Food La La: Satori offers pop-up vegan dining
BY LINDSEY MURAOKA / Special to the Star-Advertiser
There are only six vegan restaurants on Oahu that I know of — and I frequent all of them often. They’re good, but sometimes you just want to try something new!
That’s why I was excited to learn about Satori Hawaii, a weekly vegan pop-up restaurant at the Soto Mission of Hawaii, 1708 Nuuanu Ave. From noon to 2 p.m. Saturdays, Chef Megumi Odin (above middle) and staffers Yumiko Kawamoto (above left) and Avi VonderHaar serve delicious and healthy six-course set lunches for $18.
Odin launched Satori last year alongside her private chef and catering business. She is the former owner of Peace Café, but decided to leave so she could focus more on her passions and expanding her culinary knowledge. At Satori, Odin serves Contemporary Shojin Ryori (Buddhist cuisine).
The menu changes weekly and is often Japanese with Asian and Western fusion influences. Last weekend’s lunch was a mix of Japanese and Korean dishes, including kimbap with TVP (textured vegan protein, made from soy) and vegetables; fresh kimchi with konbu and pickled shiitake; soondubu (tofu soup) with Chinese cabbage, zucchini, mung beans, kabocha, and ginger; homemade sesame tofu with black sesame sauce; corn taro fritters with spicy sauce; and japchae (long rice noodles) with celery, cabbage, carrot and shiitake mushrooms.
Each dish was light yet full of flavor. My favorites were the homemade sesame tofu with the incredibly creamy sesame sauce and the kimbap!
Each dish was beautifully detailed due to Chef Odin’s experience as a food stylist in Japan for over 15 years. All produce used at Satori are either organic and or locally grown. Onions and garlic are not used in any of the dishes due to religious reasons. As I began to eat, I started to understand why the Buddhist teaching setsuna, or “living each moment to its fullest,” is so important and how it relates to the preparation of each dish. Sometimes life gets so busy that we don’t have time to sit down and mindfully enjoy a meal. I tried to make a conscious effort to be in the moment and savor every bite.
Dessert was a soft and light matcha cake made with maple syrup and topped with azuki cream.
On occasion, Satori has dinners during the week for special holidays or events. It’s best to check out their website for weekly updates.
To celebrate the start summer, on June 6 they’ll offer a special American-style brunch complete with pancakes, potatoes and vegan bacon! I will be definitely be there!
Satori is open every Saturday; cash or check only. No reservations. It’s first come, first serve with limited number of meals. For more information, visit www.satorihawaii.com.
Lindsey Muraoka blogs about all things vegetarian for the Pulse. Follow her on Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.