Life on the Veg: Prik Khing at Wheel of Life

Orange County vegans and health enthusiasts flock to the Wheel of Life, a veritable culinary Shangri-La smack-dab in the middle of a discreet Irvine strip mall. Quite like the mythical utopia, this restaurant wheels and deals in harmonious recipes, entirely free of MSG and animal/animal by-products. Even the veg-protein is made in-house to maintain the highest level of purity assurance. The owner also claims to be of fourth-generation vegan lineage and that that the average lifespan in his home village exceeds decades beyond the centenarian mark. Bizarre? Possibly… Delicious? Definitely!

Now, this place has had the hell reviewed out of it, but read on for a delectable spin on a restaurant favorite, only available by request.


Usually a sauteed mixture of beef-style soy protein, ample amounts of crisp green beans and tender bell peppers slathered in red Thai curry sauce, you'd think the prik khing couldn't get any better. We'll leave that up for debate, but if you have yet to try a protein substitute for the orgasmically delicious spicy crispy chicken, do it. Now.

Don't get us wrong, we're all for the standard sauteed “beef,” but the lightly battered crispy chicken just seems to crank both the texture and flavor of the prik khing up to 11. Even when drenched in savory curry sauce, the crispy chicken is able to retain its crunch for an amazing length of time. On top of that, there is absolutely no flavor dissonance triggered by this swap!

The perfectly seasoned protein nuggets coexist harmoniously with the crushed red peppers that penetrate every nook and cranny of this wholesome dish. This makes it the perfect entree for those with a passion for spicy foods, but those with tamer tastes need not fear. The amount of peppers used can be adjusted by request (and, no, you won't get the hairy eyeball). Also, at $8.95, this plate is generously sized and enough to supply two people with a light lunch when ordered with two portions of rice (nice!).

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