Pop-ups aren’t just pizza and burgers in New Orleans. Aron Chang, Karen Wang, and Sergio Padilla, all architects by trade, have been serving vegetarian fare in a number of different venues across the city as a pop up called TSAI. Local blogger Nora in Nola has covered their activities over the past few months. TSAI started in the Dragon’s Den on Saturday nights and have since been holding a number of “TSAI House” house parties for close friends, serving up a mix of Taiwanese street food and vegetarian dishes with a New Orleans twist.
They hosted a BYO(Bowl) noodle event in August. The most recent TSAI House event in the Garden District focused on polenta, serving two different types of sauce ”” roasted eggplant walnut and blue cheese mushroom. Both were hearty and savory and were matched nicely with fresh side dishes.
The space, a friend’s shotgun house, was wonderfully illuminated, and the interior decoration really paired nicely with the food.
Two weeks ago TSAI had Brunch on the Bayou. The weather was perfect. The sky was completely clear, and the temperatures were warm but not sultry. The team set up a long table on Cabrini Bridge, which crosses Bayou St. John right in front of Cabrini High School.
The menu consisted of Taiwanese breakfast goodies that aren’t available at restaurants in the city:
The highlight of the meal was the salty soybean soup, which was created by curdling soymilk with vinegar and then adding sesame oil. Chang made shiitake mushroom beignets to substitute for the normal soup topping of pulled pork or crullers. The result was a tangy, slightly spicy soup filled with soft tofu-like soybean curdles and a savory beignet that had the rich aroma of shiitake mushrooms.
If you missed Brunch on the Bayou, make sure to follow TSAI on Facebook. The next TSAI House event is on Saturday, November 5, and they are also planning a Thanksgiving event at Zeitgeist.