November 14, 2014 by
Nina Casalena, The VRG Blog Editor
By Jeanne Yacoubou. MS
Genghis Grill is a restaurant chain featuring build-your-own stir fry bowls. Since its first Texas opening in 1998, there now are over 100 locations in 23 states. To view the restaurant locator on the company’s website go to:http://www.genghisgrill.com/locations/. According to the Genghis Grill corporate office the chain has plans to expand to other countries beginning in 2015.
In Summer 2014 Genghis Grill made major changes to its menu and website. The Vegetarian Resource Group spoke with the Director of Culinary Research & Development at Genghis Grill in October 2014 about what the chain now offers vegetarians and vegans. She told us “servers will be more than happy” to make any substitutions requested in stir fry dishes or signature bowls. Patrons should request them upon arrival.
Ingredient lists are available on menus or in nutrition brochures placed in restaurants or online. However, because meat, poultry, fish and seafood are prepared and served on the premises, the Director stated that Genghis Grill does not promote any of its menu items as vegetarian or vegan even though some of them may be all-vegetable.
Patrons at all but the eleven sit-down Genghis Grill restaurants may build their own bowl by first choosing raw vegetables; uncooked meat, poultry, fish, seafood or tofu; and spices from the Fresh Market Bar. They take them to the grill master to be cooked on the circular grill. According to the Culinary R&D Director: “The starches [including eggless udon noodles, rice or “egg-based” pasta] are added at the end of the cooking process and can be placed on the side if the customer prefers. The spices are added by the customer on top of their protein selection and are cooked with the bowl. The sauce is added at the very end to coat all ingredients.”
Vegetarians and vegans may note that tofu is sectioned off from other menu items at the Fresh Market Bar. Guests should ask the grill master to sanitize the area on which the tofu will be prepared. The tofu is cooked under a lid.
Genghis Grill offers fifteen sauces for the build-your-own stir fry bowls. Page Five of the Nutritional Guide lists all sauce ingredients: http://www.genghisgrill.com/wp-content/uploads/Genghis-Grill-Nutritional-Guide.pdf.
The Honey Soy Sauce contains honey. The Szechuan Sauce contains oyster. The Khan Pao Sauce contains milk, oyster, chicken fat, and chicken broth. The Red Curry Peanut Sauce contains shrimp paste. The Garlic Water Sauce contains only garlic and water. All other sauces among the fifteen (excluding a few others served with signature bowls or chef-made dishes) are all-vegetable and contain either high fructose corn syrup derived from corn and/or beet sugar.
The VRG received the following in an email from Genghis Grill:
“Please see the statement below taken directly from our sugar specification – the sugar used in [our] products is 100% beet sugar, which is not filtered through bone char.
Cargill’s® Spreckels Granulated Sugar, a food grade product, is made by crystallizing a purified and filtered thick juice syrup removed from sugar beets, which is then dried and screened to produce the most popular sugar grades.”
The Culinary Director told us that the Worcestershire sauce in several of their sauces and the natural flavors in the Mongo BBQ sauce “contain no animal ingredients or animal flavors.”
The Spicy Thai Tofu signature bowl is served with Red Curry Peanut Sauce which contains shrimp paste. Other sauces may be substituted.
The Thai Street Noodles and the Drunken Noodles chef-made bowls are made with “eggless udon noodles that contain no animal byproduct.” The Cashew Almond Sauce served with the Thai Street Noodles “has a chicken stock as its base.” The Drunken Noodle Sauce “is vegan friendly.”
The Director told us that their fried rice is made without eggs. “Only pure Kikkoman® Soy Sauce is all we use” with no added animal flavors or ingredients.
On the website menu “Gourmet Fried Rice” is listed as a separate item containing scrambled egg. The Gourmet Fried Rice is different from the fried rice which may be selected to accompany a stir fry or used in a bowl. Genghis Grill told us that the Gourmet Fried Rice may be ordered without the egg.
The restaurant chain also offers a Garlic Citrus Edamame appetizer which is “not made with any animal ingredients or flavors.”
Genghis Grill’s catering menu is on the new website. One of the options is the Buddha Bowl made with tofu. When placing their order customers may substitute another sauce for the Honey Soy Sauce served with this bowl.
For more information, visit: http://www.genghisgrill.com/
The contents of this website and our other publications, including Vegetarian Journal, are not intended to provide personal medical advice. Medical advice should be obtained from a qualified health professional. We often depend on product and ingredient information from company statements. It is impossible to be 100% sure about a statement, info can change, people have different views, and mistakes can be made. Please use your best judgment about whether a product is suitable for you. To be sure, do further research or confirmation on your own.
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