I have loved Asian food ever since I can remember. I think when I was about 10, I first had a stir-fry made with real ginger and I absolutely loved the heat it provided. Nearly 20 years later and I still eat chili with pretty much every meal.
Naturally, travelling around Asia just made me become even more passionate about Asian food.
Whilst eating out isn’t always easy (trust me when I say that fish and oyster sauce are normally added to every dish – also when it says it’s vegetarian), you can make many other dishes vegan.
You can simply stir-fry some veg with tofu and Asian spices, make a coconut milk based soup (Laksa) with rice noodles, vegetables and tofu, whip up a quick vegan Pad Thai or prepare an Asian salad.
A lot of the ingredients can be found in normal supermarkets (think sesame oil, soy sauce, tofu, different vegetables and rice noodles), but not only do Asian supermarkets have a lot more choice, most things also only cost a fraction of the price.
I also find that a few products even soy sauce often have added nasties (flavour enhancers, colours, sugar, etc.).
A few days ago I went to an Asian market and completely freaked out, because they had the most amazing selection and I get way too excited about food shopping. I think my boyfriend didn’t recognise me for a second haha.
Here is what I bought:
- soy sauce (the price simply cannot be beat) –> I always buy the one with made from soy, wheat and salt
- vegetarian oyster sauce (I don’t like mushrooms, but don’t mind a splash of this sauce in curries) –> I always check the ingredients to avoid buying a product with MSG and other additives
- rice wine vinegar
- rice cooking wine
- fresh rice noodles
- dried rice and wheat noodles
- firm tofu
- soft tofu
- tofu puffs
- spring roll pastry –> often says ‘no egg’ on the packaging, but check ingredients to be safe
- miso paste (Shiro and a dark one called ‘Nature Miso’) –> make sure to check the ingredients, not all brands are vegan!)
I already made a simple vegan miso soup with Asian greens from the farmers market (I used the Shiro miso paste and some additional seasoning, veg, tofu puffs and some dried wheat noodles – dinner was ready in 5 minutes) and a stir-fry using tofu, vegetables, and the fresh rice noodles all mixed with a sauce made from soy sauce, rice wine vinegar and wine, fresh chili and ginger.
Most supermarkets will also have different vegetable oils, nut butters, herbal teas, all sorts of herbs and spices and a massive selection of vegetables. If you’re lucky you’ll also find vegan dumplings or buns!
So, next time you find yourself close to an Asian supermarket, check it out! You’ll be surprised how many vegan ingredients you can buy.