December 19, 2011

Sandwich Quest: Govinda’s Vegetarian Chicken Cheesesteak

Vegetarian food has intrigued me in recent months. The interest mainly lies in expanding my cooking abilities by learning other techniques and recipes. What better way to learn which vegetarian food I like than by sampling some on Sandwich Quest.
Counter at Govinda's

So far, the only vegetarian fare on Sandwich Quest has been the falafel from Magic Carpet. This is not a real test of vegetarian food from my perspective. Give me the “chicken” and “steak” concoctions.

In the comment section of the first post about Sandwich Quest, reader Kristen said we had to try the “chicken cheeseteak" at Govinda’s Gourmet Vegetarian at South and Broad. You got it, Kristen.

This non-vegetarian was very disappointed. The consistency was fine, the bread was great, but the sandwich lacked all flavor. My food endorphins were nowhere to be found.

"It's missing something" is what I kept telling myself on my walk home. I attributed this to not having real chicken and the juice and flavors that come from it. Or maybe I should have said yes to mayo, but I rarely get mayo with any sandwich. A neighbor did mention that Govinda's does not use onions or garlic, which I would also think contributes to the lack of flavor.

It was quite a disappointing experience since I had high hopes.

Maybe it's just Govinda's? After all, this was the first fake cheesesteak of my life so I have no baseline on how it is supposed to taste. I assume as close to the real thing as you can get, right?

I'm not going to give up after only one failed quest. The vegetarian chicken and steak portion of Sandwich Quest therefore rolls on. Row Home Eats suggested the Philly cheesesteak at Sabrina’s Cafe, while Jennifer A. of Married to a Meat Eater mentioned the seitan cheesesteak at Blackbird Pizza. Any other suggestions?

Govinda's on Urbanspoon


Taylor said...

Depending on how you look at it, the great thing or problem with vegetarian cheesesteaks is that they are all drastically different. This is because the base “meat” can be made out of many different things (mushrooms, tofu, seitan, tempeh), from different providers/recipes (tofu, seitan, tempeh), and are seasoned and adorned in 1001 variations. Each vegetarian cheesesteak in this city is truly a unique and different sandwich. That being said, I’m very fond on Blackbird’s seitan cheesesteak, as far as veggie cheesesteaks go, but my favorite from Blackbird is their barbeque portobello sandwich.

Aunt Kathy said...

Livia agrees with the Sabrina's reco. She's been there three times and couldn't resist getting it each time.

Anonymous said...

The "mayo" doesn't taste like mayo at all. I hate mayo and was initially opposed, but now get it regularly on my govinda's sandwiches, so it's worth trying. I also always add some sort of hot sauce to it- whether it's the hot sauce they have at Govindas or something I put on at home. That really adds a lot in my opinion.

22nd and Philly said...

Thanks for the insight, comments and suggestions. It's fun to learn about vegetarian options.

Looks like our next stop needs to be Blackbird.

Leah G said...

Definitely go to blackbird.

Abby said...

I suggest getting the Govinda's steak done up as a wrap, with real cheese (if you're a non-vegan). I had it like this and it was downright delicious! Wrap vs bread is key to the yumminess quotient.

Kristen said...

IT WAS THE "MAYO" YOU WERE MISSING! It's not real mayo, and it does replace the flavor missing from the garlic, onion, etc. I also find that a bit of sriracha is great (adds the garlic flavor) for a little kick. I also should have mentioned that I prefer it as a wrap, on a flavored wrap like chili

I guess I need to go try Blackbird!

The Cozy Herbivore said...

Oh, definitely try other places. Govinda's food is for late-night stoner runs only, I always say.

I'll heartily second Blackbird's seitan cheesesteak, and while you're there, try the mushroom pizza too. So good, and their crusts are AMAZING.

Of course you should try Vedge for more high-end vegetarian cooking that really highlights the vegetables as opposed to the meat substitutes.

Khyber Pass and Royal Tavern have great vegetarian options, including a dynamite vegan "chicken" po' boy at Khyber.

Keep trying the vegetarian options-- Philly is really trying to show the herbivores some love lately!

slitwrist4mom said...

have you tried HipCityVeg yet?

Bradd said...

Yes, HipCityVeg is a place I can definitely recommend. Here is the post: th