Chef Chat, Part 1: Happy and Mike Tsai of Pepper Tree Veggie Cuisine
Happy and Mike Tsai helm Pepper Tree.
Photo by Mandy Oaklander
Like so many delicious Texas institutions, Pepper Tree Veggie Cuisine is tucked in a cozy little strip mall. But inside, it's a zenned out vegan refuge.
We caught up with Happy Tsai, the owner of Pepper Tree, over a glass of de-chlorinated, triple-distilled alkaline clustered water. (Trust us, you can taste the difference from the stuff that comes out of your Houston sink.) She gave us the low-down on her artery-freeing veggie joint.
Eating Our Words: How long have you been opened here on Richmond Avenue?
Happy Tsai: Seven years.
EOW: Why did you decide to open a vegan restaurant?
HT: We want to promote and serve more people with healthy food. We'd like everyone to be more green.
EOW: How long have you and your husband [Chef Mike Tsai] lived in Houston?
HT: Fourteen years. We moved here from Taiwan. This basically is Taiwanese vegan food. Some people say that it's Chinese food -- well, yeah, close to it. It's Asian food.
EOW: Are many people in Taiwan vegan?
HT: Not majority, but many.
EOW: And here in Houston?
HT: Here, it's becoming more and more. Compared to 10 years ago, more and more young people are becoming vegan.
EOW: How long have you personally been vegan?
HT: Fifteen years.
EOW: So why did you make the leap over to veganism?
HT: I just don't like meat. After I come to U.S., I become vegan.
EOW: What kind of food do you have?
HT: We provide vegan food that's good for everyone. On the weekends we have vegan sushi with avocado, it's beautiful. We have vegan desserts too: vegan sesame balls, vegan Jell-O. People have choices; people are becoming more health conscious and eating more plant-based food.
Check back tomorrow to meet the man behind the meatlessness, Chef Mike Tsai.
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