Dim sum, as you probably know, refers to Asian dumplings—little edible parcels of pleasure. But in Cantonese, dim sum also means “touch the heart.” Both definitions hold true at Miamis Minty Z. This little charmer has expanded since opening its doors three years ago, and it has kept the dumplings and the heart but now offers a full-on pan-Asian menu. One thing hasnt changed, thoughfrom fluffy lavender ube bao to umami oyster mushroom bánh mì, Minty Z is still entirely vegan.

Like dim sum itself, Minty Z does a lot with a little. Its location is small—seating 50 people, max—but turns out an astonishing array of dumplings, noodles, rice dishes, and other tasty fare. It comes naturally to Huimin “Minty” Zhu, who owns and runs the restaurant with husband and chef Alex Falco. Her Chinese family has been making dim sum for generations.

“We wanted to make a great Asian restaurant,” she says. “It just happens to be vegan.”

VegNews.MintyZ2Minty Z

Asian-fusion dishes for all

To describe Minty Z’s potstickers, bao, shumai, and har gow as “steamed” makes them sound lifeless and limp. They’re more like steampunk. King oyster mushroom bao have a tingling jalapeño kick. Not into fiery? Those tender ube bao are winners on flashy looks alone, but their elegant, pillowy folds enclose a mellow mash of sweet potato and coconut milk. Crystal-skinned truffle edamame dumplings look delicate, but there’s a distinct, delicious funk of truffle in each light bite.

VegNews.MintyZ5Minty Z

For a heartier experience, the Massaman curry is a local favorite. Ropy noodles, fried tofu, roasted cashews, and shavings of snow peas are hugged by a heady peanut-and-coconut curry rich with warming spices and a spank of chili and lime. The fresh basil and mint leaves aren’t just there for garnish—they add layers of flavor and complexity.

While pan-Asian is Minty Z’s jam, it also unabashedly embraces Miami by bringing bold, tropical, Latin, and Caribbean influences to the table. Take the fan-favorite Cuban corn wontons: crispy fried parcels stuffed with sweet golden corn and vegan ham. They get their richness from cashew cream, and their spark and sass from aromatic garlic and cilantro. And if that’s not decadent enough, Minty Z serves them with housemade coconut-chili mayo for dipping.

VegNews.Mintyz4Minty Z

Miami-Dade County’s mayor Daniella Levine Cava is a Minty Z regular, but she’ll probably come in dressed like other diners—wearing jeans, not designer duds. There’s nothing formal or stuffy about this eatery. Anime-inspired wall murals and hip-hop playlists are just a few signals that diners are in for fun.

The kitchen commits to finding new ways to dazzle, changing the menu seasonally and trying out new dishes, like the buckwheat scallion pancakes. “We take inspiration from traditional and Americanized Asian dishes, try and make a twist on them that’s fun, not exactly like you’re used to,” Falco says. These flaky, umami-packed wedges, crisp to the bite and melting in the mouth, nail it. Buckwheat gives the pancakes a little chew, a mildly earthy flavor, and they’re gluten-free to boot. So is the housemade ginger-tamari dipping sauce that’s served with the pancakes, but is good with everything. And GF guests also have the restaurant’s popular cauliflower kimchi—teensy, tender cauliflower florets fermented and fired up with chili, garlic, and no fish sauce—to look forward to.

With all this Asian abundance, it’s easy to overlook the salads—but you won’t want to. Minty Z’s watercress avocado salad is a masterpiece of tender, locally grown peppery greens punched up with a wasabi dressing. It scores major mouthfeel points with melty charred grape tomatoes, fat slices of avocado, and toasted mung beans for crunch, fun, and a little protein.

VegNews.MintyZ3Minty Z

All about the vegetables

Falco, who cheffed in high-end New York steakhouses before going vegan in 2017, brings his flavor-building culinary chops to a plant-based menu using—ta-da!—plants. “People think a vegan restaurant is about fake meat substitutes, fake cheese,” Zhu moans. But Minty Z dishes sing with vegetables, especially mushrooms. “We love mushrooms,” she says—and so will you. Petal-like oyster mushrooms, meaty shiitakes, and tendrilly enoki are other varieties that are all locally sourced and appear in at least half a dozen offerings, including in bánh mì, crisped up and slicked in a sweet and sour chili sauce, and wok-fried until their intensely umami flavor is concentrated. What’s amazing is how distinct in flavor and texture they all are. You’ll never taste the same mushroom twice.

In traditional Chinese tea houses, guests choose their tea first and their dim sum to complement it. In keeping with its origins, Minty Z has a number of pots on offer, including jasmine, buckwheat, chai, green, peppermint, and fragrant lychee black. But this is Miami, so there’s also kombucha, locally made CBD cold brew, and coconut limeade—a killer beat-the-heat thirst quencher made with coconut water, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup. Served in a tall glass over ice, it wouldn’t suffer from adding a shot of tequila, but Minty Z keeps it light, with only beer, wine, and sake on the drinks menu.


Coming with a group? Good. No one should dim sum alone, and Minty Z’s menu is built for sharing. Order a pitcher of the Shanghai Sangria infused with tropical fruit including lychee, longan, ginger, and lotus, as well as Florida’s famous oranges.

And if you can’t decide what to order, Minty Z’s waitstaff is welcoming, well-informed, and glad to guide. Or if you’re in an I-want-it-all mode, order the Forest Omakase (a Japanese term meaning “trust the kitchen”)—you will not be disappointed, or hungry. The eight-course menu, an affordable indulgence, offers classic but vegan Chinese dim sum balanced with dishes boasting big, bold Miami flavors.

VegNews.MintyZ6Minty Z

For the dessert lovers

For dessert, finish sweet with plump chocolate ganache dumplings sprinkled with candied hemp seeds and served warm so their fudgy centers literally melt in the mouth. Bao beignets—little puffs of five-spice-dusted doughy delight—are served with a black sesame-infused caramel sauce for dipping. The same sesame sauce is also drizzled over the bubble tea sundae, which features scoops of locally made cashew and coconut ice cream buttressed by chewy sesame balls filled with lotus seed paste, plus basil seed, chopped strawberries, and crackling shards of black sesame brittle. Like all of Minty Z’s signature sauces, the ubiquitous black caramel is made in-house and, thankfully, available to go. So stock up with a jar or two on your way out to tide you over until your next visit.

Minty Z has become a date night destination and the place to go with friends and families. It has a new bright look, a glass storefront, and offers outdoor seating, something you wouldnt want to try in Maine in the winter. Situated on the edgier edge of bohemian Coconut Grove, this little gem is where their dream became reality, where Minty Z morphed from a farmers’ market food truck to a brick-and-mortar restaurant. Its where locals became die-hard fans and supporters.

The couple, who’d moved from “chaotic, cut-throat” New York to Miami in 2018, had been dreaming of opening their own vegan restaurant. Even so, you might wonder if Falco and Zhu, adorable as they are, are slightly out of their minds. They opened Minty Z two days before Christmas 2020, at the height of the pandemic. 

Clearly, this duo loves a challenge. But they don’t see it that way. When they first opened, they braced for the demanding, New York diner attitude they’d become accustomed to. Instead, what they got has been a Miami love fest. “The Miami crowd is warmer, more enthusiastic. Customers say the food is so good,” Zhu says. “That makes us so happy.”

The dim sum keeps coming at Minty Z, served up with plenty of heart. 

For more vegan restaurants, read:
Share this

Become a VegNews VIP for exclusive vegan deals, inside scoop, and perks galore!