When I moved to Memphis 10 years ago, this city really didn't have much going for it. We had a new-ish NBA team that kinda sucked. We had a lot of crime and a lot of pig barbecue.
We still have all those things (except our NBA team — the Memphis Grizzlies — has had some shining moments). But now we have so much more — bike lanes all over the city, three dog parks, a skateboard park, more farmers markets than I can count, a vegan restaurant, an organic and raw vegan juice bar, four places to get vegan cheese pizza, and a handful of enterprising young chefs willing to go the vegan mile. We have people like Kevin Sullivan and his vegan-friendly food business, Ki Kitchen.
"Ki" means "soul" in Japanese, so it's an appropriate name for Sullivan's unique style of cooking which blends Southern soul food with Asian cuisine. Sullivan works at Tsunami, a local seafood restaurant. But on the side, he creates to-go vegan dishes brimming with originality (and tastiness). Sullivan stopped by the Memphis Flyer office a few weeks ago to let us sample his goods.
My co-worker/Flyer food writer Hannah Sayle wrote about Sullivan and Ki Kitchen this week, so check out her story on how Sullivan went from a part-time high school bus boy to an awesome vegan-friendly chef. Sullivan isn't vegan, and not everything Ki Kitchen creates is meat-free. But many of his dishes are!
His Black-Eyed Pea Hummus is my personal Ki Kitchen favorite. It's creamy and hummus-y, but it has that Southern flair thanks to his use of black-eyed peas:
The sweet 'n' savory Tomato Jam is just amazing too. I've been enjoying this on bagels spread with Galaxy Chive & Garlic Vegan Cream Cheese:
Perhaps his most unique dish is the Collard Green Kimchi. Now, I love me some kimchi (when I can find a vegan version), but collards trump cabbage in my book every time. This tangy-sweet dish is loaded with tender leaves, carrots, onions, and a hint of ginger:
Sullivan also makes some scrumptious and tangy Chow Chow (that's relish for all you Yankees) for serving with your fried taters or hot dogs and such:
If you're lucky enough to live in this bordering-on-awesome city, you can order any of Sullivan's dishes for $4 to $5. Check out his Facebook page for a menu.