Chef Kenny's Vegan Dim Sum!

Chef Kenny's Vegan Dim Sum!

The Las Vegas Weekly reminded me that Chef Kenny's new vegan dim sum restaurant, which I've been anticipating since early this year, is now open. It's not the first vegan dim sum here in Vegas - Yum Cha has several dim sum items in meat and mock meat versions. But this restaurant, like Chef Kenny's other more generally Asian restaurant,  is totally vegan.

It's a nice looking interior and set up to accomodate large groups like traditional Chinese restaurants, but I'm still in takeout mode, so I ordered dim sum to go. This usually results in ordering more than I would for dine-in, but they talked me into ordering twice as much as usual. I'm not complaining - I don't ordinarily go vegan, so I wanted to try everything anyway.

First of all, everything looks like dim sum.

custard tart (dan taat)

chive and shrimp dumpling (gau choi gau)
deep-fried dumpling (haam sui gok)
custard bao (nai wong bao)
siu mai (siu mai)
sticky rice in lotus leaf (no mai gai)
shrimp dumpling (har gow)
turnip cake (lo baak gou)

There's no way to visually detect they're meatless (and eggless). But they do taste meatless. Or rather, there's no meat taste. They do have an approximation of meat texture (way before Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods, Chinese have been making mock meat), or some vegetable substitute.

I think dim sum is ideal for vegan implementation, as they combine so many elements (wrapper, filling...) and meat is not such a dominant component, as in burgers or sushi (Chef Kenny serves vegan sushi at both restaurants). In fact, I like the vegan siu mai more than regular siu mai with pork and shrimp - it's typically feels like a dense meatball to me, whereas the vegan version is more like a flavorful meatpaste ball.

Now, if  people would just learn to love dim sum. While I was waiting for my order, someone came in to order orange chicken. Broaden your horizons! (Although now I'm curious how the vegan orange chicken tastes)

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