Stickin’ to Sweet ‘Chicken,” Spicy Tofu

Veg'n Out

May 21, 2011

Story By: Dining Out Team |

Midway through your litany of questions about whether a dish is kosher to your veggie diet, your server starts hyperventilating, ready to gnaw his apron to shreds.

  • Vegetarian Fried Rice ($9.95)
  • Chef De Hui Liang and owner Yinnie Chiu
  • Salt and Pepper Tofu ($8.95)
  • Sweet Chili Vegetarian Chicken ($10.95)
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Well, you can grab that list of questions and head to Mini Garden Orient & Vegetarian Cuisine and be amazed at how owner Yinnee Chiu answers them before you can even ask.

Out comes the Sweet Chili Vegetarian Chicken ($10.95) glistening hunks of “chicken” (gluten) tossed in a Szechuan sauce with a medley of zucchini, water chestnuts, fungus strips, cabbage and carrot.

Before my lips can part to unleash their queries, Chiu breaks it down for me: “There’s no fish, oyster or shrimp product in the sauce. Some restaurants use pre-made stocks or sauces that they think are vegetarian, but if you look at the ingredients, they have egg or anchovy.

Ours is completely vegetarian. We don’t use chicken or beef broth, we use mushroom stock.”

Vegetarians learn what ‘finger-lickin’ good’ means when they dive into this dish. The sauce is zesty with some heat and sweetness that keeps those chopsticks moving.

Next to me, a couple gets up to leave, announcing they’ll return for dinner, for more Salt and Pepper Tofu ($8.95).

“It’s sooo delicious,” they croon. “They make the best salt and pepper tofu spicy but not too salty and really crispy!”

A pyramid of perfect golden squares topped with a generous heap of spices lands on my table. One square jumps into my mouth after the other, melting like butter, the tingling peppery after-taste begging for that next addictive bite.

“We have a frying pot just for vegetarian dishes” says Chiu. “The chef makes everything vegetarian separately; he respects vegetarian needs.”

Truly, Chiu and Chef De Hui Liang leave vegetarians with a tasty, hassle-free experience and at no detriment to their aprons!

(Note: Both dishes can be specially ordered as neither is on the extensive veggie menu.)

Besides being a dedicated vegetarian, Rasa Fournier also is a very capable fill-in for Terri Hefner, our regular VO writer. Terri returns from vacation next week.

Mini Garden Orient & Vegetarian Cuisine

  • Where
    • 2065 South Beretania Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96826
    • 1151 Mapunapuna Street
    • Honolulu, HI 96819
  • Call
    • (808) 946-3828
    • (808) 833-3828
  • Hours
    • Open daily
    • 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. (Beretania)
    • 10 a.m. – 8:30 p.m. (Mapunapuna)

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