Sherman's Food Adventures: Do Chay (Kingsway)

Do Chay (Kingsway)

If you have read this blog enough, you will realize that I'm pretty much a meatatarian.  However, that doesn't mean that I avoid vegetarian and vegan cuisine completely.  I am very selective of where I go and eat because bad vegetarian/vegan food is on the top of my do not eat list.  So when people kept raving about Do Chay, including Mijune, I just had to relent and try it myself.  Well not completely by myself as Angela joined me since she is one of those people who also rave about the place.

To kicks things off, we had Uncle Hing's Wings that consisted of fried mushroom, sweet & spicy fish sauce glaze, sesame and cilantro.  Of course these weren't really "wings" but I enjoyed them regardless.  The mushroom was cooked through yet still firm while the batter was crispy throughout.  Beyond the obvious sweetness accented by spice, the umaminess of both the mushroom and glaze created impact.

Whenever I see salted egg yolk anything, I must try it.  So here we have the Salty Egg Yolk Eggplant with salted egg butter, chili, garlic, cilantro and lime.  Texturally, the fried eggplant was on point being firmly crispy despite being tender and moist.  It remained that way until we had to pack it up.  Although the bits of salted egg yolk were plenty on the bottom of the plate, it didn't adhere properly to the eggplant.  This meant it didn't really eat like it was supposed to.  We had to take a bite of eggplant and then scoop some egg yolk so there would be impact and flavour.  When we did, it was quite tasty.  A squeeze of lime really helped bring things to life and cut through the heaviness.

One of my favourite dishes had to be their version of the Banh Xeo with plant-based prawns, sprouts, jicama, mushrooms, fresh herbs, greens and nước chấm.  The crepe itself was super thin, crispy and light.  Inside, the "prawns" were actually quite good resembling the texture of fish/shrimp meatballs that are normally found in Chinese hot pot.  Combined with the basil, nước chấm, lettuce, tomato and cucumber, it was a nice bite that had layers of texture and flavour.

My absolute favourite dish of the meal was the Black Garlic Eggplant.  This consisted of braised eggplant, fried tofu, black garlic, red chili, yau choy and rice.  To prepare this, they fried the eggplant first (so it wouldn't fall apart and also cooks quickly/uniformly).  Hence, there was still a robust texture on the outside giving way to tender eggplant.  That black garlic sauce was an umami bomb that was addictive with aroma, saltiness and sweetness.  There was a touch of spice and the intense flavour really went well with the plain rice underneath.  Delicious!

Now as for the Desert Island Noodles, I thought this was a bit muddled.  It sported thick noodles, coconut milk, vegan meatball, tomato, shredded tofu mix, peanut, fish sauce, greens and herbs.  For me at least, there was a few too many flavours that just became lost. Furthermore, it ate heavy with not enough acidity to balance it out.  With that being said, I still enjoyed  the aromatics of the coconut and the punch of the nước chấm, it just isn't a dish I'd order again.

Something new on the menu, according to Angela, is the Saigon Spaghetti with thick rice noodle, Impossible meat, black garlic and tomato sauce, greens and handmade egg tofu.  We really enjoyed this where the "meatiness" of the sauce was surprising.  It was rich with a tangy nuttiness that had depth (despite no real meat).  It paired well with the thick chewy noodles.  Also, that buttery soft egg tofu on top was really good.

Another dish with depth was the Tomato Tofu on Rice with fried tomato, Impossible meat, pickled Chinese long beans and fried tofu.  With the Impossible meat, it truly resembled a tomato meat sauce.  It had the richness as well as the robust qualities of the real thing.  Mild tang, sweetness with depth and once again, umaminess made this addictive.  In general, the whole meal was delicious and I really didn't miss the meat.  I am realizing that modern vegetarian and vegan cuisine has come a long way.  The more I am exposing myself to it, the more I want to eat it because it is delicious.  Do Chay is delicious and I will be back.

The Good:
- Lots of depth
- Don't miss the meat
- Bold flavours

The Bad:
- On the pricier end


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