Nam Dae Moon Rice Cake - Vegan Options

Nam Dae Moon opened their second location not long ago and it was well covered on social media. I initially assumed that the little treats they produced would be completely full of dairy products and eggs and not vegan-appropriate. That is why you should ask questions and not make assumptions! It turns out that they do have vegan items and they officially publish an allergen chart (which every food purveyor should have) which I can not find online anywhere (and I didn't take a picture of it) but instore it helped us make some selections.

This newest outlet of NDM is just a couple of blocks from Royal Oak Station at Royal Oak and Imperial in Burnaby. They serve savoury items out of this kitchen (it is Lorou Fan Tasty which could be a totally separate business as near as I can tell) as well but there is noting for a hungry vegan on that menu (maybe steamed rice).
I won't comment on the environmentally unfriendly packaging except to say it is very attractive and practical for transporting the goods (you are unlikely to eat a lot of this at a sitting as it is very rich) and you could certainly reuse the paper bag. It's certainly no worse than Apple packaging so I guess we are not too concerned about that generally.
I'll be honest and admit that I can't remember and didn't write down what most of the things we ordered were but this is the Soybean Glutinous Rice Cake and turned out to be our favourite. The crumble on top tastes a lot like peanuts and added to the sticky rice cake made for a surprisingly pleasant experience. This is not an something that you can rush. When searching for a little information about these, I kept coming across warnings to not eat too quickly and choke! So consider that my PSA.
Red Glutinous Rice Cake treat was next and this one featured sweet potato but beyond this one I definitely am resorting to guess work. As you can probably guess this one was moist and less dense than the soybean cake. Incorporating the layers seems to lighten up the taste and chew.
I am pretty sure that this is Chestnut and Date Glutinous Rice Cake. The thing is, it would be easy and sensible for me to make a few notes on my phone. This was tasty also and in fact everything was decent. I don't think it really matters what you order. The experience is more in the sticky sweet chewiness and less in the actual flavours.
I'm going to say that this is Purple Sweet Potato Mochi. I went as far as texting this picture to an employee at NDM but they couldn't identify it either. They sent me photos of the menus that are already all over Google so that didn't help. I say, if they don't know what it is, it is not surprising that I don't know. Again, very tasty. I recall that we enjoyed everything. Don't worry that we wolfed it all down in one sitting. It is actually still enjoyable even after a couple of days and they can give you instructions on steaming the cake later!
This is a pleasant little cafe and the staff were also very personable and helpful. I would stay that glutinous rice cakes are not really an acquired taste as they are not hard to enjoy at the first bite. They are however , unique as far as sweets are concerned and may not be everybody's cup of tea. I admit that I will not in the future go far out of my way but for sure Nam Dae Moon is good at what they do for those who are fans.
Food                          3 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options           3 out of 5
Comfort                     4 out of 5
Service                      4 1/2 out of 5
Value                         3 1/2 out of 5

Sushi Kaido -Sort of Vegan Options

Another eatery in what I have been calling the 'vegan triangle' (Kingsway, Main, Broadway) was on our subsistence plan this past weekend. Sushi Kaido is at the corner of Main and Broadway and they have that little green leaf thing on their menu in many locations but without a definition. I had decided that it meant "vegan".

It did not. It means vegetarian but our server was astute enough to help us order some vegan food anyway. It seems that the tempura batter that they use at SK contains milk or egg powder. I had always been under the impression that tempura vegetables were always a safe vegan port in a storm but such is not the and learn and don't feel guilty about past mistakes.
We started with Agedashi Tofu. It was crisp, hot and delicate.  It can't be taken for granted that the dipping sauce is vegan as it is often made with dashi but we trusted our server as she understood our plan.
Next up was the Vegetable Gyoza. This was pretty good with a nice vegetable filling. Hot and freshly browned on the outside, another safe vegan standby. 
Finally, we tried the Kimono Roll and the Green Hornet Roll. Here is where the expertise of our server came to the fore. Both these rolls feature a tempura vegetable centre namely pumpkin and purple sweet potato. To make the rolls vegan, she asked the kitchen to steam the vegetables rather than deep fry them in tempura batter. Of course, the nice little crunch of tempura would have been nice but it was still tasty.
It would have been nice to be able to order directly off the menu without horsing around. That is what we are aiming for in our dining out adventures these days. There are enough restaurants that are aware of the difference between vegan and vegetarian and that are willing to go all the way and create vegan options. They may also be aware that the dairy and egg industries cause as much if not more suffering than the meat industry. Our sever knew what she was doing but that might not be the case with all the staff.
Food                          3 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options           2 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                     4 out of 5
Service                      5 out of 5
Value                         3 1/2 out of 5

Feast and Fallow - Vegan Cafe

We have wanted to come to Feast and Fallow for a long time but considered it a bit out of our way. I'm not sure how I convinced myself that a cafe within walking distance of a sky-train station would be hard to get to! So on one beautiful late winter day, we made the trip and enjoyed items off of F&F's brand new menu.

Located a couple of blocks east of Oakridge on 41st, this is a cafe with a conscience. You can read about their impressive philosophy on their website. Personally, I have long wondered why the recommended Christian qualities of love and empathy would not lead all Christians to veganism. That's not exactly what Feast and Fallow is about, it's just what I have thought. I bring up the Christian thing as they are part of a church complex here.
I got a little carried away given all the beautiful baked goods that they had on display and so we ended up with dessert first, then our main meal, and then more dessert. When I see a vegan Cinnamon Bun, I just can't help myself. This one was amazing. Moist and rich and the perfect coffee break companion.
And speaking of coffee, they do a pretty impressive job at a reasonable price with a decent menu of beverage choices. Mharie had her decaf Americano, while I had a Flat White. As a dark roast, black coffee guy, this was a pleasant departure from my usual and as they use plant-based milks, there was no big discussion. The plant was just there, We did not eat it.
We were not really familiar with the old menu but gather that the Shakshuka was a new offering. It came with a slice of wonderful sourdough.
The most impressive thing about the Shakshuka was the vegan poached egg. We have had some variation on vegan poached eggs before but this one was the best. No, it did not taste like egg yolk (it has not been that long for me) but the texture was spot on and very rich. It tasted good also but just not quite a yolk. I lost my window of opportunity to ask the chef about it as he got very busy in the kitchen, so I am not sure exactly what it was (maybe he wouldn't tell me anyway) but you need to try this. The dish as a whole was wonderful and deeply tomatoey.
We also tried the Just Brekkie Open Faced Sandwich which was a lovely mélange of Just Egg, mushrooms, greens and Pilli Pilli sauce on more of the wonderful sourdough. It was substantial and certainly a meal unto itself!
Second dessert, which was entirely unnecessary, was their Strawberry Waffles complete with Maple Syrup, strawberries and I'm not sure what kind of whipped cream. Delicious!
The staff here are very friendly and clearly in agreement with what they are accomplishing. The room is beautiful and sunny (well if you arrive on a sunny day) with communal tables and I would guess there will be outside seating as the season turns. All of the food we ate and the left overs that we took with came to only $50 including tax and tip which is insane. Definitely worth the trip!
Food                             5 out of 5
Vegan Options              5 out of 5
Comfort                        4 out of 5
Service                         4 1/2 out of 5
Value                            5 out of 5

Nha Toi Boutique Cafe - Vegan Options

Yet another Vietnamese place with plant-based items on its menu makes an appearance. I am convinced that this must be the most compassionate people on the planet and surely it goes to the Buddhist culture that is strong in Vietnam. Why do I say that? It's because every second or third place that we visit and review is Vietnamese. Many of the fully vegan restaurants in Metro Vancouver are Vietnamese. It doesn't hurt our feelings as we love Vietnamese food!

Located adjacent to Rona in the strip mall at King George and 148th in South Surrey, we realized that we had gotten take out soup here from the previous tenants at the height of the pandemic. Nha Toi opened somewhere around the beginning of February this year.
We started with the Veggie Spring Rolls, marked as vegan on the menu. These were a notch up from the spring rolls that we usually experience partly due to the mung bean paste that was part of the filling. They were crispy and hot and served with a wonderful dipping sauce.
With Vietnamese vegan cuisine, we have had startlingly good faux meats in the past. Today was no exception. With the Vegan Vermicelli Bowl there was a vegan ham that was fried crispy and very good. It actually put us in mind of spam. Between the noodles, crispy tofu, greens and a tasty sauce, we were pretty happy with the offering.
The Vegan Noodle Soup was also a treat. With a variety of faux meats in a tasty broth and lots of noodles, we were content with this version of pho. There was some serious substance here without the animal stuff being involved.
The soup came with a nice variety of fresh stuff to add, beyond the usual, of bean sprouts and herbs. The leafy variety of coriander was new to us but familiar tasting. We used it in the soup of course but ate some right off the plate like rabbits.
We find that quite a few restaurants that make the effort to offer at least some vegan options can't figure out the dessert part so we are thrilled when there is something available. The Deep-fried Banana Cake was wonderful. The batter on the bananas was light and crispy while the sauce was rich but not overly sweet with coconut and tapioca. Try to order this to eat immediately rather than to go!
I'm not sure how the partnership works but NT is serving Truedan who specialize in brown sugar and bubble tea drinks. We tried a couple including this coffee milky drink which was prepared as a plant-based beverage. It was very tasty although this is not really my area of expertise (nor is anything else now that I think about it).
The cafe is light and airy and nicely decorated. We loved the tables which were a sort of faux wood with burned-in logos. The folks there (the owners) were very friendly and promised more vegan items on the menu if we could get more vegans to visit! Sounds like a reasonable arrangement!
Food                              4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options               3 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                         4 out of 5
Service                          4 1/2 out of 5
Value                             4 1/2 out of 5

Ba Le Bahn Mi - Vegan Options

When the craving for bahn mi hits, it must be satisfied! We saw that Ba Le was advertising "limited availability" for vegetarian bahn mi, so we knew we had to get ourselves there and soon!

We decided to make our way to the Broadway and Fraser Street location as it is an easy transit voyage for us (one skytrain and one bus) and it seems that not every location has all the menu items. This location may be the only one with vermicelli bowls.
We started with the Vermicelli Bowl with Tofu and Spring Rolls. As usual, there is confusion as to what vegan and vegetarian mean but we were assured that this was prepared plant-based even with vegan fish sauce. The generous serving of tofu was hot and crispy and hit the spot. The bowl was full of veggies and lots of noodles. Topped with a fish sauce and vinegar dip, this was a hit with us.
We also ordered 2 sandwiches but ended up with at least a half left over and to go. My advice is to eat these sandwiches as soon as they are prepared as the baguettes soften if they are riding around with you. And the baguette is definitely one of the highlights of a bahn mi! These were definitely of choice quality, being crispy on the outside and pillowy soft on the inside. The spicy chicken actually packed a bit of a spicy kick (not enough to be leery of) and the crispy veggies made this a fresh yet substantial sandwich.
The Vegan Steak Bahn Mi was more of the same. The faux meat was even fairly beefy. There was also a vegan Bologna available in a sandwich but I was never a Bologna fan even as a carnivore.
There are a few tables and some window seating but a lot of people phone in for take-out. The staff were friendly and helped us make sure our order ended up being plant-based. It is worth verifying that as again...seems to be some confusion and the online menu refers to these sandwiches as "vegetarian". 
Food                              4 out of 5
Vegan Options               3 out of 5
Comfort                         3 1/2 out of 5
Service                           3 1/2 out of 5
Value                              4 out of 5

Bar Burrito - Vegan Options

I know I know: what's with more fast food? The fact is many fast food chains offer nothing plant-based and sometimes, you just need a quick bite and a protein bar won't do. Bar Burrito solves the problem.

There are quite a few BBs around but we tried this is a new one at Mt Lehman Crossing in Abbotsford which is essentially a fast food nest. This strip mall tells me that we may not be cooking much at home any more as a society and we are probably getting fatter by the day. but at least Bar Burrito and Pita Pit of the many chains represented here,  can offer something plant-based.
They have 3 non-animal proteins that can be used interchangeably and we chose to order 3 tacos with their Veggie Ground. You order and modify your items just like you would at subway. Choose your protein, vegetables, toppings and sauces. We actually ordered the tacos last and I was trying to work my way through the sauces (an allergy chart on their website tells you what items are plant based) and might have ended up with a spicy barbeque sauce here which is just a weird direction to go. They still ended up tasty with some heat, crunchy veggies and not terrible tortillas.
The second protein is falafel and I am going to give them credit for serving a decent amount of good falafel on this bowl. Badly done falafel can be dry but this was not the case here. On a bed of brown rice and lots of miscellaneous veggies, this was a decent plant-based meal.
Finally, we ordered BBs namesake with their third protein source black and pinto beans.  Nothing surprising here, brown rice, lots of veggies and beans and some other more appropriate sauce than I chose for the tacos (they have a couple of spicy sauces that are plant based). Just a decently substantial burrito but still healthy and very tasty.
So Bar Burrito is just a regular fast food place with some room to sit down and eat and really helpful staff (I think that they learned a bit about plant-based eating). You have to be aware of which sauces have dairy products and such but you can eat well here without having to go to McDonalds or Popeyes. BTW, if you are still eating animal products, you should watch Pigignorant which is now available on Amazon Prime. You need to know how your bacon gets to your plate.
Food                      3 out of 5
Vegan Options      3 out of 5
Comfort                 3 out of 5
Service                  4 out of 5
Value                     3 1/2 out of 5

Perverted Ice Cream - Vegan Options

We've been to Perverted Ice Cream before but it was in my pre-vegan life and I was not even aware that the soft-serve here is actually plant-based!

Located on Thurlow just north of Robson, you will be welcomed by a happy looking snowman giving you the finger. The level of perversion at PIC is low and kind of fun. Inside the small store, it feels a little like you're in a porn store (so I've heard) and all the menu items have slightly suggestive names. I'm sure you can have plain vanilla but why would you?
We ordered a couple of cones starting with the Bombshell. I asked for twist soft serve but this comes with a lot of genuinely sour cherry flavours and something called barbed wire crumble.
To be honest, I can't remember what my wife ordered. It might be something called Bad Review and if so, according to the description, it is "not even that perverted." As you can see, my wife got into the spirit of the place! LOL.
On the menu, it says, "Plant Based. Vegan Options Available". It's a little confusing as plant-based and vegan are the same from a diet point of view as both avoid all animal products. What they mean to tell us is that some items have animal products making them vegetarian. Just make sure you are aware of which items are fully vegan. These are healthy-sized cones and could serve as a meal replacement! Not a lot of room in here, there is room to stand at one table or you can take your cones (or cups) to go. 
Food                         4 out of 5
Vegan Options          4 1/2 out of 5
Comfort                     NA
Service                      4 out of 5
Value                         4 out of 5

Lucky's Donuts / 49th Parallel Coffee - Vegan Options

We have been to 49th Parallel Coffee Roasters in the past (in my pre-vegan days) for great coffee and donuts. Now when I look for donuts, I'm seeking plant-based/cruelty-free varieties so imagine my delight when I found that Lucky's Donuts crank out a few vegan varieties.

This location is on Thurlow just north of West Georgia but apparently, there are 3 other locations of this partnership made in heaven.
We ended up here twice on the weekend because on the first visit which was in the afternoon, they had almost sold out of the vegan donuts. We ended up with one donut to share and the coffee was served in takeout cups for whatever reason. It was still great coffee (I like my coffee dark and black) but it is so much nicer in their actual cups.
In addition to 3 or 4 vegan donuts, they usually have a vegan lemon loaf or banana bread and one other item on their menu (I think that they had soup the second time we were there). On that first visit, we had the vegan Fruit and Floral donut which I thought was interesting and really delicious. Mharie did not care for it finding it too "floral". I am no donut scientist but these seemed less cakey and more moist and dense than most donuts that I have had.
On my second visit, I got the 3 donuts available to go which included the Fruit and Floral again and 2 other varieties as you can see. They again had that rich sweet somewhat dense texture. You certainly don't need to eat more than one of these as they are quite substantial.
There are tables inside and a few outside. Also, you can drift into the lobby of whatever building this is and there are tables there as well. They get quite busy at times so don't be a dick and take up space with your laptop if people are waiting to sit down. I am somewhat thankful that 49th Parallel and Lucky's Donuts are not close to home.  I am not sure that I would be able to exercise the appropriate restraint.
Food                                4 1/2 out of 5
Vegan Options                 3 out of 5
Comfort                            4 out of 5
Service                             4 out of 5
Value                                4 out of 5

About Us

Are you guys eating again? At some point Marie and I became the kind of people who take pictures of everything we eat, whether in a restaura...