There's a tiny strip mall in Mukilteo that has the best vegan teriyaki you've never heard of. This is their story.
Shortly after owner Judy Kim took over at Nori Teriyaki three years ago, she was introduced to plant-based cooking by her son Jacob, who'd recently gone vegan. She loved the food, and realized vegans were an ever-growing customer base who deserved more options than rice, steamed vegetables, and french fries.
Jacob moved from Maryland to help develop the vegan menu and run the restaurant, and together they've grown the business back up to pre-pandemic levels with more orders going out the door every week. Since they're obviously doing something right, I was excited to try one of their vegan options and asked them to pick for me. They brought me a very generous box of General Tao Tofu.
Tofu gets a bad rap because it takes a talented chef to cook it properly, and we've all eaten mediocre tofu. If you'd like to forget every wet, bland piece of tofu you ever ate, get this dish because they absolutely nailed it. It's sweet and spicy, and every bite has that perfect outer layer: a firm crust that holds onto the sauce without falling apart.
Their website says "ask about our specially made in-house spicy sauce if you’re feeling adventurous." I was, and did, so they also brought me the Spicy Chicken Teriyaki. Judy explained that the sauce is made in-house with fresh ginger, garlic, and more, so while my mouth burned a bit from doubling up on spicy entrees, I wasn't mad about it.
The chicken was expertly grilled to make it tender and chewy at once, with just enough char. Not overdone, just done correctly. Don't skip the standard teriyaki side salad it comes with; its dressing is the perfect complement to their spicy entrees.
It may sound silly, but I was most excited to try a vegan bubble tea. I've never seen a vegan option for milk teas before, which is odd because cafes generally have non-dairy options. Nori currently offers dairy, soy, and almond milk, and I drove home sipping a blended coconut/almond milk bubble tea. If I could order almond milk in every bubble tea from now on, I would; it has more body and makes the drink a heftier, satisfying treat.
Clearly, you don't have to be vegan to enjoy Nori Teriyaki, but if you are one or want to take one out, it's a wonderful option. Judy and Jacob will gladly tell you all about their food and even welcome your suggestions. The servings are enormous, so plan for leftovers or invite extra friends.
12502 Mukilteo Speedway UNIT 104, Mukilteo, WA 98275