Sisters Seon Mi and Seon Joo Lee, vegetarians from meat-loving South Korea, established Yong Green Foods in late 2009. Adapting elements of Korean, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese, Indian, Mexican and Italian cuisines into a unique menu with an emphasis on raw and wholefoods, the restaurant was an almost instant success. Word spread quickly about their diverse and super-healthy menu, and in less than a year they’d taken their first culinary award (Vegetarian Victoria’s Restaurant of the Year, 2010).
On a roll, the hardworking duo are showing no sign of slowing down. The Lees are now in the final stages of creating a new macrobiotic menu to complement the existing one: fried lotus root, pickled daikon and mock tuna with sesame seeds, with the promise of much more to come. The raw menu, which includes their signature dish rawsagne, is completely organic, vegan and gluten free. The Lees make their own almond milk and fresh fruit smoothies, which are available along with a selection of intriguing Asian teas.
As far as cooked food goes, some favourites include the housemade kimchi gyoza, the chickpea korma with beetroot walnut dip and Korean barbecue with mock beef. The desserts are low fat and largely vegan friendly. Tragically, the popular green tea ganache had already walked out the door on the evening of our visit, but the vanilla soy ice cream with sweet, sticky red beans turns out to be a worthy contender.
We leave Yong Green happier and maybe just a little healthier than we arrive.