ChuChai, located at 4088 St-Denis St., offers a variety of vegan and vegetarian Thai options.
The entrance of the restaurant is quaint but once you push through the large black curtains, the room opens up into a well-lit dining area. One wall was lined with bottles of alcohol from their drink menu and, facing the bar, a beautiful wall covered in a black and white mural. The soundtrack playing in the background was something to be noticed; they played recent pop songs, but also mixed in some classics from the 70s and 80s.
ChuChai’s menu instantly drew me in online when I noticed their large variety of mock-meats, from dishes composed of noodles and mock-duck to wonton soups made with soy-based proteins. As a vegan, I am always interested in finding affordable options that are reminiscent of meals I loved before.
My mother and I chose to order a variety of appetizers, entrees and desserts so we could try as much as possible. For an appetizer, I enjoyed a mock-shrimp platter that looked and tasted like real shrimp, and even had my mother questioning whether it was real.
The price point is a little high, but for the portions and quality of ingredients, it is definitely worth it. For our main meals, my mom ordered an eggplant dish ($16) with a side of rice and I ordered a rice noodle dish with vegan duck ($17).
Lastly, we ordered dessert. I had a tapioca pudding made with coconut milk ($7)—which I enjoyed slowly because it tasted so good—while my mother ordered a chocolate pudding ($6).
I have a severe peanut allergy and they serve dishes with peanuts so I was a little worried when ordering. However, the server assured me everything was cooked separately and while she couldn’t make any guarantees, there has never been an incident at the restaurant concerning allergies. She simply suggested it would be best to always come right when they open so there’s less chance of cross-contamination from other dishes.
Overall, the food would trick any non-vegan or vegetarian into thinking they were eating meat. It’s a unique way to make traditional Thai cuisine accessible to all.
Photos by Amanda Teixeira