At Adobo Dragon, chef/owner Allan Inocencio goes beyond what he calls “typical vegan fare,” i.e. vegetables, beans and a hefty dose of ho-hum. His imaginative vegetarian noodle soup ($9.50) features a broth that combines the earthy essence of doenjang – a fermented soybean paste used in Korean cooking – and guajillo chile peppers, routinely found in Mexican cuisine. “You get a lot of umami flavor from the soybean paste and smoky and peppery flavors from the guajillo peppers,” he says.
The spicy broth is brimming with delicate rice noodles, sturdy hominy, roasted mushrooms, blanched bok choy, sautéed carrots and cabbage, plus a scoop of pico de gallo topped with toasted nori. Inocencio makes the broth by sautéing onions, garlic and celery before introducing the aromatic doenjang and water. He boils the mixture for an hour and then adds a dollop of guajillo purée.
The broth’s heat index depends on what time of year the guajillos are harvested. “In the summer they’re stronger and spicier,” Inocencio says. “The soup is filling and different in such a way that it uses spices not typical of the vegan options you find in the Valley. This is a fusion of Korean and Mexican food.”
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