Finding truly vegetarian Thai food is something of an art due to their beloved and ubiquitous nam pla fish sauce: I had never eaten Thai in Paris until a couple of nights ago when a tip-off led me to Blue Elephant down by Bastille. It didn’t work out…
You certainly can’t accuse them of underdoing the décor. Even if they just had the indoor rain forest and hadn’t gone for the waterfall, that would have been quite striking, but they had both.
I had heard that they had a dedicated vegetarian menu, and indeed they had a page in their menu that really talked up their commitment to their vegetarian customers. But, you know me, I had to ask… how could they have Thai green curry when it is always made with that pre-made paste that almost always has shrimp paste and nam pla in it? Turns out that it was too good to be true: if the wait staff are to be believed, that item is indeed non-vegetarian.
Of the vegetarian items that we did order, it was a mixed bag. The rolls were good, and the cashew dish was tasty too. Unfortunately it was served inside a pineapple. OK we get it… we’re in a tropical wonderland!!!!!
But the other vegetarian plat was unpleasant and the pad thai was sloppy and may also have been tainted with nam pla. Also, everything is rather pricy here – I suppose someone has to pay for the waterfall – such as the 9€50 coconut drink. By chance, I had just bought some coconuts in Chinatown for a Euro a pop so I really couldn’t justify that luxury.
Oh well, you can’t win them all.
Cons: The food and the prices
Pros: Complementary orchid for ladies on the way out
43-45 rue de la Roquette, 75011
01 47 00 42 00
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If you’re a vegan you might recognize this routine. You ask if something is vegan. You ask another guy at the store if it’s vegan. You go away and you come back another day and you double check. You maybe even get invited into the kitchen. You discuss eggs. You discuss milk. You bring up cheese, fish juice, the whole 9 yards. Finally you are convinced it is vegan. You relax and enjoy it.
Then about a year later – for some reason you don’t really understand - you ask again. And they say… No! It’s totally full of eggs and sheep brains… who told you it wasn’t? Me??? No! My cousin!
Anyway, had a couple of disappointing revelations last week to share.
1- The bitterest of all. I scoured the Marais when I arrived here looking for the elusive chocolate filled vegan croissants promised by this joker here: guess what… I didn’t find them… or any chocolate filled vegan unicorns either. But I did find these almond croissants at the lovely Murciano Bakery on Rue des Rosiers, which were actually more like crescent-shaped marzipan pastry rather than the flaky “French Croissant.” Then last week, I just had to ask one more time in front of my out-of-town vegan friend and… guess what? Full of eggs. Barf me out …
2-Amorino. The widespread chain of Italian glaces artisanales. There’s one very close to my place, and I have been guaranteed repeatedly that the sorbets I get there are just fruit, sugar, water. Ingredient lists were checked. What could possibly go wrong?
Then the other day, I don’t know why, I had to check again and right there with my kids already holding their cups she tells me “Why no… it has milk protein in it.” Don’t think switching to their chocolate soy ice-cream is going to save you because it is full of eggs.
I hope that I don’t need to update this post with more horrors… but I will if I have to, dear vegan readers!
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