato. Some protein would have been nice, but overall it was a decent start to the morning, or night – whatever it was. I was confident that everything they served was vegan, and appreciated that it wasn’t just steamed veggies. Sorry, no pictures. The camera was packed away.

I arrived early on a Sunday morning, so I had free time in the afternoon to attempt to find  lunch nearby.

The hotel concierge said there was a vegetarian hawker stall at the Ion Center on Orchard Road (which is close to where I stayed) that was “very popular.” I hadn’t seen it in my pre-trip research on the Vegetarian Society Singapore website, but I was up for an adventure so I went in search of this mythical place. After wandering around a shopping mall far longer than I should have with my foot in a walking cast/boot and joints painfully swelling from the humidity, I gave up and found an information desk. The attendant said no such vegetarian place existed, but there was an Indian stall that had vegetarian food.

One more pass around the food hall confirmed that Go India Express was the only place that even used the word “vegetarian” on the menu. I ordered a vegetarian samosa (how could that be bad, right?) and something called a Veg Masala Seekh Wrap.

The samosa was so greasy I could barely eat three bites of it, and I’m not sure what all was inside. The filling was brown, overcooked, tasted like burnt chili and just seemed like leftovers from the grill to me.

Go India Express veg samosa

I didn’t fare much better with the Veg Masala Seekh Wrap.

Go India Express Veg Masala Seekh Wrap

I had asked about the contents of the wrap as best as I could “no egg, strict vegetarian?” and was assured it was good to go. The wrap itself was a nice, medium-thickness bread (not as thick as naan, not as thin as roti), but I really have no idea what was inside. There were standard greasy onions/peppers, and then a mixture of some sort that did not distinguish itself.  It could have been tofu, it could have been cream cheese, it could have been egg. All I know is it was white, and that scared me off from having more than a couple of bites. The flavor of the white stuff was actually pretty interesting – a slight hint of lemon which was counter-balanced by a very strong, dark chili red sauce that the onions and peppers were cooked in. The onions were overwhelming. An entire cross-section of an onion was included without even breaking it into individual slices. Yuck! Inedible!

I left the Ion Center still hungry and a little worried about how my still-healing guts would react to what I had just done to them with those few bites of greasy food fail.

As I walked back to the hotel, I noticed that one of the vegetarian restaurants I had researched prior to leaving was right in my path back to the hotel (I blame the oversight on sleep deprivation). LingZhi is an Asian vegetarian restaurant on the 5th floor of Liat Towers, at 541 Orchard Road (note: they have another location at 238 Thomson Road too). Since I still had some free time and didn’t actually eat lunch I decided to check it out and see if I could get something small to get me through the afternoon.

While many of the items on the menu contained egg (in particular I was warned off any of the fried food) there were still several good vegan options to pick from. I wanted something light (and not greasy!), so I selected the Poached Crispy Rice Soup in a hot pot, which was the perfect choice.

LingZhi Poached Crispy Rice Soup

I’m always partial to anything cooked in a hot pot, but this was a very unique dish. The base was a miso soup, which thickened quite nicely as it simmered. In the hot pot was a mixture of rice, corn, kidney beans and onions, and the broth was topped by fried rice-puffs at the table. The flavor was very mellow – almost like eating a bowl of warm morning cereal, but it was comforting, healthy and something I’d eat again any day. I’d highly recommend LingZhi to any vegetarian or vegan traveler to Singapore, and am sorry I didn’t have time to go back and try other menu items!

That’s it for my first Singapore vegan food adventure post – but there’s more to follow! I’ll try to update the site more frequently now that I’m back in town and on the mend!

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Filed under Travel, vegan food