It’s always fun to watch people’s reaction when you talk about a vegan butcher. Almost immediately you can see the look of confusion as they try to reconcile what exactly one would find there. While we hadn’t been to a vegan butcher ourselves, we knew immediately that Yamchops, located in Toronto, Ontario was high on our list of places to visit. Not only were we fortunate enough to try several delicious dishes, but we got to sit down with one of the owners, Toni Abramson to discuss the history of the shop.
As soon as you walk in, you’re presented with a case full of mock meats and other deli items as well as several shelves of grocery items. There are a few stand-up coolers towards the back that had quite a few options that we were familiar with and several that we had never heard of before. We learned that in Canada, you have to maintain your food labels in both English and French, which causes some companies in the US to not venture north of the border.
Sitting down with Toni and discussing veganism, the history of the shop, and how they were the first vegan butcher shop to open in North America was incredible. We look forward to seeing their expansion as a franchise and hope that they make their way into the US. If you find yourself in Toronto, make sure to grab a bite to eat at Yamchops!
What we ordered
Pulled Pork Jackfruit- The pulled pork jackfruit is something that we have been seeking out more and more as we try different vegan meat options and this was some of the best that we’ve come across. There was an incredible flavor packed into the jackfruit that would go great on a bun with some slaw and served at any backyard BBQ. We could have easily eaten pounds of it!
General Tso- The General Tso had such a great sweetness and flavor to it that it could definitely be the star of any Asian dish. We would have loved to bring this home and pair it with some rice noodles and vegetables.
Shawarma- Wow, the sauce that goes with this really ramps up the flavor of the shawarma! It would be great stuffed into a pita, covered with some peppers and onions with sauce slathered all over it. The texture was a little bit different than we would have expected but it definitely did not keep us from finishing off every last bit of it.
Beef Sechzuan bowl- We asked which dish was the most recommended and were told to go with the Beef Sechzuan bowl. This dish is a money maker right here! There is a great level of heat that plays off all of the rest of the flavors in the dish that keeps it well-rounded. We loved this so much that we brought some of it home and bought a bottle of the Sechzuan sauce as well. Neither lasted long!
Caesar salad- Aaron is a huge fan of a good Caesar salad and this one is leagues beyond some of the other ones we have tried. The dressing is what brings this dish to a whole new level. The creaminess of the dressing covered the salad really well and the flavor was out of this world. It was topped with their homemade coconut bacon, which gave a great crunch.
Moroccan Quinoa salad- We don’t usually eat this type of food, so we went into it with a completely blank slate. The flavors and the spices were extremely well balanced and it definitely felt like it could be an authentic Moroccan dish.
Pasta salad- One of the hidden gems of the day, there was a nice level of heat at the back end of the dish. Really though, how can you go wrong with pasta, vegetables, and dressing?
Tuna salad- This tuna reminded us of what tuna salad used to taste like back in the day and we think it’s because of the nori that’s mixed into it. It really gives it that expected “fishy” taste to it. It would be great as a tuna melt!