The fixed price, multi-course dinner is something that restaurants have used to showcase their culinary skills and creativity for ages. Often, though, the menu is built around star meat dishes, leaving the vegetarian or vegan to only sample some dishes or not be able to participate at all. On May 16, Three Fold Noodles and Dumpling Co. will change all that when it hosts an 8 course, all vegan friendly meal featuring traditional Chinese culinary dishes. The dinner came about with help and inspiration from the Vegan Dinner Club, a group helping to promote vegan options in Central Arkansas. The group is open to anyone interested in vegan food.
I recently contacted Three Fold to find out how their vegetarian options fit into their menu, and why they wanted to host the vegetarian dinner. In all of these instances, vegetarian also means vegan friendly.
Dana Vickerson: Since opening, Three Fold has been a hot spot for vegans and vegetarians in Little Rock. How well do the veggie dishes perform in comparison to your other offerings?
Three Fold: At Three Fold, we provide vegetarian options as a means to encourage people to consume more wholesome foods on a daily basis. The inclusion of these options came not from the trendiness of vegetarianism, but rather our belief that vegetarian foods are a way to provide healthful sustenance to our customers. At the onset of Three Fold, one of the missions that we set for ourselves was to make food that provided wholesome, quality nutrition to people’s lives – our vegetarian menu options have helped us to see this through. Also, sales of our vegetarian menu options grew faster than we had previously estimated.
DV: The new Saturday noodles are a great addition to the menu. Are there any new changes you will be making in the future, and what would those dishes look like to vegetarians and vegans?
TF: Whenever we set out to develop a new dish, we always consider ways to turn it into a vegetarian option, as well. That’s why our Saturday Zhajiang noodles have one pork option and one tofu option. It’s a principle that we hold at Three Fold, and one that we will continue to implement in the future development, as well.
DV: Which is the most popular veg dish: the bun, the dumplings, or the noodles?
TF: The vegetarian noodles are the most popular vegetarian dish on the menu.
DV: How did you get teamed up with the Vegan Dinner Club?
TF: The Vegan Dinner Club came to Three Fold just as all other customers do, and, around the time of our opening, requested to hold the event. We’re hopeful that they will enjoy this dinner. A lot of effort went into this event, and we look forward to sharing it with them.
DV: Is Three Fold interested in becoming a regular meeting place for the Vegan Dinner Club, and how do you feel that helps the restaurant?
TF: We always welcome vegetarian customers to our restaurant – one-third of our menu is comprised of vegetarian options, and these carry an important role in our mission to provide healthful options to our customers. We really hope that we can create a place for vegetarians to enjoy both the food and environment, just as we do with any of our customers.
DV: What could other restaurants benefit by hosting their own veg friendly events?
TF: By hosting the vegetarian dinner at Three Fold, our intention is to show those with interest in vegetarian cooking how Chinese vegetarians eat and cook, both material-wise and cultural-wise. To hold an event as this, where we’re developing a menu separate from our daily offering, requires a lot of careful preparation. The reason we decided to make this dinner happen within our first four months was because our chef personally enjoys and is very good at vegetarian cooking.
The May 16 dinner is open to veggies and meat eaters alike and is sure to be a showcase of vegetarian delights from traditional Chinese culture. Just bring your appetite and desire to learn about healthy, vegan friendly cooking. You can purchase tickets online here.