Planet Veg cooks up vegan butter chicken in Vancouver

Soy butter chicken

The soy butter chicken is gluten-free at Planet Veg. (Stephen Hui)

Since I live nearby, I’ve eaten at Planet Veg (1941 Cornwall Avenue) in Vancouver many times. This vegetarian restaurant, in the Kitsilano Point neighbourhood, has served Indian-style fast food for years.

My favourite thing to order is the Kathmandu roll ($8). The savoury vegan wrap features cabbage, tomato, cucumber, crispy noodles, jalapeño cilantro chutney, herbs, and spices inside a 12-inch spinach roti. For $4, you can make it combo (do it), which adds rice or soup, and a potato samosa.

Recently, I decided to try something new, and got the soy butter chicken ($9) to go. The menu describes this gluten-free dish as “Butter chicken for those who can’t do chicken.” Continue reading

Eat this, vegans: Mixed veg sabji at Soho Road Naan Kebab

Mixed veg sabji

The mixed veg sabji is a satisfying wrap. (Stephen Hui)

Everybody loves naan, right? Seriously, I’d eat every meal with this Indian flatbread if I could.

A recent visit to Soho Road Naan Kebab took care of one lunch. The Vancouver food cart serves naan wraps, including a delicious mixed veg sabji ($6 for small, $10 for large).

Although this item is vegetarian by default, it can be made vegan for a surcharge ($1 for small, $2 for large). I was told the only difference between the vegan and vegetarian versions is the naan. The chef even offered to change his gloves (previously used for chicken and lamb wraps) while making my order. Continue reading

Varinicey Pakoras brings deep-fried vegan snacks to Vancouver festivals

Varinicey Pakoras

These very nice pakoras are gluten-free too. (Stephen Hui)

With Veg Fest Vancouver 2013 approaching, I had looked forward to trying Varinicey Pakoras on July 27. Last weekend, I spotted the food cart at the Khatsahlano Music & Arts Festival, however, and decided not to wait.

As its name suggests, Varinicey Pakoras serves up deep-fried Indian fritters, which are indeed very nice. You can order a small ($5.50), regular ($8.50), or large plate ($10).

The Original pakoras consist of onions, ginger, carrots, kale, yams, and Swiss chard in a chickpea-flour batter. Three other kinds of pakoras are available: the Hot Chili (with chili peppers), Extreme Green (with extra kale, cabbage, and green veggies), and Super Beet (with red beets). Continue reading

Eat this, vegans: Cassava fries with tamarind chutney from Vij’s Railway Express

Cassava fries

Vij’s cassava fries are seasoned with fenugreek. (Stephen Hui)

Sometimes we crave fries other than the usual potato and yam varieties. In Vancouver, Heirloom Vegetarian (1509 West 12th Avenue) serves a bowl of fancy avocado frites that fits the bill. We also love the cassava fries cooked up at Vij’s Railway Express.

This food truck, part of Vikram Vij and Meeru Dhalwala’s celebrated Indian restaurant collection, dishes out a large portion of salty, deep-fried yuca with tamarind chutney for $8. These fries are drier and starchier than the potato kind.

Cassava fries are both crispy and creamy, but it’s the seasoning and chutney that really make them something special here. The seasoning includes fenugreek, salt, chili powder, and garam masala, according to staff at the food truck. Continue reading