Twin Cities, Minnesota


rating star

The Spicy Golden Tofu is easily the best dish at Peninsula. The tofu is creamy and puffy, the breading is light and has a lot of heat without overwhelming the flavor. Vegans beware - their housemade tofu contains egg. They will happily substitute it with commercial tofu (which our server called "white tofu"), and the dish was still delicious.

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I would've given 4 stars instead of 2 if I hadn't just read from the other reviews about the tofu not being vegan and the troubles others have had with finding out if dishes are truly vegan!

We went here for the first time on Saturday night. It was a much nicer place than I expected, especially for asian food on Nicollet. Linen table cloths, someplace you could go for a date or special occasion.

My friend raved about the homemade tofu, so I got the Sizzling Tofu dish, minus the egg. I didn't ask if the rest was vegan, because I'm not that strict and just figured the tofu wouldn't be made with egg. But you'd think if I said hold the egg to the server, he'd mention that the tofu had egg?

I thought the food was delicious, sampled a couple of my friends' tofu dishes also, but I can see how people might think it was bland if they're expecting spicy, but I don't like heavily seasoned food.

Overall - decent place if you're in the neighborhood, are not a strict vegetarian, and don't mind spending around $15 per dish. Otherwise, definitely not worth it.

rating star

Been here a few times, the last time I had shrimp shell mixed into the sauce of my food. Not intentionally, but still. Bad quality control, lazy cooks, and food all cooked at the same place with minimal clean up. I doubt anything here would ever qualify as vegan because of that.

Image for conde.kedar

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UPDATE: the home-made tofu here is NOT vegan, as it is made with eggs. My waiter did not tell me this and I only found out later from another vegan. If you're vegan, make sure to avoid anything with tofu here. I think it's ridiculous how they make tofu here, since it's such a simple, ancient food and usually basically consists only of soy.

Peninsula has some unusual offerings which merit recognition. I started out with a "roti telur" appetizer ($5.95), which is an Indo-Malaysian dish consisting of a doughy shell filled with vegetables and other stuff. The kitchen graciously left out the chicken and the eggs and replaced them with some home-made tofu instead (which I later found out is not vegan). I found this dish to be pretty tasty; the shell was soft and I liked the bell pepper and onion filling. Finally, the dish came with a spicy peanut sauce that really gave the food some flavor and zing.

My main course, only called "mock duck" ($11.95) on the menu, sounded amazing, but wasn't that great (and probably wasn't vegan). Like the tofu, this mock duck was home-made, which stands out in a town where mock duck usually comes from a tin can. It seemed to consist almost entirely of layer after layer of thinly-sliced, fried tofu; if there were any wheat gluten in there (the normal main ingredient of mock duck), I didn't see it. It was topped with thick mushrooms and everything was cooked in a soy-based sauce that made the tofu go soggy. The sauce was the biggest problem of the dish---not only was it bland, it was also gooey with excessive use of corn starch as a thickening agent. I got bored with the dish after a few bites. In comparison, Grand Shanghai in St. Paul makes an extremely similar dish called "mock goose," but they use a light, fresh soy-red wine sauce, and the tofu remains crispy as a result. They also use better mushrooms than Peninsula.

The dish came with white rice infused with coconut milk (brown rice was not an option, sadly), which actually cost $1 (I thought it would be free). This rice was okay, but it was not nearly as rich and fresh-tasting as the coconut milk rice, offered for free, at Bali Restaurant on 14th and Nicollet.

Finally, I wanted to try the unusual-sounding dessert "cendol" (green pea flour strips with sweet red beans, shaved ice and coconut milk), but I was informed that it's made with some dairy milk. Instead I ended up with the more pedestrian "pulut hitam" ($2.50), which is just sweet sticky rice in creamy coconut milk with sugar (one of the few dishes I can actually make myself).

In summary, the service at Peninsula is fast, efficient and friendly. The menu offers some unusual Indo-Malaysian dishes and also has home-made tofu and mock duck, which you don't see often (though I'm not sure either are actually vegan). But the execution of the food was mediocre on a whole and I'm not pleased that they are clearly confused about the meaning of the word "vegan," which is unacceptable in a city like Minneapolis.

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I imagine this place is much better for non-vegans, because our waitress told me the green curry without tofu would probably be the only thing on the menu I could eat. The veggies in the curry were great, but the curry itself was watery, and hot without being flavorful.

We didn't have issues with water glasses not being filled.

The presentation was fantastic, every meal looked like a piece of art. Wish more of it was something I would eat.

Went to Peninsula on the recommendation of my wife's co-worker , who is from Malaysia and recommended the food as being quite good.

Based on the reviews here, we were cautious and mentioned all the individual foods we don't eat (as opposed to saying "we're vegan") to the original person who greeted us at our table (I think he was a host). He suggested that we could eat a couple of tofu dishes and ruled out the mock duck because it is prepared with fish sauce.

When the server came, we ordered the two dishes the host had suggested and explained again to the server (at the suggestion of the host) what we did not eat. He took our order but then returned a moment later to tell us the tofu is made with egg. At that point, we thanked him and left.

Not sure how to grade this, as we didn't eat the food. The restaurant was interesting and could be nice if you're not vegan, but we literally couldn't eat anything as far as we could tell. On the plus side, they were helpful even though their information seemed to be quite inaccurate at times.

Image for Dave Rolsky

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Although I had a good experience on my first visit, my second visit was a disaster.

On the first trip, our waiter was very helpful in determining what was vegan, which was great.

On the second, we had a different waiter who when told we don't eat animal products, said that all Malaysian food used chicken broth as its base, and he didn't know what we could get. He said he would ask them to make the dishes vegan, but that if there was something not vegan in it we should tell him and he would have them re-make it. I appreciated his earnestness, but the thought that what we got might have random meat or seafood products in it was not reassuring.

And once again, like my first visit, they were unable to keep my water glass filled at all. In addition, my wife ordered a drink on the second visit that didn't come until after all our food was finished.

At this point, I don't think I'd go back any time soon.

rating star

I ate here the a few nights ago and really liked it. I got the Japanese pan seared tofu (be sure to order w/out egg if you are vegan) and it was yum!! They say on the menu that their tofu and mock duck are homemade and I believe it -- it was such good tofu. There aren't too many places where you can get homemade tofu in MSP. My husband really enjoyed his non-veg noodle dish too. The waitstaff was nice and the service fast. We'll be back many times I'm sure.

Also as an update on Dave's comment... I drink *A LOT* of water and it was very crowded when I was there and my water was never more than 1/3 empty.

rating star

I give this place a good rating for atmosphere and service, but the food is overpriced and bland. We tried the satay tofu and pickled vegetable salad for appetizers - the salad was relatively cheap and there was a lot of it, but I thought it was gross, and the tofu was okay, but not great. The main dishes were disappointing - I ordered something that was supposed to be spicy and all I can say is that it wasn't. My husband's dish was equally bland - the Buddhist veggies with tofu skin. We even left some food there rather than take it home, which I can not remember ever doing before. The menu is difficult to navigate if you're vegetarian, so be sure to ask what is in the dishes - they can omit oyster sauce and other sea life from certain dishes, and some things that appear to be veg have various sea animals in them.

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