When planning a dinner outing with your vegan and vegetarian friends, do you always suggest a place because you know that said friends can get a salad or veggie burger? Would you want to be resigned to places where your only options were chicken fingers and grilled cheese? I like variety too much for that and want the same for my non-carnivore friends. Here are a few places sure to make both parties happy together.
Viet House on Airport Road has a large selection of meat, seafood, vegetable, and tofu dishes such as clay pots, fried rice entrees, stir fry, noodle bowls, pho, and bhan mi, in addition to several appetizers, soups, and salads. All are made with some of the most traditional fragrant flavors of Vietnam like lemongrass, garlic, ginger, cilantro, basil, and chilies. The Clay Pots are full of flavor and texture, made with rice topped with carrots, broccoli, mushrooms, baby corn, pineapple, bell pepper, onion, and your choice of beef, chicken, shrimp, pork, or tofu. Tofu has a mild, barely noticeable flavor, but it absorbs the seasonings or sauces that it is cooked with, making it a smart protein choice since it can be made to taste like basically anything! As they say, don’t knock it til you try it.
Address: 975 Airport Rd SW Suite B2, Huntsville, AL 35802
Tamarind Island Grille
Tamarind Island Grille is a Caribbean food truck inside The Camp at Mid City. They have jerk chicken, curry chicken, vegan mango chicken, fish n chips, a vegan cauliflower “chicken” sandwich, fish stew, and more. Their sides are just as tasty as the main dishes. Plus it’s a cool place to hang out, being at The Camp. Both the Jerk Chicken and Curry Chicken are exactly what I think of when I think of Caribbean flavor. This ain’t your mama’s chicken. Seasoned to perfection and beyond, I would order this again and again. But with all that said, my favorite here is the Vegan Mango Chicken. It’s hard to believe it isn’t chicken! It’s crispy outside and tender inside, a little sweet with a little heat. If you think you don’t like vegan food, this very well may change your mind. And if you haven’t tried vegan food, this is a great place to begin. Don’t leave without trying their mango lemonade and mango cheesecake.
Address: 1426 Paramount Dr, Huntsville, AL 35806
Ruchi on South Memorial Parkway is the Muhammad Ali of flavor punches. Contrary to popular belief, not all Indian food is super spicy. Don’t get me wrong; Ruchi can bring the heat if you want it, but you can order items with less heat if you are worried about it being too hot. OR you can order extra chilies and such to really heat things up, but I have found that how it is served there is at just the right spice level for me. Don’t let the interior fool you. It doesn’t look like what most envision Indian restaurants to be but the food, the most important part, is spot on. Vegan and vegetarian dishes abound here. Samosa Chat (fried pastries filled with potatoes and peas, topped with chickpeas, masala, and red onions, served with a trio of dipping sauces), Bhindi Fry (roasted okra tossed with peanuts, herbs, and spices), and about 20 other dishes made from eggplant, mushrooms, cauliflower, chickpeas, lentils, and other veggies. For the meat eaters, they’ve got chicken, shrimp, lamb, goat. They’ve got Curries, Biryanis, Dosas, Indo-Chinese dishes, and on and on. There is no way that you won’t find something you love. One of my favorites is the Chili Paneer. Indian cheese cubes cooked with onions, bell peppers, and a spicy sauce. Just don’t forget to order the Garlic Naan!
Address: 3310 Memorial Pkwy SW, Huntsville, AL 35801
Across the River in Decatur
Sushi Sumo has the best sushi in Decatur, hands down. There are cooked options in addition to the raw ones. There is even a no-rice roll for the carb and/or calorie counters. The superior quality is evident in every roll. They have Korean BBQ Rice Bowls with your choice of chicken, beef, shrimp, gyoza, or all veggie. There are fried rice dishes, agedashi tofu, Japanese cold tofu, tofu salad, soft-shell crab, edamame (pro tip: get the garlic chili edamame), karaage chicken (fried ginger chicken bites), ramen, kids rice bowls, and so much more! If you get a rice dish, I highly recommend that you get the Ebi Sauce. It’s Mr. Lee’s signature sauce and many patrons visit him just for that. It’s a cooked egg yolk mixture with some secret ingredients that make magic with the rice.
Address: 1313 Point Mallard Pkwy Suite D, Decatur, AL 35601
We may have eating preferences that differ from our friends but we don’t have to have boring dinners to enjoy each other’s company. Happy Fellowship!
Heather Prestwood is a Cullman native, now-Decatur resident, with a love for Huntsville and Madison. Particularly the food. She is a home cook who loves to feed people, talk about food, try new foods, and tell folks all about it! You can reach her by email at email@example.com and find her food posts on Facebook and Instagram by searching #HeatherEats.