Posts Tagged ‘vegetarian’

Mos Burger, Sunnybank

Posted on December 5th, 2011 by Warren  |  2 Comments »

Mos Burger!

I had my first taste of Mos burger in 2007 while on holidays in Japan.  I still remember being impressed by the fusion of asian flavours with the western burger concept and the prompt and efficient table service with drinks served in real glass tumblers. So much so that I actually googled it to find out if they had any stores in Australia.

Fast forward to 2011 and Mos Burger finally arrives in Oz… and of all places in Sunnybank!  I was dissapointed though since for the first few months of it’s existence the place only sold meat burgers.  I was confident though that they would offer veggie burgers eventually… but the question was when.

So I was driving past Sunnybank Plaza one day and was looking for a quick and tasty snack and lo, the thought of check up on the veggie status of Mos Burger popped into my head.  I was ecstatic to find that they now added two vegetarian burgers on their menu.  These are the Veggie Kinpira and the Oyster Mushroom.  They are both rice burgers so if you’re not into rice you’re out of luck here.

The very (bordering on overly!) cheerful counter girl made the effort of explaining all the virtues and health benefits of kinpira in order to help me make my decision.  I ordered a Veggie Kinpira and an Oyster mushroom and tacked on a meal set consisting of a drink and fries.

After taking our number  and finding a seat, our burgers and fries arrive about 5 minutes later.

Take a number!


Mos Burger Seating area

On first seeing them, the burgers struck me as a bit small.  Compared to normal western burgers, these are tiny.  The burgers however arrived  nice and hot and consisted of two cakes of firm sticky rice kept intact with a square of nori, with the fillings in the middle.  The paper tray liner has gone to great lengths to discourage you from taking the burger out of it’s special wrapper so as not to make a mess out of your best shirt which I thought was quite funny.  It kinda reminded me of the safety placards you find on airplanes.

In case of burger juice, brace brace!

Anyways, after ensuring I had the burger safety procedures down pat, I had a bite of the Oyster mushroom burger.  First impressions are that the thick sweet soy based sauce was a bit too salty and peppery and overpowered the subtle flavours of the oyster mushroom.  As oyster mushrooms are fairly large in comparison the the rice patty, you only get about 3 of them on the burger.  And because of their chewy texture, you tend to drag all three of them out on the first bite, leaving you with an empty but saucy rice bun.  The large lettuce leaf also tended to brush sauce up against your cheeks when you took a bite.  So much for the special wrapper.

Oyster Mushroom Rice Burger ($4.55)

The kinpira was a bit more subtle tasting and easier to eat than the Oyster mushroom.  The shredded bits of seasoned burdock and carrot make this one inherently easier to eat than the oyster mushroom.  I really enjoyed the light crunchy texture of the fried burdock in amonst the rice and nori.  A most suitable combination I thought.  I’ve never seen a burdock before in person, but from what I’ve read on the interwebs, it’s some sort of thistle plant.  A tasty sort of thistle.

Veggie Kinpira Rice Burger ($4.55)

And of course the chips…  what can I say?  They were crisp hot and fresh.  The way a good chip should be!  The regular serving seemed small… maybe I should have got the large?




Overall I quite enjoyed Mos Burger.  The service is quick and friendly and the rice burgers are a unique and tasty change from the usual bread and patty style western burgers.  The servings seem smaller than usual, which means that if you’re feeling hungry you might need to order more than one.


Restaurant Details

MOS Burger on Urbanspoon


Veggie Kinpira Rice Burger $4.55

Oyster Mushroom Rice Burger $4.55

Regular Chips and Drink set $3.65


Mos burger menu (Nov 2011) Front

Mos burger menu (Nov 2011) Back


Getting that Authentic Chinese taste at home

Posted on September 13th, 2011 by Warren  |  No Comments »

Chinese vegetarian restaurants are one of my favourite places to dine as they usually have a fantastic variety of healthy and tasty food choices specifically made for the vegetarian palette.  I especially love the “mock” meat dishes that they do and how they flavour their foods.  Only a real vegetarian Chinese chef knows how to satisfy the taste buds of bona fide vegetarians!  None of this stir fried veggies in oyster sauce rubbish they try to dish out as vego in meat eating establishments!

My preference at home is to cook Chinese inspired dishes since I love the taste and I love rice.  I also love it because it can be so healthy and it is super quick and easy to cook.  However I can never seem to get the flavours right like they do in the Chinese vegetarian restauarants… I have a couple of Chinese cookbooks, but not many that really focus on vegetarian Chinese.   And because of this, I tend to run out of ideas quick and end up cooking the same old thing…

So I was rapt to have come across Jim Yang’s Ebook “Quick and Easy Chinese Vegetarian Cooking“.  It has heaps of fantastic recipes such as:

  • Kung Po Chicken vegetarian style;
  • Garlic and honey Ribs made of Bamboo and dough… Genius! ;
  • A variety of interesting Stir fries;
  • Chinese salads such as Vermicelli salad;
  • Vegetarian Wontons;
  • And the all important Vegetarian Meat! ;

Most importantly it is full of tips and techniques to get that authentic Szechuan flavour and texture!  He explains how to easily use
16 fundamental cooking techniques to cook like a professional chef, which is important for budding cooks such as myself.  As they say, teach a man to fish… or in this case cook!

What I also love is that it has pictures of all the ingredients you need.  He takes the time to explain them so that even if you’ve never heard of it before, you know what to look for at the grocery store.

Check out Jim Yang’s Ebook “Quick and Easy Chinese Vegetarian Cookinghere.

Guzman Y Gomez, Emporium – Fortitude Valley.

Posted on September 4th, 2011 by Warren  |  No Comments »

Guzman Y Gomez

Guzman Y Gomez is a Sydney institution that has recently appeared in Brisbane at the upmarket Emporium complex in the Valley.   It is one of a couple of quick service Mexican restaurants that have mushroomed up around the Valley area recently.

It is currently my favourite Mexican joint for the following reasons:

  • It’s cheap
  • It’s tasty
  • It’s filling
  • It’s casual
  • I haven’t tried the other quick serve joints…

I’d never really understood why the traditional mexican joints around here insist charging a premium for what amounts to a dollop of bland mashed beans with rice and grated cheese.  The taste vs value equation never added up.  Although I ended up full, it was more out of obligation to not waste it rather than enjoying it.  The only other Mexican joint I really enjoyed before this was in London… and I forget the name of that.


Guzman Y Gomez entry

Me and my meat eating Amigos met up for a Sunday arvo casual lunch.  Situated in the trendy and some would say pretentious Emporium complex, you would think that a casual fast food joint would be out of place amongst all the posh boutiques and pricey eating establishments.  But oddly it seems to work.  I guess the GYG market analysis found that the BMW and Audi driving crowd are also feeling the pinch of the economic downturn and are in need of some cheaper food alternatives.

One of the most annoying aspects of the Emporium complex is the parking.  There never seems to be enough of it.  You pretty much drive around the circuit till someone pulls out.  It’s the luck of the draw.  One advantage of this is you get to check out what cool cars are parked.  On this particular occasion there is a Bentley convertible and Aston Martin DBS along with the bog standard BMW, Audis, Mercedes, etc.  You also get an occasional Toyota or Holden if you’re lucky.  I am fortunate today and find a park relatively quickly when a shiny new red Merc serendipitously  pulls out.  I put my indicators on and fill the space between the Land Rover and Lexus with my bashed up Toyota.


Dining Area

Outdoor Dining Area

Entering the restaurant, I could not help noticing the open and airy atmosphere and tasteful use of rough and industrial elements.  The unfinished concrete flooring, raw red brick and rough sawn wood of the counter was modern and tasteful.  The rusty bare bulb chandalier and bench seating in the dining area all come together to give a relaxed outdoor dining experience.  This type of setup lends itself well to the mild Brisbane weather and suits this style of food.  What else could be better than having a few tacos and kicking back with some Coronas or a Frozen Margherita on a lazy Sunday afternoon?

Guzman Y Gomez Servery

We did not have to wait long before we were greeted by a friendly “Hola” to place our order.  The menu is not too complicated and features three main types of meals: Tacos, Quesadillas and Burritos.  You then simply pick one of the seven fillings available.  Apparently you can mix and match fillings too!  Unfortunately, only one of the seven fillings is vegetarian, the others being fish, cow , chicken or pig based.  The choice for Vegos is therefore simplified.  I chose 2 hard and one soft taco with vegetarian filling and a frozen margherita.

Sauce Bar

All you can grab tabasco sauce

After ordering, I was handed my drink and I then proceeded to the all you can grab condiments bar.  Being a big fan of value and all things spicy, it was love at first sight.   I grabbed a liberal amount of jalepenos and a container full of each of the three Tabasco sauces and proceeded with my table number to a nice sunny spot with good views of the rich folk passing by.

Guzman Y Gomez Frozen Margherita

Frozen Margherita

About 5 minutes later, our meals arrived.  The frozen Margherita was refreshing and slightly tangy  however seemed to lack any real kick.  I can’t be certain how much tequila they put in there in the first place, but for $8.50 you’d hope that there was a generous serving of alcohol.  It also probably doesn’t help that the slushy mixture is being churned around all day in the machine and therefore contributing to the evaporation of the all important ingredient .  So I wasn’t too impressed with what was essentially a 7 eleven slurpee.

The 3 tacos were enough for a light meal and came with a generous serving of guacamole.  I proceeded to scoop the guac into each of the tacos and placed a generous serving of Jalapenos and Tabasco on top of this.  I took a bite of the Soft taco.  They double up on the soft shell as it would be too floppy otherwise.  It was really satisfying and soft and had just the right amount of give to it.  I tried the hard taco next.  It had a good solid crunch and the toasted corn taste really stood out.  I think out of the two I favoured the cripsy texture of the hard tacos.  They have a distinctly thick and robust texture that is completely different to that of supermarket bought taco shells.

Veggie Tacos

The mixture of beans, salsa, capsicum and mushrooms was nice and chunky and had a subtle hint of mexican herbs and spices with none of the pureed blandness of other mexican meals I’d tried.  However it is helped substantially by the fresh guac and tangy jalepenos.  The addition of the Chipotle Tabasco sauce just takes it to the next level, the smokey chilli aromas complementing the savoury filling perfectly.  The other two sauces didn’t really hit the spot for me, the habenaro sauce being over poweringly hot and the green sauce being too sour.

Since this outing I have also tried the burrito and nachos and quesadillas.  The burrito is well sized and infinitely more filling than the tacos.  It is a fat foil wrapped parcel crammed full with rice, cheese, guac and the same filling as the tacos.  The tortilla that wraps it has a great texture, being soft and stretchy.  This is definitely my first choice if I’m coming here for filling dinner.

The nachos are also tasty.  It’s just corn chips with the veggie filling, guacamole, salsa and cheese.  However it’s the texture of the corn chips that makes this meal.  A nice, thick solid crunchy texture…

And the Quesadillas… I’m not really sure if there is much difference between it and a soft taco.  Just more cheese really.


You can see the trend here.  The fillings (for vegos) are basically all the same.  The difference is the outer wrapping.  I wouldn’t be buying tacos, quesadillas and burritos all in the same meal… it would be so boring!

And the Margherita is a complete waste of time.  It may as well be non alcoholic and sell for $4.00.  I’ll buy a Corona or try one of their other imported Mexican beers

However if are in the mood for a taco OR a quesadilla OR a burrito, then this is the place to come for your Mexican fix.  I enjoy it each time I come, the main issue being parking during the busy periods of dinner time and the weekends.

Restaurant Details

Name: Guzman Y Gomez
Address: Multiple Locations.  This review: Emporium – 1000 Ann Street, Fortitude Valley 4006 


3 Tacos (2 soft, 1 hard) $10.50
Frozen Margherita $8.50

Other Vegetarian Options:

Guacamole and Corn Chips $5.00
Salsa and Corn Chips $5.00
Guacamole $3.00
Vegetarian Black Beans $3.50
Rice $3.00
Corn Chips $2.00

Burritos $6.50 (Small) – $10.50 (Regular)
Quesadillas $7.50 (for 2) – $10.50 (for 3)
Nachos $10.50
Guzman y Gomez Mexican Taqueria Fortitude Valley on Urbanspoon


Posted on August 18th, 2011 by Warren  |  3 Comments »

Although here in good old Brissie vegos are pretty well catered for, it wasn’t long ago when many restaurants and people were totally ignorant of vegetarians… a novel idea, a passing fancy!

Vegetarians often got the short end of the stick when it comes to parties and functions, restaurants and the like.

‘Hi, do you have anything vegetarian in your menu?’

‘Yes, we have a salmon dish’

‘Fish is not vegetarian’

‘Oh, ok… how about some lettuce?’

Our meat eating friends were always giving us crap, which always lead to a heated debate of some kind usually containing some combination of the following:

  • You don’t eat meat??!
  • You need some Protein.
  • How do you get all your vitamins?? OMG, you’re going to DIE!!
  • What about IRON?
  • Can you eat Chicken?
  • Do you eat seafood?
  • How about egg? Oh yeah, you can’t eat egg… It’s got a baby chicken in it!
  • My friend is a vegetarian and eats fish.

And always ending with: “Why do you eat veges then? They are alive as well aren’t they??”

What is life without meat eating friends? 😛

Fast forward now to the present day Brisbane, we’re now we’re an educated, cosmopolitan lot and it shows in the number of vegetarian options available.  We have several great vegetarian restaurants (at one stage we had about eight) and most meaty restaurants these days have some great vegetarian options.  I’m going to be reviewing some of my favourites and try a whole bunch of new ones all with an emphasis on how well they cater to the vegetarian palate.  And just to liven things up I’ll also be trying my hand at some cooking and sharing some fantastic recipes I’ve come across over the years.