Tonight, I am celebrating my first month of being vegetarian.
Well, it wasn’t the easiest especially for an absolute carnivore like me. I could literally devour a dozen pieces of fried chicken in one sitting (ask my friends who once gave me a bucket of KFC fried chicken as their birthday gift for me). I may have a lot of inconsistencies as well when it comes to my eating habits but I am confident enough to say that I managed to stay within the whole vegetarian system for 31 days now. CAN YOU BELIEVE IT? 31 FREAKING DAYS!
Through those first 31 days of being vegetarian, I got to eat in different places I otherwise would not have eaten at. Among all the foods I got to try, there were absolute standouts. These standouts definitely made my experience less of a struggle and more of a memorable experience for me. So in this post, I’m sharing 4 of my most favorite vegetarian-friendly dishes which I have tried over the last few weeks (I’ll most likely drool while writing this…).
Shitake Mushroom and Malunggay Burger (The Urban Farm)
I came in their place in BF Parañaque with absolutely no expectations. It was quiet when I got there and I had the place all for myself when I ate. Their menu has some pretty good choices but somehow, I decided to try their burger as soon as I saw it.
They serve their burger with, what seemed like, sweet potato chips. It was crisp and the sweetness of the sweet potato was definitely coming through (Tip: add a little sprinkle of salt). The star of the show isn’t their chips though– it’s their burger. The patty’s sandwiched in a simple bun with oats on top, lettuce, raw onions (which I took out) and puréed tomatoes. It was a rather straightforward combination, which gives a more distinguishable focus on the bun itself. If you eat the burger without knowing what it was, you’ll definitely find it difficult to distinguish what it’s made of. It maybe a little dry but that’s totally understandable for me. What I love most about it is the fact that even with the prominence of the rest of the ingredients, the patty still holds on its own. You definitely would recognize that the patty is there. It’s not at all bland, maybe not as meaty as regular patties (TOTALLY JUSTIFIABLE) and works so well with everything that’s on the plate (IT’S NOT GREASY TOO)! It was a really great way to start my vegetarian journey.
Agedashi Tofu (Kenji Tei Ramen House)
I’ll admit: I found it really hard to decide which of the two Agedashi Tofus that I have tried is better. But, I am settling with Kenji Tei’s.
I’ll have to give it to the tofu itself. I am not sure what type of tofu they used for this because I don’t have any prior experience with different types of tofus. But, if I will have to put my guess on something, I’ll guess that they used silken tofu (WILD GUESS). It definitely tasted like that soy they use in taho, which made it feel weird when I first bit on it. It was a little sweet with distinguishable hints of that soy taste and is very much unlike the regular tofus I normally get from local markets. I also love the fact that the breading wasn’t overwhelming at all. It was still very light and the breading was enough to add a good texture to it. It pairs well with the lightness of their donburi sauce as well. I would have definitely finished the entire serving of it if I didn’t order their Yakisoba with it…
Mazesoba (Uma Uma Ramen)
I have, for the longest time, shared articles about dishes that are rated by other food enthusiasts. But, I never actually put an effort to visit the places or try the foods they wrote about. Uma Uma was an exception. I guess I read the article about their Mazesoba at the best possible time. I was near the place, I didn’t have anything to blog about yet and I was hungry. So I literally hunted it down!
On the article I read, they wrote about 7 of the best ramens there is in Singapore and there it was, in all its glory, Uma Uma’s Mazesoba. I read about it and saw that it didn’t have actual meat on it. My only concern was, their broth might be meat-based like how it normally is for ramens, which would be a total deal breaker. Luckily, they didn’t serve it with broth. It was a dry ramen (or whatever that’s called, educate me please) that takes most of its sauce from the runny yolk of the onsen egg. No, I haven’t tried many kinds of ramen yet. Neither have I tried a legit bowl of ramen straight from Japan (BUT HOPEFULLY SOON) but their Mazesoba is by far the one of the best ramens I have tried. The ingredients they served it with worked well together. By paper, it seemed a little too simple but eating everything together was a complete surprise. I particularly love the kick their chili oil adds. It was a good hit.
Anyone would definitely not miss the depth ramen broths’ provide because of how well everything works. Maybe next time I’ll pay for additional soba and onsen eggs…
Truffle Mac and Cheese (Mama Lou’s Italian Kitchen)
I liked it so much that I could still literally taste it in my head. And I know, I know that it’s probably because truffle’s becoming mainstream lately so I’m probably just too overwhelmed but the thing is… truffle (oil) is one of those ingredients that you need to know how much to put because it could make or break your dish. They finished their mac and cheese with the right amount of truffle oil that did not sacrifice the taste of the pasta on its own at all. I honestly believe that even without the addition of truffle oil, I’d still consider it one of the better mac and cheese plates I have tried.
Nope, I haven’t tried many mac and cheese in my life yet so there isn’t much to compare it with but I am very bias with dishes that I couldn’t cook myself. I know it’s just basic béchamel sauce with a mix of different cheeses and sometimes finished off with some ground nutmeg so why can’t I cook it myself, right?! See… cheeses are hella expensive here in the Philippines so there’s no way I’ll get to cook my own mac and cheese on a regular day basis (I’ll probably kill more than a thousand pesos worth of cheese to cook a serving alone). So if I were to crave for one, I’d definitely go back to Mama Lou’s and have an order of it again! Let me know if you tried better ones, I’ll make sure to try them when I can!
It’s been nothing but pure fun. Again, it’s been difficult and I am still struggling until now (it doesn’t help to watch samgyeopsal or mukbang videos late at night). But, I am determined to keep going. I have mentioned over and over again that I am planning to take a break with my diet when I leave the country over the holidays but for now I’m still really motivated to keep going! Hope ya’ll stick with me through this!
Note: Commentaries are written as a food enthusiast and as a self-taught cook. GIFs are from giphy.com and photos are all taken by yours truly. Also, make sure to ask the restaurants’ crews if your food is actually meat free!
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