Chopfuku’s new vegan menu is a feast waiting to happen
You might not expect to find a sushi restaurant in a strip mall amid a sprawling golf course and several mobile home parks east of Taylorsville. Yet, if you’re driving east along 4500 South, your eyes might catch a glimpse of the large red letters of the Chopfuko marquee. Those who follow the restaurant on social media are familiar with the name—which means “lucky chop chop,” the knife-cutting sound—and those red letters. Chopfuko’s Instagram feed showcases a slew of colorful and elaborate sushi and Asian dishes, but when they posted teasers of a vegan menu in the works, they had my full attention.
Thoa Hoang, who owns the restaurant with her husband, Van Tran, shared the inspiration behind the new vegan menu with me. She wanted to make sure the Buddhist elders in her family could enjoy a vegan feast. “We have a Buddhist background,” Thoa says. “There are religious dates where they would go vegan for a whole day, a week or a whole month.”
Since the younger generations in her family don’t necessarily eat vegan on religious holidays, Thoa said, “It’s pretty tricky to think of a place where I can take them where we can all eat.” Having a full vegan menu was important, and she wanted her family to enjoy an appetizer, salad or soup, and an entree. At other Asian restaurants, her parents and grandparents could only find a vegan entree. “I want them to have a full meal,” she said, not just one or two dishes.
Thoa and Van assure me the vegan menu will expand as the two kitchen magicians on staff, Chef Ty and Chef Long, continue to create new dishes. They both enjoy the challenge of composing new menu items, such as the off-menu special treat they prepared for me: a traditional Buddhist monk’s meal of glass noodles, mushrooms, veggies and tofu.
Vegan appetizers include the edamame ($4.99), which I recommend with the spicy garlic flavoring, and the tempura tofu and shikishi ($5.99), served with a sweet chili sauce. Or try the pan-fried veggie gyoza ($4.99) or tofu kabobs ($5.99), flavored with lemongrass and served with sweet chili sauce.
The tofu salad ($9.99) promises to be both filling and refreshing, topped with tempura tofu and crispy wonton chips served with plum dressing. There’s also the seaweed salad ($3.99) and sunomono salad with cucumber, vegan imitation crab and sweet Ponzu sauce. If you’re in the mood for soup, good luck choosing between gyoza soup ($5.99) and tom-yum soup ($5.99).
I tried the okra roll ($10.99), which was a satisfying combination of avocado, asparagus, cucumber, okra and brightly flavored pickled beet, wrapped in green soy paper. When is the last time you enjoyed a California roll? Vegan imitation crab, avocado and cucumber will bring you back to the first time you tried a maki roll. I can’t wait to taste the Cha cha roll ($11.99) with onion rings, asparagus, topped with tempura vegan imitation crab and lemon, drizzled with Korean sauce.
Both of the entrees I sampled were delicious. The Sally Sally ($13.99), named after a favorite vegan customer, consists of stir-fried seasonal vegetables, okra, pickled beets and lotus root dressed with a sweet and savory orange teriyaki sauce, served with rice. The tofu steak ($13.99) was impressive. Marinated with a flavorful miso sauce and grilled, the texture and flavor were perfect. Served with stir-fried vegetables and rice, this simple dish was my favorite.
If you’re not following Chopfuku on Instagram, remedy that immediately. Then, get in the car and travel to Taylorsville (yes, that’s right, Taylorsville) to enjoy a tasty vegan feast
Chopfuku Sushi Bar and Asian Fusion
4546 S. Atherton Dr. (815 West)
Ste. 107, Taylorsville