Some of you may be in the same position that I am in of having friends who are Vegans or Vegetarians and often this can make it hard to work out where to go if you want to go out for dinner. Many 'normal' restaurants have limited or no options for people who are Vegetarian but more particularly if they are Vegan. That's the problem when you know a couple of people who have eliminated meat, dairy, honey and any other animal products from their diet.
One place you can take them to (or yourself if you happened to be a Vegetarian or Vegan) is the Vegie Hut in Box Hill. This is an Asian vegetarian restaurant which has both vegetarian options and vegan options. As there are a lot of mock-meat dishes on the menu, those who are inveterate carnivores or meat-eaters can at least have the sensation that they are eating meat.
When I was looking through the entrées menu last night, there just seemed to be so many good things in there that I decided to pick about three or four things and have that as my dinner. One of my friends also decided to do this and so we decided to order all the entrées on the menu and split them between us. This wasn't exactly the insane idea it probably seems now to anybody reading as most of the entrées were about $3 to $5 each.
Therefore we ordered about eight entrée dishes and shared them between us. In retrospect we should have probably told the waiters to serve it at the same time as our other friends meal's (mains) but in some ways that helped us, as eight dishes, surprisingly, take up a large part of the table space. This restaurant serves a number of mock-meat dishes so any time it talks about a meat it is a 'mock-meat'.
The first thing we had were the veggie nuggets, these weren't meant to taste like chicken nuggets and amazingly they actually did. But they tasted like good chicken nuggets - if there can ever be such a thing. This would be great for any vegetarian who has chosen to be a vegetarian for moral reasons but still likes the taste of meat. The next thing we had were the veggie rolls which were very similar to ordinary spring rolls and tasted quite nice. My favourite item was the deep-fried tofu which I always like. It doesn't have much flavour in itself, it's more a conduit for texture between the silken tofu in the middle and the crunchy deep fried outside, but with some soy sauce, it is yummy.
The sesame prawn was okay but slightly fishy tasting and I was a little disappointed because I thought it would be like sesame prawn toast and instead it was a mock-prawn covered in sesame seeds. Still quite good but it emphasises the need to know what you are actually ordering so you can enjoy it for itself. The salty chicken was kind of like the flavour and appearance of little chicken dim sims. The vegetarian dumplings were reasonable standard dumpling and I liked that it seemed to be boiled rather then fried. The satay chicken was a little hot with the sauce but otherwise quite nice and probably only a problem if you are big wuss about chilli like I am. The tempura veggies were nice but by this stage we were getting quite full and had to bring in the troops (other friends at the table) to help us eat most of them. And then there were the curry puffs which were really quite nice.
The restaurant itself is quite nice inside but can sometimes get a little bit busy, but not overly so. The staff are nice, but occasionally hard to get their attention when it is busy.
But it is the food which really makes it worthwhile coming there, I loved trying all the mock meats, even though I am not a vegetarian myself. They may taste different to real meat but sometimes they can taste good in their own right and sometimes, like the veggie nuggets, can taste better than the ordinary meat item.