Eat Your Veggies
Who knew that Edmonton, capital city of a beef-loving province, might cultivate a soft spot for that portion of the population practicing meat avoidance? It’s a trend that will be in glorious evidence at Padmanadi, one of the trailblazers on this scene, on August 31, when the delighted-with-himself owner Kasim Kasim throws a birthday party in his own honour to which we’re all invited.
For $20, between 11 a.m. and 10 p.m., guests of this eight-year-old Indonesian vegetarian and vegan hotspot can pick and choose from a slew of delicacies that includes sweet and sour shrimp, lemongrass tofu, spicy eggplant and sweet rice pudding with sour cherry sauce. None of the dishes contains dairy products, eggs, meat or fish.
Also on the menu for Kasim’s half-century bash: an abundance of vegan cakes, like the Panmanadi’s much-ballyhooed Black Forest and carrot. “Absolutely delicious,” enthuses Kasim, who says his Buddhist faith motivated him to open the restaurant and improve the lives of his customers. He operates it with his wife, Lindawaty Lindawaty, and his brother, Kasiran Simin, a French-trained chef who spent the last two decades running kitchens in Germany.
Padmanadi, at 10740 101 St. NW in the heart of Chinatown, attracts businesspeople, students, tourists and, teases Kasim, “a lot of rock stars.” Its casual interior, resplendent in gleaming teakwood from the founder’s native Indonesia, features some 160 seats, plus 10 more out back for Edmonton’s patio season.
Bestsellers here are curried “chicken” and “mutton,” with the featured players—natch—imitations of the real thing. An ever-blazing on-site vegan barbecue produces such imposters as Indonesian chicken satay from soya beans and barbecued pork that’s actually fragrant and springy tofu.
This nod to flesh-eating convention is deliber