For Whom the Vegan Bell Tolls: here’s a spot where Pittsburgh’s plant-based community can enjoy a fish fry. Hint: it’s in Allentown.
The words “vegan” and “fish fry” aren’t typically found in the same sentence, but they are at Allentown’s Onion Maiden. And OMG.
Seriously. Every Friday until they feel like stopping, you can get your very own Vegan Fish-Fried Banana Blossom Po’ Boy at Onion Maiden, and it’s blowing my mind.
I was hesitant. Heck, I was more than hesitant, questioning what in the world a banana blossom actually was (it’s a purple flower that can be found hanging from a cluster of bananas) and how they could possibly make it taste like fried fish (they can).
The fried “fish” sandwich I experienced at Onion Maiden last Friday was one of the most unique, yet familiar, vegan foods I’ve ever tried. The crispy outside, the lettuce, tomato, and mayo toppings, and the tender Breadworks bread together all led me to believe I was munching on fish.
The banana blossom “fish” was tender on the inside and coated in a batter that was thin and crispy. The banana blossom is very neutral in flavor, so most of that “fish fry” flavor is coming from the actual frying and toppings. I’m certainly not complaining because Onion Maiden nails it.
Each Vegan Po’ Boy is $9 and served with crispy, golden tater tots on the side. It’s an off-menu item, but it should be available on Fridays if you ask your server.
Other Onion Maiden Menu Items to Try
If you’re not in the mood for “fish,” or if you’re new to vegan food and culture, Onion Maiden has something for any kind of eater on their Asian and American comfort food-filled menu.
If you want something a little more traditional, try the Emperor Paplatots, which is essentially a big bowl of vegan tater tot nachos. Tater. Tot. Nachos. Think – vegan queso, chili, jalapenos, and salsa. It definitely needed a hit of hot sauce and some salt, but it was a filling and satisfying starter.
They also have a warm and creamy coconut curry (Fist Full of Curry) that’s filled with veggies, a rich broth, fresh toppings, and springy rice noodles. Be sure to get the fried tofu on top for an extra crunch.
If you’re willing to go a little wild, Onion Maiden lives up to its punk rock roots with their vegan “dawgs,” like their Hang Ten, which is topped with BBQ sauce, jalapeno pineapple relish, and caramelized onions.
As a 5-year plant-based eater, these hot dogs were actually almost too realistic for me; they had the same slightly awkward bounciness as a meat-filled dog. The toppings, on the other hand, were savory, sweet, spicy, and delicious.
Vegan Cheesecake Please
Regardless of who you’re dining with at Onion Maiden, one of the best and easiest ways to win them over is with dessert.
We got a piece of creamy vegan cheesecake with blueberries and lemon (their daily special), and then a peanut butter tart that tasted like a giant Reese’s Cup. The cheesecake was a favorite at our table with its thick walnutty crust, and the tart was super sweet, rich, and big enough to share.
Regardless of your food preferences, Onion Maiden is a go-to for any of your unique, comfort food-y cravings. And if you’re interested in the most unique fish fry you’ll go to this Lenten season, be sure to bring cash (they’re cash-only) and let Onion Maiden make your vegan fish dreams come true.
The Details on Onion Maiden’s Vegan Fish Fry
Onion Maiden is located in the Allentown Neighborhood of Pittsburgh.
Vegan Fish Fry is every Friday.
Follow Onion Maiden on social media for fish fry photos and updates on other pop-up events: