Spotlight: Eat Chay

— 1 Nov 2018 by Lauren Furey

Screen Shot 2018 11 01 at 22.40.52

November sees the arrival of a new member of the Boxpark family, Eat Chay. This vegan Korean, Vietnamese powerhouse is sure to have you salivating when they launch their new restaurant on Saturday 3 November. We caught up with them to find out more.

Tell us who you are and what you do

We're Eat Chay and we put a modern twist on the traditional Vietnamese and Korean dishes by stripping away the use of animal products, letting fruits and vegetables, herbs and spices shine on their own.
Chay in Vietnamese means vegan, so to Eat Chay is to enjoy a vegan diet.

How did Eat Chay come about?

We started Eat Chay as two fresh graduates out of uni. As immigrants, due to visa restrictions, we didn't have the chance to do a gap year or dabble in different jobs, the rules were clear: to stay in London, we either had to start up a business or we had to get into permanent employment, and we are not allowed to do both. We've been cooking up the idea of starting our own plant-based food business for a long while so with the support from City University, we started Eat Chay and never looked back. 
20 months ago we sold our first vegan banh mi at our little market stall on Brick Lane. If someone told us then that 20 months later we'll be back in East London opening our first permanent shop at Boxpark Shoreditch, we wouldn't believe them!
On our first day of trading at Brick Lane market, we had a cooler box, a table cloth and a small pan. We spent all night hand cutting our seitan and frying EVERY SINGLE PIECE with chopsticks. A lot has changed, we now have a machine so we don't have to cut 12434809320 pieces of seitan by hand anymore, and there's a bunch of us now; an incredible team of passionate and hard working individuals.

But one thing remains the same: we use exciting new ingredients to re-create our childhood dishes, without the unnecessary use of animal products, yet still keeping intact all the flavours that can take you right back to East Asia where we grew up.

What can customers expect from you at Boxpark Shoreditch?

Our signature dish is hands down the Vietnamese Banh Mi Baguette with mushroom walnut pate, sriracha mayo, fresh herbs and crispy smoky seitan or grilled lemongrass soya chicken. We also serve up mouth-watering steamed bao buns filled with our in-house kimchi, fried vegan fish and crispy tofu. Our most experimental dish at Boxpark is our Vegan Fish & Chips with a twist - flaky vegan fish cutlet with crispy gluten free batter and seaweed shaker fries, served with fresh dill and chillies, gherkin and homemade tartare sauce.
Expect all of Eat Chay's dishes to be a fusion of flavours inspired by Vietnamese, Chinese, Korean and British cuisines because, after all, we're inspired by London, and that's what London is, a melting pot of cultures.

What is your favourite dish on your menu?

We love a good Korean BBQ banh mi, stuffed with our handmade smoky seitan that has been marinated in Korean bulgogi sauce. It's been a well-loved dish by our loyal customers as well as TimeOut, the Guardian and Metro!

Which other Boxpark trader would you recommend to customers?

We love our vegan gang so we'd have to give a shout out to Biff's Jack Shack and What The Pitta. We also have a thing for sandwiches and the guys at Sub Cult serves up a banging seasonal vegan sub!

What's your favourite thing about Shoreditch?

Shoreditch is where everybody could freely express themselves and be who they are without judgement!


Eat Chay opens at Boxpark Shoreditch on Saturday 3 November. Be sure to follow them online on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for more delicious updates.