I tried Wagamama’s new Korean inspired menu featuring vegan k-dogs and hot pots - this is what I thought
I headed to the Speke Liverpool branch of Wagamama to see if the new autumn menu is worth the hype.
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Anyone who knows me knows that I am the biggest fan of Asian food and regularly visit Wagamama for its incredible spicy ramen, gyozas and bang bang cauliflower. I have to admit, I don’t branch out with new dishes very often, because I know my choices are top tier, but when I was invited to try the new Korean menu, I couldn’t refuse.
Launched earlier this month, Wagamama’s new menu features gochujang rice bowls, served with either chicken, steak or silken tofu, wholesome hot pots and vegan k-dogs, as well as crispy rotis and chouxnuts. I headed to the Speke Liverpool branch to see if the new dishes are worth the hype.
I opted for the pandan colada for my drink, a twist on the classic pina colada. It was beautifully presented, with fresh pineapple on the glass, and was absolutely lovely. My only criticism would be that it was fairly small!
My dining partner got his usual Asahi, and as always, thoroughly enjoyed it.
If you go to Wagamama, you’ll know that dishes come out as and when they’re ready, so your side dishes may come before your mains, or after. Myself and my dining partner decided to share the new vegan k-dogs and rotis with raisukatsu sauce, which are also vegan.
Although k-dogs are a Korean street food classic, I had never had them before and I wish I had discovered them sooner. The dish contains two plant-based Korean corn dogs, which are coated in a crispy noodle crumb, and covered in served in spicy sriracha and turmeric vegan mayo.
They were absolutely delicious and like nothing I’ve ever had before, and honestly, I wish I had chosen to get my own serving rather than sharing.
Next were the rotis with raisukatsu sauce, which involved two flatbread-style rotis and a big dish of raisukatsu sauce. The serving was generous and ideal for two, and the rotis were piping hot. I would absolutely get this dish again, and it might even beat the bang bang cauliflower. My dining partner loved it so much that he finished off the sauce with a spoon.
For my main, I opted for the tofu hot pot, because I had heard that it was super spicy and I really wanted to try tteokbokki, which are basically chewy rice cakes. The hot pot came in a lovely pot with a lid, and featured a range of vegetables, tteokbokki, tofu and a spicy soup-like broth, which is slightly thicker than ramen broth. I loved the majority of the dish, but if I’m honest, I didn’t like the tofu. I prefer fried, regular tofu which has more of a meat-like consistency and soaks up sauce. However, the tofu in this dish is silken, which has a slimy texture and is prone to falling apart. Of course, this is just personal preference, but I did leave the tofu after trying it.
The tteokbokki on the other hand was amazing. I would describe the taste and texture like a super thick udon noodle, and honestly, I think if I were to get the hot pot again, I’d ask to remove the tofu and have extra tteokbokki. Even with the tofu not being to my taste, I would still give this dish a solid 8/10, and would recommend it to people who choose to have their ramen extra spicy, because it has a real kick.
My dining partner opted for the beef brisket ramen, because he believes you can’t go to Wagamama and not get ramen. He usually chooses the chicken gyoza ramen but decided to mix things up and thoroughly enjoyed it. It included a generous portion of beef, a spicy broth, veg and of course, a tea stained egg.
We chose not to have dessert, because we were both full after our mains and sides, and I have to say I am always impressed with portion sizes at Wagamama.
Overall, I think both the raisukatsu rotis and vegan k-dogs might become my new go-to starters (sorry gyozas and cauliflowers) and I love that Wagamama are branching out into Korean food. However, I don’t think the hot pot can replace my beloved ramen. The service and staff were incredible as always, and despite it being a very busy Friday evening, we were seated within fifteen minutes.
If you’re looking to try new Asian dishes, or looking for a venue full of options for both meat eaters and vegans, definitely head to Wagamama.