Ok, first things first: I apologize for this photo. I completely forgot to take it until after I’d already dug in and messed everything up. I tried to make it pretty again, but obviously I had some difficulty. You still get the idea though, right?
Anyway, what you see here is one of Pei Wei’s signature dishes, the Spicy Korean. The basic version of this meal consists of stir-fried garlic, white mushrooms, onions, carrots, long beans and toasted sesame seeds in a Korean hot pepper sauce. When served with tofu and vegetables, it’s a vegan delight. As with all of their main dishes, you have your choice of white or brown rice (I’m told you can get any dish with noodles as well). I obviously went for brown rice with vegetables and tofu – which brings me to my next point…
The tofu at Pei Wei is firm, baked and dipped in soy sauce – and it is killer. When I was still a veggie newbie, I couldn’t figure out what was so special about this stuff and why my homemade tofu never had that kind of texture or flavor. Who’d have guessed that baked beats fried?!
The Spicy Korean is just one of several vegan options at Pei Wei, though I should mention that “vegan” does not account for sugar in this case. Though there are more calories in their dishes than you might expect, I really love this place because the food is yummy and generally good for you. Best of all, any dish marked with a “leaf” symbol on their menu is free of meat and animal byproducts when ordered with tofu and vegetables, making it super easy to spot the vegan options. As I said, this designation does not account for sugar (anything that includes Teriyaki sauce is also excluded, as honey is an ingredient) but I’m willing to overlook that while dining out if it’s the only thing keeping the meal from being “officially” vegan.
So there you have it! The next time you’re out and about and looking for a veg-friendly dining option, stop in at Pei Wei and look for the leaves! Oh, and if you plan to photograph your meal (that’s normal, right?), try to remember to snap the pic before you’ve eaten half of what’s on the plate.