We are coming to an end soon with our time in London, and this means our food adventure is also dwindling down. Cook Daily may be the last place we take a chance on, but we’re sure glad we did. This small vegan joint in Boxpark at Shoreditch is very popular with locals and visitors and non-vegans, too. We were a bit hesitant at first because of the hype, as we tend to dislike what the majority likes. But in this case, we were pleasantly surprised and happy about the food. Cook Daily is an Asian-fusion place, focusing on Laotian and Thai food and spices, which is why I was interested in the first place.
The owner/chef is Laos-British, and he is very passionate about veganism. You can tell just by stepping inside the place as you pass the “No Blood, No Bones” sign outside and the locker plastered with a myriad of vegan-message stickers.
Stepping inside Cook Daily we were welcomed by hip-hop music, and the aroma of spices pervaded us, tantalizing us into hunger. With only a few seats inside the place, the food options are plastered in large print on the wall with pictures to go with it. After you make your selection, you order at the counter and pay. The food is made fresh, and you have to wait a little bit, but it’s totally worth it.
Nick and I both ordered one of the popular dishes, Yoga Fire. This tasty, spicy and flavorful dish is concocted with spiced chickpeas and mung beans that are simmered in a golden (turmeric) coconut milk, topped with a good mound of mixed veggies, steamed plantains and sweet potato over a 50/50 combo of brown rice and quinoa. The bowl may not look big, but it is plenty of food. It is both hearty, and you get your money’s worth. The veggies were blanched, the flavors explosive and balanced, and the combination of the bowl was just perfection. I can’t explain how good the food was. Even after the next day we were dreaming of eating there again — which we will return shortly once or twice again before we leave.
Because we came towards closing we were given free banana/cacao and banana/wheatgrass smoothies. They were simple but so delicious. We were pleased because it’s the first time we’ve gotten smoothies out that really met our standards. It was thick, full of flavor, and made a good dessert.
Another bonus is that they sell banana wrap with sticky rice and red beans. Seeing these, we didn’t hesitate to buy some for later. These can be eaten as a snack or as desserts, and having one is not enough. This made me nostalgic of my mom who makes these in large batches for Nick and I every time we visit my parents. She knows we love these banana wraps and treats us every time to them. The ones at Cook Daily is stuffed with plantains and red beans, but my mom uses baby bananas or taro with the beans, and the sticky rice is flavored with coconut milk. We both thought CD’s version was pretty darn good, but we still like my mom’s wraps better.
Taste-wise, Cook Daily serves the most delicious vegan food in the city. The food is well-executed, and we love the unpretentious environment. It’s so laid back, and the workers are super friendly. If you’re in London and haven’t tried Cook Daily yet, you are missing out! Vegan or not, locals love this place. And now we understand why visitors also flock to this place. If you’re visiting London and want superb Asian eats, this is the place. This should not be missed!