Fish is not a vegetable

Illustration by hayley doshay

When a promotional postcard claiming that Orchid Thai had Sacramento's best vegetarian menu arrived in the mail, I took the bait. The restaurant, in the new 16 Powerhouse building (1609 16th Street), is modern and shiny, but when I ordered from the vegetarian menu, I was surprised to learn many dishes contain fish sauce. Let's be clear: Fish is meat from an animal, and vegetarian means someone who doesn't eat meat. Orchid may not be the only Thai restaurant in town to have a “vegetarian” menu that douses the vegetables with the stank of fish sauce, but it's misleading. Some of the confusion can be attributed to individuals who use the term to define their specific animal-inclusive diet that don't align with the word's actual definition. (Flexitarian was coined just for you guys!) Egad. Orchid did not return SN&R's calls about the menu, but it would be more accurate to call it a pescatarian menu—or make a vegan fish sauce, like the one at, because vegetables can have stank, too.