Before any trip, I do a lot of research to find vegan restaurants and markets in my destination city. On our trip to California a few months back, we tried a menagerie of delicious vegan cuisines throughout southern California. One of the stand out meals for us was at an Asian restaurant in the the Los Angeles (Alhambra) area called Loving Hut (heh, yeah, it’s a funny name). It’s an odd atmosphere, but they have a robust menu of all sorts of delights. Many of the vegan foods I tried in CA were soy-heavy – and I tend not to eat a lot of soy in my regular diet – but it was different than the norm. We got a vegan Thai Hot Pot: essentially a huge bowl of wonderfully flavorful broth and an equally huge plate of fresh raw vegetables and mushrooms to add to said broth. You get a bowl of noodles and you ladle the broth onto the noodles – voila! delicious and easy.
The version in California had some “soy shrimp” in it … I am not a huge imitation meat fan, but it was interesting to try all the same. The meal was scrumptious and Kris and I were completely satiated.
This dang hot pot is *still* on my mind. I want to try to recreate that amazing taste. So, I did some searching and found this recipe on the internet. I could tell that this was not going to be exactly it, so I basically used it as a framework and added my own little perks.
Soba noodles – wrapper tag states: “Say NO to GMOs”
Cabbage, scallions, bok choy – some of the choice greens for my version!
Sauteed the cabbage, straw mushrooms, and bok choy stems with sesame oil and crushed red pepper flakes
Added carrots, tofu, chunked water chestnuts, and some mung bean sprouts, and poured the broth over the lightly cooked soba noodles.
While it was quite good, it wasn’t exactly the same blend and taste that we had in California – so I am going to give this one another try. I wanted more spice – maybe some more rice vinegar or some miso paste? – and it was missing the lemongrass-y flavor that the other one had. So, I need to “Thai” it up a bit more for next time!
It is definitely one of those fun meals that can be shared communily. It was only Kris and I, so we didn’t pull out the fondue pot, but this would be a fun way to turn this meal into a course for a dinner party.