Kokio Republic Tofu Balls and a Moffle Waffle

Kokio Republic Tofu Balls and Fries

This is what summer should be made of – a beautiful, not-too-hot, not-too-cold day in San Francisco, sitting on a Japantown curb eating tofu balls and fries from Kokio Republic, a Korean fried chicken food truck at the Nihonmachi Street Fair.

Pictured is the number 5 combo: 3 tofu balls, garlic fries and a drink for 12 bucks. Great flavor and texture inside with a mildly sweet glaze on its crispy outside. The deep-fried tofu balls are made with shiitake mushrooms, bell peppers, roasted flaxseeds and topped with a soy garlic sauce, veggie mayo and parsley. It’s marked vegetarian on the menu but I asked and it’s also vegan.

Kokio Republic Tofu Balls

The super nice order taker knew enough to leave off the cheese on the fries to make them vegan too. My fries didn’t come with any garlic but maybe it was mixed with the cheese and got left off. It didn’t matter much as the fries were perfectly fine on their own.

I shared a couple of bites of a tofu ball and the fries with little omnivore foodies and got a big thumb’s up all around. After scouting out all the different food options at the street fair, everyone got what they wanted for lunch at different vendors and no one had to compromise on where to eat.

Vegan Banana Cream Moffle Waffle

For dessert, Moffle Waffle, a waffle made out of mochi. It’s been years since I’ve last eaten a waffle, making the moffle with its crunchy exterior and chewy interior, a rare and extra fun treat.

They had a vegan Moffle combo right there on the menu – Vegan Banana Cream – banana with chocolate sauce and coconut whip, regular size for $7. You can also create your own combo, the moffle and a number of different toppings are clearly marked vegan and gluten free.

Vegan Banana Cream Mochi Waffle

I was pretty stuffed after polishing off that moffle. Nothing like stuffing your face with fried food and a dessert waffle at a summer street fair in the city by the bay.

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A Notable Bite of Orange Crumb Cake

Vegan Orange Crumb Cake
No matter how many times it happens, it’s still a thrill to stumble across vegan treats when you least expect it.* This time it’s at the downtown Palo Alto farmer’s market. I was moseying along the various booths, when I came upon Notable Bites and their display of crumb cakes and shortbread.

As usual, I automatically ask, “is it vegan?” All of the crumb cakes are, sadly the shortbread are not, they’re still working on veganizing that recipe. I got the orange crumb cake, piled high with a sweet crumb topping that was a 1/4-inch thick. The cake itself isn’t overly sweet but nice, fluffy and light. And it was a pretty good size too, at 3.5-inch x 2-inch x 2-inch for 5 bucks.

Vegan Orange Crumb Cake
They also have gluten-free crumb cakes as a diy baking mix for those with allergies, it’s also egg, dairy, nut and soy free. Turns out the already baked gluten-free version dried out by the time it got to the farmer’s market. Rather than serve a less than optimal product, they offer the baking kits complete with its own baking pan.

I don’t really eat crumb cake all that often, but something about it seemed vaguely familiar. It took me awhile to remember since it was so long ago. But before I was vegan, I loved the coffeecake at Hobee’s, a small SF Bay Area chain restaurant known for their world-famous blueberry coffeecake. They had a location in San Luis Obispo way back when I was in college (since closed). But what a nostalgic treat to have stumbled across Notable Bites. Now I can have my crumb cake and eat it too.

* Remember when this happen with the spinach bolani?

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders
With summer right around the corner, it’s time for something that’s a little more bar-b-quey. And not just any ol’ bar-b-que thing but something a bit tropical. Something like Hawaiian BBQ pulled jackfruit sliders.

I’ve made jackfruit plenty of times before, from BBQ pulled jackfruit sandwiches to taquitos and tacos and even a Chinese 5-spice version served with snowy white steam buns. But then I made the Sweet and Savory Jackfruit Carnitas Tacos from the cookbook Vegan Eats World by Terry Hope Romero, I really liked the method used there, not to mention the very tasty results.

So I’ve adapted that recipe for these sliders. What I liked is the fairly easy prep, although you do have to plan ahead for the overnight marinate. And it’s a relatively short cooking time (for jackfruit) plus you can eat it as soon as it’s done cooking, all the more time to spend outside basking in the sunshine.

Below is the adapted recipe, to see the original jackfruit carnitas taco recipe click here.

Hawaiian BBQ Pulled Jackfruit Sliders
Makes about 8 sliders
Jackfruit preparation adapted from Vegan Eats World

1 20-oz can young, green jackfruit in brine
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
1/8 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup pineapple juice mixed with 1/2 cup water
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon liquid smoke

Drain and wash the jackfruit in several changes of water. After washing, squeeze out as much water as you possibly can and shred the jackfruit by hand. Place in a medium sized mixing bowl and add the brown sugar, garlic powder, onion powder, ground coriander, cumin, cinnamon, salt and pepper to taste and mix well, rubbing the spices into the jackfruit.

Whisk together the pineapple juice water, garlic, ketchup, soy sauce, lime juice and liquid smoke. Pour over the jackfruit, mix well, cover and let it marinate in the fridge overnight.

The next day, dump the jackfruit into a pot and bring to a rapid simmer for a couple of minutes and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 45 minutes, partially covered and giving it a stir occasionally. There shouldn’t be any liquid left but it also shouldn’t appear to be dried out. The jackfruit should be moist and just right for putting on a bun.

While the jackfruit is cooking, make the mango salsa. You can also substitute a half cup or more of pineapple instead of the mango or use both mango and pineapple.

Mango Salsa

1 ripe mango, peeled and diced
1 tablespoon red onion, very small dice
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
A few sprigs of cilantro, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine the ingredients, season to taste and gently mix together. Chill until ready to serve.

To serve, the jackfruit can be eaten as is or fried up in a skillet with a little oil (lazy me usually opts for as is). You can also toss the jackfruit in bbq sauce if so desired. Serve on buns with the mango salsa.

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