Paving out a culinary vegan road is one filled with tasty twists and turns, though it's not often when two vegan roads merge into one. Vegan restaurateurs Kat Wang and Mike Dodd of Woking Amazing
have been travelling and working in hospitality, collectively, for 50 years.
The tasty twists and turns they've carved out are, as their business name asserts, "woking" amazing. Go to any vegan festival around Melbourne and you will see the endless queue in front of their food stall. Now, at their permanent location in Collingwood, customers can experience delicious vegan Asian fusion dishes and the warm hospitality that only Kat and Mike can serve up.
Woking Amazing is known for its exceptional vegan spin on Asian/English fusion food creations with meticulously layered flavours, from Peking 'duck' pancakes to vegan 'fish' and chips with wasabi mushy peas, crystal dumplings and crispy 'chickn' katsu kare with rice. They love fusing flavours and mixing Asian street food ideas with English comfort favourites, all with a veganised spin. Big, bold flavours fused with different textures underscore the dishes here, emphasised by Kat and Mike's creative techniques using delicious flavours and textures. It's surprising to see – and taste – these flavours come to life in vegan cuisine.
As customers arrive through the door, they're met by a bright space with clean lines and light-filled spaces to sit. Everyone is greeted by Kat's warm, beaming smile as they're led to a cosy table on the dining floor. Mike is almost always found out the back in their caravan kitchen; an aesthetic that's a nod to their hospitality travel overseas and Melbourne-based mobile business. Mike wanders inside between orders to lean by the bar, wave and converse with customers. Woking Amazing outdoor space attracts customers in the warmer months; those wanting to sit outdoors in the cooler months can do so and are warmed by gas heating.
Woking Amazing is as much about connection and forming lifelong bonds as it is about coming together for delicious, comforting, vegan food. The regularly-rotating menu features new creations from 'chickn' style tenders and build your own 'duck' pancakes, to hero favourites like dim-sims, dumplings 'pork' style steamed buns, folded Peking 'duck' on flaky Taiwanese spring onion pancake and eggy 'bacn' roll. Some of the latest, and popular, creations have included 'fish' and chips with wasabi mushy peas and crispy 'chickn' katsu kare with rice.
All meals can't be eaten without a refreshing beverage on the side, from a range of kombuchas and sodas to iced coffees. Customers can choose from side dishes such as smokey fries, crispy oyster mushrooms or a light 'chickn' Caesar salad to bulk out their already generously-sized mains. A standalone main is enough to satisfy many customers' appetites.
There are also many options for those seeking gluten-free choices, or meals minus onion and garlic or coriander. Woking Amazing prides itself on delivering tasty meals, while also catering for those with some food allergies.
Whichever meal is chosen, there's an uncanny likeness to meat-based versions. The critical difference is that no animals have been harmed in the production process. Textures and flavours reveal Kat and Mike's talents that have shaped their niche reputation in Melbourne's vegan culinary circuit. It's all about changing hearts and minds for those curious about a plant-based version, while giving vegans tasty meals that are in line with their ethics.