Lai Wah Heen, at Toronto’s Metropolitan Hotel, continues to raise the bar in fine Chinese dining with its newly launched vegetarian menu, created by Chinese cuisine consultant, Sam Ma and head chef, Ronny Lam.
Through the use of innovative culinary techniques and combining Chinese and Western ingredients, Lai Wah Heen reinvents vegetarian cuisine with unique tastes, such as native truffle and mountain yam, shredded shiitake mushrooms with honey; and tofu-filled lotus root. This use of exotic mushrooms, vegetables and seasonings create dishes that are flavourful and, at times, unexpectedly complex for vegetarian cuisine.
“Our new vegetarian menu breaks the mould when it comes to taste, texture and presentation of vegetarian cuisine,” said Canson Tsang, director of Chinese food and beverage at Metropolitan Hotels. “Chef Ma is an expert in vegetarian dining, together with Chef Lam, they’ve created a menu that will please a wide variety of vegetarian, as well as non-vegetarian palates.”
This special menu is currently available at Lai Wah Heen, in the Metropolitan Hotel Toronto.
Here’s a teaser for even the most ardent carnivore:
Sweet and Sour Minced Mushroom Cakes with Pineapple
Bold and flavourful with a texture very similar to chicken, Lai Wah Heen’s sweet and sour minced mushroom cake dish is a prime example of Chef Ma’s vegetarian expertise. The mushroom cakes are tender on the inside and slightly crispy on the outside. With its meat-like texture, this dish is ideal for non-vegetarians, as well as vegetarians.
Crispy Shredded Shiitake Mushrooms with Honey Sauce Glaze
This dish is crafted to resemble a traditional Chinese eel dish. Shiitake mushrooms are sliced to mimic the shape of eel. The mushroom is dipped in honey sauce and finished with a sprinkle of toasted sesame seeds. Full of crispy sweet taste, this dish can be enjoyed as either an appetizer or entrée.
Pan-fried Cakes of Tofu Mousse and Lotus Root
These wheel-shaped bites are crispy outside and airy inside. Tofu mousse is layered between two slices of lotus root, then covered in batter and pan-fried to crispy perfection. Served with an exclusive homemade shiitake mushroom sauce, this dish is well-suited for either appetizer or entrée.
Braised Bean Curd Sheet Rolls with Assorted Mushrooms
This flavourful dish features braised bean curd sheet rolls filled with assorted mushrooms and garnished with black moss and asparagus. The unique filling wrapped in bean curd sheets gives the dish a fresh light taste and is perfect for sharing or as a main dish.
The new vegetarian menu also offers a variety of dishes inspired by new concepts and ingredients, including a tasty soup with seaweed and tofu; Wok-seared vegetarian bean curd sheet rolls with black vinegar; Wok-cooked red spinach with dried wolfberry seeds in supreme broth; Steamed winter melon with ginkgo nuts, truffle and assorted mushrooms; Fried egg tofu topped with enoki mushroom and spinach sauce; Wok-fried sliced mountain yam and assorted mushrooms; Steamed tofu and bamboo pith in pumpkin sauce; A thickened broth with egg white, shredded mushrooms, cucumber and vermicelli; Baked button and straw mushrooms, cabbage and broccoli topped with coconut-peanut curry; Snow pea sprouts topped with assorted mushrooms and truffle sauce; Stir-fried tofu, brown fungus and Korean cabbage and Fried folded tofu layer, coated with taro paste in a shiitake mushroom sauce.
Adam Waxman is an award winning travel journalist focusing on food, wine and well being. As well as an actor in film, television and formerly, the Stratford Festival, he is the Associate Publisher and Executive Editor of DINE and Destinations magazine.