This Chinese-American Vegan Eatery is Changing the Meaning of ‘Fast-Food’
Warning: Come back to this article later if you’re feeling hungry. Reading on about the Lower East Side recently opened hot spot, Fat Choy is only gonna make those growls keep growing. The self-proclaimed “kind of Chinese” restaurant is doling out crave-worthy vegan fare out of 250 Broome Street and for takeout or delivery with flavor profiles like we’ve never seen before. Helmed by New York chefs Justin Lee and Jared Moeller, the inventive fast food-style grub is sure to win over even the steadfast non-vegan.
Among the diverse menu offerings, expect standouts like salt-and-pepper fried cauliflower that’s made with garlic and jalapeño and doused in a creamy shallot sauce; the “mushroom sloppy” sandwich that’s served on a house-made sesame pancake bun with mushroom ragu, Chinese slaw, and fresh cilantro; and a smashed cucumbers salad with sesame dressing and their much-adored “Leopard Sauce.” Also not to be missed are the sticky rice dumplings, pan-fried, and served with chili crisp and a red vinegar sauce. All dishes will only set you back around $6-10. There’s also a drinks menu with beer, sake, Spindrift sparkling water, and more.
“The menu is vegetable-forward, but more importantly, we’re making food that’s accessible and crave-able,” said Lee in the restaurant’s press release. To churn out its food, the eatery makes use of local ingredients from Chinatown and Union Square Greenmarket purveyors and is especially focused on their menu’s sustainability(hence, the restaurant’s plant-based slant).
For instance, those mouthwatering dumplings described above were developed as an opportunity to reduce food waste in the tastiest of manners by repurposing cauliflower cores, cooked mushrooms from stock, and other kitchen items into a dish people could get excited about. Did we mention their cooking oil is also eco-friendly? Fat Choy only uses O-Med olive oil from Granada, which is made using solar power in mills that run on burning olive pits.
Beyond the food itself, Fat Choy maintains more sustainably-minded practices such as using environmentally-responsible packaging and utensils and operating energy-efficient induction ranges. Needless to say, diners can finish a Fat Choy meal feeling good about not only what they ate, but also how it made it to their plate.
The restaurant takes inspiration from Big Wong, Vanessa’s Dumplings, and Superiority Burger, along with the chefs Moeller and Lee worked alongside in New York such as Tien Ho, Jonathan Waxman, Andrew Carmellini, Francis Derby, Mark Ladner, and Scott Bryan.
Per the company press release, the eatery also serves as a touching tribute to Lee’s grandparents, who immigrated to New York from Canton and Hong Kong, and worked in the restaurant industry. We can’t think of a better time than now to celebrate the diversity of NYC’s vegan food scene and with fast food price points, we think this might be our new takeout go-to. On that note, those dumplings are calling our name...