Food La La: Vegan Hot Pot at Cha No Ma
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
I’ve been craving hot pot for a while but wasn’t sure if there was a vegan option. After doing a quick Google search, I was excited to learn about Cha No Ma on Kapahulu Avenue and their vegan hot pot special.
Owner Shigeto Morooka, pictured above, said he wanted to create a hot pot dish specifically for vegans and anyone else who wants a healthy, clean meal.
Cha No Ma is cute and cozy with displays of intricate tea cups and artwork.
There’s also a play area to keep children happy and occupied, perfect for parents on a date night.
The Vegan Set ($18.50 per person) is filled with tons of organic vegetables, organic tofu and vegetable gyoza. I love the variety of mushrooms!
This is the Vegan Set for two people.
All the broths at Cha No Ma — original, miso, soymilk, spicy, curry and shoyu — are infused with kampo and organic Taiwanese mountain tea called shan lin xi. They broths are all vegan, except for the spicy. I was disappointed since I love spicy food, but Shigeto brought out tons of red pepper flakes for me to add into my broth. I chose the soy broth and the shoyu broth; Shigeto adds tons of herbs into the broths as well as dates and tea Leaves.
“Tea leaves are edible and good for your health”, explained Shigeto.
Both were filled with lots of flavor and went great with the vegetables.
The soy milk is added separately after the vegetables have time to cook a bit. Make sure to turn the heat down so that the milk doesn’t burn!
There are two types of homemade sauces available, but only the ponzu sauce is vegan (the other sauce has mayonnaise in it). However, the broths were so flavorful that I barely used any of my sauce.
Towards the end of the meal the set comes with a choice of zosui (not vegan) or udon, so I got the udon.
Cha No Ma is located at 829 Kapahulu Ave. They are open from 5 to 9 p.m. Wednesdays through Sundays. I will definitely be back for more delicious hot pot!
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about all things vegetarian for the Pulse. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.