Not all locations serve Vegan food, but sometimes, it’s ok to make an exception. Which was what I did when I decided to try and have lunch at non-vegan Thai restaurant, Took Lae Dee – coz I missed Thai food.
Lunch-hour crowd and a long line awaited us when we arrived, and as we joined the queue, we looked at the menu to see what existing meatless option they might already have.
Vegetables basically. Good enough!
But I also considered what makes a Thai dish a Thai dish – Fish Sauce. Dammit.
Doesn’t matter, we’re already here, so we’re gonna stick to it, and enjoy the definitely vegan-friendly ‘Mango Sticky rice’ at the end of it.
Took Lae Dee 107 North Bridge Rd, #01-02 Funan Mall, Singapore 179105
As I approached the counter I had practiced in my head how I would order the food that had no visible meat in the pictures: “Hi, does this have meat in it?”, and if she responds ‘no’, then I’ll say, “Can I have it with no fish sauce?”.
In my mind’s eye, I imagined her pausing, looking real confused, and reluctantly typing my order in, as I’d experienced a year back when I tried to be vegan for 7 days.
But to my surprise, she did not. She just repeated my order, keyed it in, and ask for my next.
There was an option for vegetarian green curry, and so I asked, “Is the green curry made with Milk or Coconut milk?”, and her answer was, “Coconut milk,”.
Perfect! “Also no fish sauce please,” I replied, smiling. She nodded, and keyed in the order.
Turns out the animal by-product in Green curry is not fish sauce but shrimp paste, so I obviously broke my Veganuary streak right there.
Let’s move on anyway shall we.
This next one was harder, because it was ‘Pad See Ew’, and came only in beef or chicken options. I tried to ask for tofu, but she shook her head and said it’s not possible, and that there’s a vegetable version.
“Ok!” I said, no fish sauce either please. She nodded and keyed that in.
“Oh and 3 bowls of rice please,”. And I was done. I paid up, and waited for my number to be called. But when I saw the ‘Pad See Ew’, I couldn’t help but snigger as I carried the tray back to our seat.
The whole time we’d be vegan we’ve been EXTRA EXTRA hungry. Something about the calories of vegetables being much less dense than meat-based proteins. So we ordered another 2 vegetables and famous Thai dessert, Mango Sticky Rice.
We ate, and left, feeling very dissatisfied, not because the food wasn’t good (I mean it wasn’t the greatest), but because it was also really salty, and carby, and greasy, and lacked all the flavour that we were used to having with the addition of meat. I mean, we were still just getting used to it at this point (Day 10), and it wasn’t the most pleasant journey thus far, what with having gained fat and lost muscle and being hungry ALL THE TIME…
So, Lunch was just, food, to us.
But it was nice that they were willing to make all those changes for our strict and uncommon diet type. So uncommon that the lady behind the counter even asked if we can eat Garlic as Vegans.
Tendon Kohaku 6 Eu Tong Sen Street, #B1-52/53, Clarke Quay Central, Singapore 059817
I have nothing to add except that we really loved it so we went back.
The assortment of vegetables are really deliciously fried in a light-as-air batter that just barely coats the surface, resulting in a lovely crisp bite.
The only difference this time was we tried the ‘Mala’ sauce instead of the ‘original sauce’ and the ‘spicy sauce’ that we had the first time.
Please note that if you are STRICT VEGANS the original sauce has ‘dashi’, which is made of bonito fish flakes. I know. We seem to have made 2 mistakes in one day where sauces are concerned.
I guess besides going to a fully vegetarian / plant-based restaurant, cooking our own vegan food is the only other safest bet we have if we’re going to be pedantic about being Vegan.
Nevertheless, we’re going to keep doing our best, even if it hasn’t been the most perfect journey both physically, and diet-wise.
Check back in tomorrow where we check out 2 of our favourite Vegan/Vegetarian restaurants that serve chinese dishes so close to the real meat versions that you can hardly even tell they’re VEGAN!