I am an occasional vegetarian. I like meat – red meat, poultry, game, seafood, though I know some people do not consider fish as meat. But now and then, I’d get into a phase when I would refrain from having meat. It’s just me I guess. I find meat, especially red kinda heavy in the stomach. When I feel the need to detox, I used to live on mixed green salad until recently I discovered the shop around the corner – Iku Whole Food. Funny thing is I know it has been there for years but I never really got to trying their food. I would walk past the shop on my way to the local fruit and vegetables grocer. Because honestly, from the outside looking in, all I could see then was an array of brown-colored stuff with some platters of assorted green stuff. I mean don’t get me wrong. I like whole food. As a matter of fact, I buy breads or snacks that are so whole-food-looking my friends would call them “cardboard” meal. Because it’s brown and it looks like paper. Anyway, going back to Iku. A friend got me into this whole food meals they sell at the shop. She was having lunch with her little girl, I walked in the shop to say hello to her and I couldn’t help but noticed what was on her plate. It was only brown rice with other grass-looking stuff but it looked very enticing. So, I thought hey, I’ll have what she’s having. The girl at the counter suggested that I try the sampler first. It was a small box with little portions of the snack items they sell. I grabbed one for take-away so I can share it with my son and see if he will like any of them. We liked half of what was in the box and the other half were just alright.
We enjoyed the nori roll, which is organic white rice with rice malt, rice vinegar, carrots, cabbage, tofu, coriander, rice vinegar, palm sugar, lemon juice, ginger and rice vinegar wrapped in nori. We also liked the rice paper roll, which came with a special dipping sauce. But our favorite among the samplers was the tofu pocket. Brown rice with green soy beans, pumpkin, ginger, black fungus, orange juice, sea salt, sweet soy, fried tofu, mirin, tamari and sunflower oil. I didn’t even know what tamari was and just learned then that it is actually a dark soy sauce produced mainly in a region in Japan.
Of course we also tried the treats they sell and got a couple of morsels. A cocoa friand and a marraba, again a foreign term to me. The cocoa friand was alright but a bit dry for our liking. The marraba is mainly almond meal, semolina, pistachios and rose water. The rose water ingredient actually enticed me into buying one. It was alright but again, a bit dry and hard actually.
I get my vegetarian fix from Iku since then. I tried their macro burger and enjoyed it. It is tofu fritter served on steamed whole bun. Very heavy in the tummy actually that I will eat half first for lunch and save half for afternoon tea or dinner.
Now this one is my favorite of all. I will go vegetarian for this one – Spinach and White Miso Tart. With all these ingredients in it, lima beans, mushrooms, onion, garlic, cornflour, pepper, umeboshi vinegar, rice vinegar, olive oil, sunflower oil, thyme, parsley, spinach, turmeric, white miso, silken tofu, cornflour, pastry (whole wheat flour, brown rice flour, orange juice, mineral water, sea salt and sunflower oil) – truly vege-licious!