• vegan malaysian food @ banana leaf

    July 21st, 2008quarrygirlfarmers market, LA restaurants

    a couple times a month, i like to hit up the los angeles farmers market, grab a few beers, and eat some fine vegan food. there’s so many little stands to choose from, and almost everything i’ve eaten there has been delicious, albeit rather expensive. unfortunately, for months, i managed to overlook one of the best vegan-friendly eateries that the food court has to offer, until reading about it on yourveganmom. singapore’s banana leaf serves fine malaysian cuisine that can be veganized upon order (woo hoo!)…and what i’ve tried tastes divine.

    vegan mee goreng at singapore\'s banana leaf - los angeles farmers market
    vegetable mee goreng fried noodles (NO EGG, please!) with tofu. $8.50

    banana leaf vegetable curry at los angeles farmers market
    vegetable curry with tofu. $8.50

    yeah, yeah, yeah, this place is pricey. especially considering the fact that you’re forced to eat your meal outdoors on plastic tables, sandwiched between “sticker planet” and a vile meaty deli. but in all fairness and with personal pet peeves set aside, i can’t expect the rest of the world to share my ludicrous “i don’t like to eat dead things that have been tortured & slaughtered” mentality. so, considering the fact that this open-air section of la’s famous farmers market is a mecca for midwest and european tourists alike, i really cannot complain about the $5 premium they add to each meal. and in banana leaf’s case, the food definitely competes with the most authentic of joints. so just close your eyes, plug your ears and ignore those loud-mouthed, overweight tourists. time to enjoy some food.

    first up, the mee goreng! super tasty. be sure to order it sans egg though, you really don’t wanna look like that asshole who orders food that comes with egg and then throws a hissy fit and returns it when you realized you overlooked that minor detail. so salty, so greasy, so fattening and sooooo much tofu. it’s perfect. and i love the big plastic leaf they serve it on. it makes me feel like i’m almost eating at a restaurant. i never thought i could have so much atmosphere in a place where uniformed staff keep showing up and asking to collect my tray.

    close up of banana leaf mee goreng at los angeles farmers market

    next, by all means, order that vegetable curry. and add tofu. it’s amazing. full of tomatoes and cilantro, i don’t know if this is really malaysian or not, but it brings me to that happy place of flavorful london curry. they serve it with rice as well, which soaks up all the spices perfectly. lots of oil, fresh vegetables, lumps of tofu and painfully hot seasoning—need we say more? as the old quarrygirl adage reminds me: if it doesn’t hurt, it’s not worth eating. well, by those standards, banana leaf’s vegetable curry is definitely worth eating!

    close up of banana leaf vegetable curry at los angeles farmers market

    vegans: totally stop by the banana leaf next time you are at the farmers market. their special ethnic cuisine and plentiful vegan options will make you glad you did. just be sure to fill up on beer first, so the crappy tables and smells from surrounding meaty establishments won’t bother you…that much.

    banana leaf menu at los angeles farmers market

    banana leaf sign at los angeles farmers market

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