Tasty Vegan Cravings at Veggie House
52 E 1700 S, SLC
Mon.–Sat.: 11 a.m.–9 p.m.
Tucked into a small parking lot just off Main Street and 1700 S in Salt Lake City is a vegan and vegetarian gem carrying Asian classics from curries to pho and sushi rolls. Veggie House is small and unassuming: a simple sign, a floral mural of its name, a shingled awning running the building’s length and an adorable chef statue beckoning you inside. Once through the door, hanging plants and potted greenery, a large, wooden communal dining table that looks welcoming and warm in the small space invites you in.
Nestled in the back, you’ll find a bar-like counter where the friendly staff will help you. The online ordering process is easy to use, their menu is fairly extensive and there are enough choices to keep pretty much everyone happy.
Until recently, I didn’t realize how many options there were for vegan and vegetarian eating in the Salt Lake Valley. When I find a culinary treasure like this one, I tend to want to try a little of everything so I get a feel for the vibe and the range of their food. With only me and a couple of roommates at home though, it was difficult to justify buying out the whole menu. Luckily, I can go back again to try the things I miss.
When I picked up my takeout order, everything smelled amazing and the flavors melded together in mouth-watering ways, even before opening a single box. The bag of compact food packets was warm and fragrant, tempting me before I was in any position to start eating.
Once I finally got to a more comfortable place for eating, we immediately dove in. The tofu lettuce wraps ($9.19) were a fun, self-serve start to the meal. The bright green lettuce was packed separately and tightly wrapped in plastic wrap, kept crisp and safe from the heat and steam of the remaining food. In another box, we found the colorful filling. The grated carrots, tender squares of zucchini, soft onions and bouncy tofu looked like springtime and made me excited for the warmer weather we are finally beginning to see. Each wrap was delicious, with scoops of savory filling adding softness to the satisfying crunch of lettuce.
Fried food of all kinds has a reputation for deliciousness, but to me, tempura is especially good. The lightness of the batter, golden brown with the interior still able to peek through, is exciting and tasty. These tempura vegetables ($10.39) were resting on a pile of light green cabbage that seemed unnecessary at first, but actually added unexpected sweetness and crunch. The tempura veggies were accompanied with a vinegary and sweet dipping sauce.
Crispy onion rings topped the plate, as indulgent and perfect as any local diner or burger dive could offer. Yams, carrots and zucchini added dimension to the flavor and color of the dish. I loved the way the yams turned creamy inside the crisp batter, conjuring memories of thanksgiving dinners and toasted marshmallows on sweet potatoes. Bitterness also joined the dish through the zucchini.
In my high school days, I developed a minor obsession with the orange chicken at Panda Express, and while my tastes have developed since then (at least a little), I am still always looking for that citrusy spice. At Veggie House, the deep-fried in orange peel with soy chicken ($11.49) satisfied my craving. The toasty brown batter was coated in a sticky sauce and nestled in with bright broccoli and white rice. I found the breading sticky and slightly soft but with good savory flavor and a sharp citrus bite. Crispy bits of fried breading added crunch and gave me the same satisfaction orange chicken always did after a swim meet or a hard day at school—maybe even a little more.
After all the fried food, I was ready for something fresh, and a sushi roll seemed like just the thing. The spicy mango roll ($11.49) was a bit messy to eat. It is drenched with spicy mayo and served with ginger and wasabi. The roll itself was a ring of brown rice and nori tucked in mango, avocado and daikon. There was a great spice that blended with the sweetness from the mango and the tart crunch of the daikon. The heat lingered a little in my mouth and made for an addictive bite.
As the meal was coming to a close, the last thing to eat was the summer roll ($9.19). Delicately wrapped like long gifts in clear rice wrappers, this roll showed off its interior—green cilantro, basil, cucumber, pink soy shrimp and white rice noodles. The coconut undertones speak to summer and add to the balance of the soft, bouncy and crunchy textures. You can take the experience to the next level by dunking the roll in the sticky-sweet sauce it comes with and taking in the combined flavor and texture.
The food at Veggie House is equally beautiful and delicious. Their vegetarian and vegan take on Asian dishes brings excitement and freshness that is worth the trip, whatever the drive. For a drive-free look at what they have to offer, check them out on Instagram @VEGGIEHOUSE_SLC.