Why Wild Ginger Is a Haven for Vegans and Vegetarians
House bi-bim bap at Wild Ginger | Tara Mahadevan
The Veggielante is on a mission to spread the word about places to order good, meatless grub. Check out this week's pick.
Destination: Wild Ginger (380 Broome Street; 212-966-1883)
Neighborhood: Little Italy, Manhattan
Cuisine: Pan-Asian fusion
Overview: Located in Little Italy, Wild Ginger's menu is a flavorful assortment of dishes from countries across Asia, such as Japan, China, Korea, Vietnam, Thailand, and India. The restaurant's menu is entirely vegan, and it creatively uses seitan and soy to prepare items that are egg-, meat-, and dairy-free. Though this collection of dishes is perfect for vegetarians, vegans, and those with a dairy intolerance, the menu is not Celiac-friendly.
Highlights: The house bi-bim bap ($15) is a Korean-style coconut-rice bowl topped with seitan, avocado, green and black seaweed, chick peas, spinach, bean sprouts, mango salsa, and kimchi, a random assortment that works together nicely, both in terms of flavor and texture. After you mix all the ingredients together, be sure to top the dish off with the restaurant's homemade hot sauce or peanut sauce, or both. The entree is also served with a light pumpkin soup appetizer that successfully straddles the line between savory and sweet.
Crispy soy protein at Wild Ginger | Tara Mahadevan
Wild Ginger's crispy soy protein ($6.50) is breaded, deep fried, drizzled with a plum sauce, and served over a bed of greens. The dish is slightly evocative of meat, as the taste is smokey and the texture is fairly chewy. The tofu is a great starter, especially if you're in the mood for a heavier appetizer than the pumpkin soup.
A few other Wild Ginger dishes mock the flavors and textures of meat, such as the Fisherman's vegetable protein ($14), which features veggies -- oyster mushrooms, asparagus, and sugar-snap peas -- sauteed in a sauce that tastes like it could be made with seafood. Another favorite is the black pepper seitan ($15), thinly sliced medallions of wheat protein sauteed in a black-pepper brown sauce and served over a bed of Chinese broccoli.
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