Feed Me: Joy Yee (Haven for Vegetarians, Delight for Carnivores)


Hi there,

I used to think that I was averse to vegetarian food.  Sacrificing my meat was quite a hard thing for me at one time, even though I only have to do it once every two weeks out of respect for my parents’ Buddhist faith.  So, for just one day, I wean myself off beef, fish, poultry, game, and any other living creature that a carnivore would devour.  Luckily, there are some mighty tasty vegetarian restaurants out there- – that don’t go overboard with the deep frying.  If anything, it’s the most innovative and creative type of cuisine.  How to impart flavour without the drippings of a succulent piece of meat?  This place has found a way.  It is like a hybrid Asian restaurant which serves vegetarian sushi and other East Asian delights like Thai curries and Chinese Fried Rice.  The perfect blend of spices is used and they also put their science and chemistry know-how to good use.  Take for instance, the ‘sashimi’, it’s actually made from coconut jelly.  Its texture comes quite close to the real thing. Taste could be improved slightly, but there is a meatiness  from it that I must commend them for.   The other mock meats are made from gluten and have the appropriate texture through various cooking methods: grilling, marinating, pan frying, stewing, deep frying it, etc.  Food dyes are added and the ‘meats’ and cut into the recognizable shapes we associate with the real thing.  The completed foods look stunning, like an artist hand crafted each of the vegetarian pieces of food.  For instance, the taste of BBQ ‘pork’  is recreated with these glutenous based ‘meat’.  When I place it in my mouth, it throws my brain wiring for a loop.  However, some things need tweaking: the curries were quite watery and not rich and creamy like it should be.  It was also quite tame with the spiciness.  The fluffy fried rice on the other hand, was cooked perfectly, seasoned well, and to my surprise, grease-less.

Without  any more blabbering, here’s my take on Joy Yee in Richmond Hill, York Region:

California Roll with a ‘tuna’ salad on top: wasn’t a fan of the fruity tasting mayo mix that was placed atop of the sushi. However the ‘tuna’s’ texture was spot on, firm but yielding when bit into. However, it didn’t have much flavour to it… which would probably explain why they masked it with the mayo dressing.

 

Crispy mock pork shreds sit atop of creamy mayonnaise based dressing and a roll with avocado, cucumber, and mock crab inside. The salty flakes paired perfectly with the creaminess of the dressing and the natural sweetness from the crab and avocado. Note how they fashioned the ginger into a rosebud. Cute!

 

Inside-out sashimi roll: one of the specialities of the house. While it was beautiful to look it, it failed on taste, the ginger tucked inside the roll along with the avocado and crab meat, overpowered these items. The ‘salmon sashimi’ had an odd texture (albeit because of the use of jelly). It was also fridge-cold. Flavour wise, it didn’t even come close to tasting like salmon.  It tasted like stiffened flavourless gelatin.  I commend them for the effort, but these dish needs some patching up before I’m willing to try it again.

 

‘Meat’ Platter: almost too beautiful to eat. The chefs were able to recreate the layer of fat and rough shagginess (as if it were just cut) on the crispy ‘pork’. The fried ‘chicken’ pieces had a nice crust but not much flavour. The ‘BBQ meat’ (in red) was slightly chewy (can’t be helped because it’s a soy based/ gluten item), but had that nice smoky flavour we associate with this type of pork. Lastly the hearty, thick coins of taro wrapped in bean curd were mildly sweet and the sesame seeds added a nice crunch and toastiness to the item. Mounded in the centre were spaghetti like strands of seaweed. Stringy with a slippery texture, it tasted of the sea.

 

Thai (Yellow) Curry: a little too watery, not much spice either, but it had nice chunks of vegetables and starchy potatoes in it. The rice was soft and fluffy. However we wouldn’t order this one again.

 

Fried Rice: so light and fluffy, each grain could be picked up with your chopsticks. The long sprouts and bell peppers added a textural component and a refreshing, palate cleansing sensation. The ‘crab’ meat rounds out the dish with its light sweetness. Pineapple tidbits lend a zippy flavour to the rice and gave the dish a brightness.

2 thoughts on “Feed Me: Joy Yee (Haven for Vegetarians, Delight for Carnivores)

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