Me So Hungry: An Austin Food Truck

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to visit Me So Hungry, a veg-friendly Asian-fusion food truck in Austin, Texas. The city of Austin is considered the most vegetarian-friendly city in the entire United States, with nearly every single restaurant or food truck offering vegetarian—and quite often, vegan—options. And in some places, it’s more like a “meat option” since everything is more or less meat-free.

For that reason alone, Austin is truly amazing. One of Dallas’ problems is that trying to eat “vegetarian,” with or without an exception for fish, can be extremely difficult depending on where you are and what kind of food you’re eating. Yet for some reason, squashed in between the heavy meat-eating, conservative Texas landscape, you find the vegetarian, progressive, eclectic city of Austin.

Because of a food shortage, the truck was closed earlier that day, but I made it just in time for their late opening. It was definitely quiet there—not just at Me So Hungry, but at the surrounding trucks too… although it was probably just because of the time I was eating.

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Baked Cauliflower with Tahini-Yogurt Sauce

One of the most common reasons I hear from people who say they could “never become vegetarian” is that they wouldn’t know what to make if they couldn’t cook with meat. When my mom and I began thinking of possible vegetarian (and even some vegan!) meals, we realized there is a plethora of great and easy meals, side dishes, and desserts.

To show you what I mean, here’s a very quick and easy baked cauliflower recipe my mom always makes whenever we have Mediterranean food, always served with a yogurt sauce.

The great thing about this recipe is how easy it is—all you need is cauliflower, salt, pepper, olive oil, garlic, yogurt, and tahini. If you’re unfamiliar with tahini—also called “tahina,” from the Greek “takhini” (which is based on Arabic “tahana,” to crush)—is a Middle Eastern paste made from ground sesame seeds.

Out of all the ingredients, tahini is the only one that’s a little more out-there. You should be able to find it at any Middle Eastern grocery store, but I heard Indian grocery stores have it too, as well as Whole Foods and some regular supermarkets (look in the “ethnic foods” aisle). Continue reading

Vegetarian Pajeon (Korean Pancakes)

I think Korean food is just naturally yummy. From all-you-can-eat samgyeopsal—which is pretty much the only meat I’ll really and truly miss!—to freshly-cooked bibimbap. Korea seems to produce a lot of good stuff: K-Pop idols, pajeon, samgyeopsal, K-dramas, pajeon… Whoops. I guess it shows you what I’ve been thinking about lately: pajeon, or Korean pancakes. Not like I’m ever not thinking of food. (Wait, what?)

My mom makes a really good vegetarian pajeon. She came up with the recipe herself, so it’s pretty unique.

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I love these Korean pancakes so much because you can actually see and taste the vegetables inside. Taste them. I think a lot of vegetarian dishes forget about the fact that “vegetarianism” and “vegetables” should go hand-in-hand. Instead, veggie burgers and fake meats get pushed on me, and I always have to push back with a big “Yuck! Those are disgusting!”

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Two of the key ingredients for both the sauce and the pancake batter are gochujang (hot pepper paste) and the vegetable pancake mix. You should be able to find them at any Korean market or general Asian market. Please please please don’t forget these—your Korean pancakes just won’t be the same without them! I’m trying to save you from impending culinary doom!

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Watching Mom make it, I realized that it’s not actually that difficult. Also, it tastes good. Very good.

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We experimented a little on the sauce, adding gochujang to it for some more flavor. Luckily, nothing exploded… except the flavor. At least you’ll have a unique sauce to go with your Korean pancakes!

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Vegetarian Pajeon (Korean Pancakes)

Ingredients

For the sesame soy sauce

  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
  • ½ tablespoon sugar
  • ½ tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste) ~ this is optional, but it makes it unique! It tastes great, too!

For the pancakes

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups vegetable pancake mix
  • 2 cups water ~ you may need more or less depending on the package directions for the vegetable pancake mix
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang (hot pepper paste)
  • 1 red bell pepper, thinly julienned
  • 2 small-sized zucchini squash, thinly julienned OR 1 large zucchini, thinly julienned
  • 3 cups matchstick carrots
  • 3 stalks green onions, chopped

Directions

  1. In a small bowl, combine ingredients for sesame soy sauce and mix. Add in half of the chopped green onions as well as sesame seeds, then set aside.
  2. Heat oil in a skillet.
  3. Place 2 cups vegetable pancake mix with 2 cups of water in a bowl. If your package of vegetable pancake mix wants you to use a different amount of water, follow their instructions instead. Mix well until there are no lumps. Then mix in the gochujang.
  4. Add vegetables into the batter. Mix well.
  5. Scoop out ½ cup of batter mixture and pour into the skillet.
  6. Fry the batter mixture on both sides until browned and crispy.
  7. Serve with the sesame soy sauce and enjoy!

Broccoli Fried Rice

If there’s one thing I absolutely love, it’s fried rice! Whenever my mom makes it, the aroma brings me straight to the kitchen. After a party we had, our fridge had a giant tub of fried rice left over. Guess what I ate for the next two days? The egg rolls that we also had left. My mom thinks it’s weird that I like fried rice so much. And to that I say, Mom. How could you not love fried rice?

Okay, so actually my mom does like fried rice. I mean, she’s the one who made this! My mom has been such an important figure in this blog it’s not even funny. She’s the one who can cook, so she’s a pretty important piece to the puzzle! She’s just not a very good teacher, since I still can’t cook well. But if it means anything, I can crack an egg!

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The great thing about fried rice is how versatile it is! It’s usually made from leftover rice, it’s easy to bring for baon (Tagalog for “packed lunch”), and it’s great to snack on! Especially snack on… Isn’t that its whole purpose?

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When my mom and I made this fried rice, I thought it was fun making a hole in the center to crack the egg. Maybe it’s just me, but those little things are kind of exciting. (It shows how much I do in my life.)

Okay, I’ll stop talking now. I know all you care about are the pictures… and maybe the recipe.

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Broccoli Fried Rice

  • Servings: up to 5 people… or one <em>very</em> hungry person
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Ingredients

For the fried rice sauce

  • 4 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon vegetarian stir fry sauce (or vegetarian oyster sauce)
  • ½ tablespoon sesame oil
  • ½ tablespoon sugar

For the fried rice dish

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped broccoli
  • ½ cup peas and diced carrots
  • 1 handful chopped green onions
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 cups cooked jasmine brown rice
  • pinch of black pepper

Directions

  1. Mix the fried rice sauce ingredients in a bowl completely and set aside.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a wok.
  3. Add broccoli, peas, carrots, and green onions—but be sure to leave some for garnish. Stir fry.
  4. Make space in the middle of the wok and crack 1 egg. Stir the egg, then mix the egg with the vegetables.
  5. Add 3 cups of cooked jasmine rice. Stir fry with the egg and vegetables.
  6. Make space in the middle of the wok and crack the remaining egg. Stir the egg, then mix the egg with the rice and vegetables.
  7. Add fried rice sauce gradually. Continue to stir fry.
  8. Add a dash of black pepper. Stir fry.
  9. When everything is mixed and cooked, serve in small bowls and garnish with the rest of the chopped green onion.

Udon Stir Fry with Bok Choy and Vegetables

I’ve always loved udon noodles, whether it was in a stir fry or in a soup. Maybe that was a product of living in Tokyo as a baby, but I’m not sure. Maybe a love for udon noodles—or noodles of any kind—is just ingrained into anyone with the slightest bit of Asian blood? It’s completely possible, and I don’t see any scientific evidence disproving my theory!

Stir fried noodles are pretty common in my household. I mean, how can you go wrong with the delicious taste of udon noodles with vegetables? There’s something simply enticing about getting a steamy, mouth-watering bowl of noodles. Each time you go in with your fork (or chopsticks), you get a different flavor from all the vegetables. Sometimes you get a crunchy vegetable. Other times you get a soft vegetable. You can even get a vegetable that’s soft on top and crunchy on the bottom, like bok choy!

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The great thing about bok choy is everything is that, like udon noodles, it soaks up the flavors around it, from the sweet stir fry sauce, to the taste of the freshly cut carrots, and to even the savory mushrooms.

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The best part about this udon stir fry is that it’s super easy to make and doesn’t even take very long. You’re still eating a kind, vegetarian diet, as well as being quite healthy. It’s pretty much a win, win, win, win.

If you really wanted to, you could probably throw in some tofu! Mmm, now I’m hungry again…

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Udon Stir Fry with Bok Choy and Vegetables

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 ½ cups matchstick carrots
  • 1 red bell pepper, julienned
  • 1 package buna-shimeji mushrooms (can be substituted with shiitake/baby portobello mushrooms)
  • 4 baby bok choy
  • 1 package udon noodles
  • 2 tablespoons vegetarian stir fry sauce (or use vegetarian oyster sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

Directions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a wok, then add the minced garlic.
  2. When the garlic is a little brown, add the carrots, bell pepper, mushrooms, and bok choy.
  3. Stir fry until the vegetables are tender.
  4. Add the udon noodles and pour on the stir fry sauce and soy sauce.
  5. Stir fry until you are happy with the texture of the udon noodles. Adjust the amount of sauces you use according to taste.

Time to Eat. (Welcome!)

I’m Joshua, and I’m half-Filipino and half-white. You could say it’s both a blessing and a curse.

Aside from cultural confusion, others’ inability to guess my race, and being monolingual, I have food; a mix of multiple cultures contributing to my status as a citizen not only of the United States and the Philippines, but my status as a citizen of the world. As an international person, I enjoy international food, as does my mom, dad, and younger brother Jude. There’s just one catch.

We eat veggies.

My mom and I are plant-eaters. Well, transitioning to a completely plant-based diet with occasional egg and dairy. When we decided to go mostly vegetarian in January, we began a journey almost incomprehensible to people.

Many people think of vegetarianism as a bunch of finicky hipsters eating salads for every meal. I’m here to change that. Vegetarians have fun too, and vegetables just as good (if not better) than meat!

Bok Choy and Broccoli is a quirky vegetarian blog where Eastern and Western cultures collide, creating a tempting, rebellious explosion of flavors known as “vegetarianism.” Being a plant-eater has never been more fun!

It’s time to change the perception, one mouth at a time.

Bok Choy and Broccoli  (english)

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