People who love to eat are always the best people. Julia Child.
What’s better than eating great food?
Eating it with people who are passionate about it as much as you are.
This post is long overdue. I blame myself for losing the first draft of this post and spending too much time trying to find it instead of just letting it go and writing it again. Sometimes it’s hard to let go.
A while back I was invited to an Instameet at In Asia, a contemporary Asian restaurant in North Strathfield. I was joined by Brendon The Smiling Chef, the organiser for this event, as well as 15 or so other passionate food bloggers.
I was quite surprised with how much food there was available for me to eat. The restaurant was super accommodating of my plant-based needs. They ‘veganised’ some of the dishes for me, and served me with some of their very own vegan-friendly options. Let’s just say I didn’t come home hungry. Here are some of the things I had that night. Mind you, I was the only vegan in the group so all these were for me. Mine, all mine!
First I had the Herbal Crusted Tofu Fresh Roll with Peanut Sauce. I have to say that the tofu is probably one of the best deep fried tofu I’ve had in Sydney: crummy and crunchy on the outside, yet soft on the inside. I loved the tofu and peanut sauce combo and the fact it was served with loads of salad made it a light and refreshing bite.
Second, I had the Rice Vermicelli Salad – rice vermicelli, enoki, betel leaves, eschallot, pomelo, Asian herbs and tamarind soy dressing.
This salad has a multilayered texture with soft noodles, roasted peanuts and crunchy battered mushrooms and betel leaves. They all kind of dance around in you mouth as you slurp, bite and crunch. I don’t think I’ve had anything similar so it’s quite exciting, very original, and it has a tangy dressing similar to a Thai papaya salad – but milder.
For the third dish / first main course I had the vegan version of their Turmeric Curry – with fried tofu instead of soft shell crab, along with lightly battered enoki mushrooms.
The sauce was creamy and fragrant; mildly spiced and not too heavy. The mushroom was crunchy and the combination of the two is just heavenly. I think it was almost my favourite dish of the night, second only to the tofu roll.
And for the second main course I had Stir Fried Mushrooms. This plate had a generous serving of mushrooms – enoki mushrooms, button mushrooms, mini king oyster and oyster mushrooms, all stir fried in black pepper and… get this, mushroom sauce!
Given that I had finished all the previous four dishes by myself, I didn’t think there was any room left for more food.
Hang on? Did someone say dessert?
They gave us all three desserts from the menu to try. It was a shared plate so I picked at bits and pieces that I knew were vegan (sorbet, banana cake, corn flakes, etc).
The Monkey Snicker banana pudding came with passionfruit curd, pandan foam, pandan granita, shredded coconut and coconut ice cream.
The banana pudding was definitely vegan and so was the granita. It’s easily made vegan by replacing the ice cream and curd with sorbet. The banana pudding was quite delicious – soft, sweet and slightly chewy.
RS B’s First Kiss featured organic banana lightly battered in shredded coconut and fried palm sugar caramel, tapioca sauce, and rice puffs, served with passionfruit sorbet. I didn’t try this but it looked pretty good! Deep fried banana could be vegan, but it’s worth checking first.
Everyone was oohing and ahhing over the spectacular looking desserts, cameras started flashing everywhere and everyone crowded together to get a perfect shot of the food. It was madness!
Finally the Popcorn Parfait had crushed corn flakes, caramel popcorn, grilled sweet corn and caramel jersey cream. Definitely not vegan-friendly (unless you’re happy to nibble on the popcorn and the sweet corn). but it looked pretty impressive.
Apart from me, I think everyone had a little bit of everything….
It was an exciting night which I’d definitely do again. It was so much fun and I made lots of new friends.
If food brings people together, then food events bring food bloggers together with all guns blazing.
Disclaimer:Thanks In Asia for hosting our Instameet event with Brendon Smiling Chef , My Food Lust, Ant Wales, Hungry As Fork, Becmakes, Threespoonsfull, The Girls Who Ate The World, The Walking Advertisement