Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Vegan Place Does a 180 with Thai Food

The Wheel of Life does Thai food with a vegan twist
(image via Yelp user brianna s.)
It’s always weird to see imitation meat dishes offered at vegetarian restaurants, because after having spent years off the stuff, it’s kind of hard to look at a menu and decide that (faux) ribs suddenly sound good for lunch. Any of this hesitation, however, flies out the window when I visit The Wheel of Life restaurant.

Tucked modestly away in a plaza in Irvine, The Wheel of Life boasts that it uses soy meats “specially made from our own recipe” in an effort to promote healthy eating that’s low fat, no cholesterol and organic. I know, it sounds as delicious as a piece of cardboard, but when you enter the cozy restaurant, do me a favor and wander over to the steamers with different dishes and allow yourself to get lost in the colors, fragrances and textures that are being offered.

The menu is extensive with Thai dishes, with everything from the traditional Beef Broccoli (veg beef, broccoli and mushroom sauce) and Pad Thai (veg chicken, rice noodles, tofu, bean sprouts and peanuts) to seemingly off the wall items like veg BBQ spare ribs, savory nuggets, or potato wedges. What ties all these items together is the freshness and creativity of the ingredients, and the quality in its preparation.

The Wheel of Life restaurant is located in Irvine
(image via Yelp user Anita L.)
I’m not alone in being a fan, Yelp reviewers gave it four out of five stars (out of total of 227 reviews). A common comment was that the meat “didn’t taste like meat” and I guess I should throw out this disclaimer for meat eaters: soy is not going to taste exactly like meat. It may come close by still tasting good and filling you up, but just like diet soda, it’s an alternative to the real thing and therefore a horse of a different color (not literally, thank goodness).

If you have a chance to go, I recommend going during their lunch special, which is Tuesday through Friday, from 11 am to 2 pm. You can choose a two or three item combo that includes fried rice, chow mein and a beverage. That way you can sample a little bit of everything they offer and realize you can have your (soy) ribs and eat them too.

The Wheel of Life
14370 Culver Dr., Ste G
Irvine, CA 92604
(949) 551-8222

1 comment:

  1. I like the Wheel of Life! Haven't been there in a while. Hard to talk people into eating Thai food with faux meat and I've tried.