A few months ago Peace Cafe (Honolulu) debuted their vegan katsu, and let me tell you, it’s one of the best damn things I’ve ever eaten!
Having been a veg-head for nearly my whole life, I’d never tried any other type of katsu, which is a Japanese-style breaded and fried protein. The Peace Cafe katsu can be made with tempeh or tofu, and they offer it as a plate (the Tofu Katsu Plate), and a side, and sometimes as a Katsu Curry Special. My preferred meal is the Heart & Seoul (a veg version of Korean Bi Bim Bap) with steamed kale, mung bean sprouts, carrots, with soft tofu and rice, and a bangin’ gochuchong sauce; to this I add the Tofu Katsu side, which comes with yummy barbecue-ish sauce, and it’s perfect and yummy, and enough food for two meals for me. No judgement if you decide, nah, it’s actually ONE meal)!
I’m a bit biased as I’ve only tried the tofu version: I do love tempeh, but something about the imagined texture of the tempeh katsu just doesn’t appeal to me; the tofu is soft among the crispy katsu coating, and I feel like the tempeh would be too dry. I might be willing to change it up one of these nights.
Peace Cafe has dozens of awesome things on the menu – other long-time favorites are the Popeye, a tahini-miso slathered tofu-spinach blend on a sandwich, the Tempting Tempeh Sandwich, or the Hanoi, a peanut-sauced based sandwich. For the gluten-freedom folks, anything can be made on a bed of greens instead of bread, making it a great option for nearly every eater. And their mochi is always a win, as is the Grain Mocha, an herbal coffee + chocolate drink that’s one of my favorite sweet treats.