LOL! Meatatarian is actually a word as much as vegetarian is a word. See this wikipedia article. It appears that the Inuit people are known meatatarians.
Anyway, this post is not about meat but it is about a vegetarian restaurant. I love my meat and I need meat everyday. If I don’t have meat for a day, it feels like I had not eaten. That is the main reason why I had not written much about Vegetarian restaurants.
Over the years we had only blogged on two vegetarian restaurants: Simply Vegetarian and Purity Vegetarian. Unfortunately both restaurants we wrote about had since closed.
When Buddha Boy and Buddha Girl invited us to join them in a vegetarian dinner, we immediately agreed. We enjoy going out and learning about cuisines that we are not familiar with.
The Spicy Vegetarian Restaurant we went to is located on No 3 Road and Browngate Road in Richmond. This is on the same strip mall as Jubilant, one of our family’s favourite restaurants.
Parking in this strip mall is difficult not only because it is small but this small strip mall had a few very popular restaurants. It is quite impossible to find parking during peak dining hours. So sometimes it is best to park across the street where there is a paid parking lot.
But you get a better chance parking if you go to Spicy Vegetarian. You see, some of the lots are reserved for certain restaurants and Spicy Vegetarian has a few lots that is not always taken. When we got there, there was a cone marker on the lot. We got someone to remove it by saying we are dining in Spicy Vegetarian.
The Spicy vegetarian Restaurant is of average size. There are about 10 tables of various size from 2 to 10 people per table. It is also clean and well maintained. Not many Chinese restaurants are this neat but I always expects that vegetarian restaurants are above other Chinese restaurants.
We met both Buddha Boy and Buddha Girl for the very first time that night. They are relatively new bloggers on Food for Buddha. I only found out lately that Buddha Boy had been following chowtimes for a long time and had posted many comments under another handle. Both Buddha Girl and Buddha Boy are knowledgeable about food, particularly Chinese food. They came from families with a background in the business. So it is great to hang around them because they are such an information trove.
Buddha Girl made reservations for four people that night. However when we went in none of the tables that had the “Reserved” sign were for us. Instead we were asked to get seated on one of the free tables. As I understand it, the tables marked “Reserved” were specially for their VIP customers from the temple or something like that.
We left all the ordering to the experts. What I was very interested in is trying vegetarian food that is made to look like meat. LOL! Yeah, I am just amazed at how vegetarian cuisine had progress to such a state that they can create food like that.
Anyway, their top dishes is on the top left menu above. So it you are not sure what to order, you might want to consider those dishes.
Here is a couple of tidbits of information we learned:
Vegetarian restaurants are always the busiest on the 1st and 15th day of the Chinese lunar calendar. It is because those two days are designated as vegetarian days for some Buddhists.
In Taiwan, for Buddhists who follows the religion strictly, vegetarian dishes cannot have garlic, chives, green onion and cilantro. This is because they believe these vegetables … arouse one senses and are considered sinful to consume. This is news to me. I am wondering what exactly Buddha Girl meant when she used the word “arouse”.
The one I like best is the Bean Curd Skin, Veggie Chicken in Black Bean Sauce ($11). The bean curd skin is deep fried to a crisp which is a nice change compared to the soggy ones we usually have.
The veggie chicken was very good. It did not look like chicken and neither the texture like chicken, not even like deep fried chicken. But the taste of it is something else. I like it along with the crispiness on the outer layer. I thought it tastes *something* like chicken.
We had a small Veggie Seafood Tung Yum Kung Soup ($7.50). At one point I was wondering if ordering a small one would be enough for the four of us. Yeah, it was big enough. Good thing we did not order the bigger one.
This is basically the hot and sour Thai Tom Yum soup with tofu and some meat look-alike vegetarian ingredients: vegetarian shrimp and vegetarian fish cake.
At a glance, the veggie shrimp actually looks like shrimp but on closer inspection it is not. 🙂 Actually this one does not have the shrimp taste and texture. It is slippery and tasted bland.
The veggie fish cake, on the other hand, tasted exactly like the real fish cake … or is this real fish cake?
I am confused with so many versions on vegetarian diets. Some does not allow meat but allow fish. Some do not even allow the consumption of things like eggs and milk. Some even avoid some types of plants. OK, don’t even try to explain to me because I know it will confuse me even more. 🙂
The Veggie BBQ Pork is $9. This is char siu … BBQ pork. Oh yeah!
To me this is the litmus test of the skill of the chef.
This one resembles real meat of all the dishes we had. It looks close enough except that they have so much sauce on it. I mean, BBQ Pork normally are sliced and the sauce is served on the side. Other than that, the texture is like real meat. In the picture on the right, you could see that it even has a fibrous texture like real char siu.
The Taro Meat Stew Pot was not an item on the menu. Actually I am not a fan of taro but this dish turned out to be better than I expected. The taro was creamy and nicely done but it was not what that amazes me. It is the …
… MEAT! I should say the “meat” in closed inverted commas.
Take a look at that. The “meat” even has fatty layers just like the ones you find in pork belly.
It even looked like it inside. Hehehe … the meat is “medium rare”. Can you see the “medium rare” meat part that is pinkish?
The Eggplant with Tofu in Szechuan Sauce ($11) was a very predictable dish. There is no make-believe meat here. This dish smells like Toa Pan Jiang (bean sauce) and the tofu has a unique texture unlike other places.
We ended up the night with some free sweet potato soup which tasted gingery.
The prices were reasonable given what we had. This is for four of us.
One thing I did not understand is why the name SPICY Vegetarian Restaurant. We did not order any spicy dishes nor was there many dishes that were spicy in nature.
We had a great time chatting about food, what else. One of the things I still cannot get out of my mind is dai bau (giant meat buns). I remember I used to buy the largest dai bau that is like 9 inches across from Taman Connaught, KL. It is so big that you handle it with two hands. The big buns normally are about 4-5″ across like this post but the giant ones are much bigger . That is why this version of dai bau is named after the HK actress called Yip Chi-Mei … hence the name Yip Chi-Mei Bau. Does anyone know where I could get a giant meat bun in Vancouver? It is my mission to find the biggest and the meanest.
This Post Has 22 Comments
Hi Ben, that veggie roast pork looks amazing. I wonder why they try to imitate the meat items when in fact if the person eating there is truly a vegetarian, he will not know the taste and texture of meat products. BTW, Simply Vegetarian has moved to the place next to Ginger and Garlic on Westminster Hwy across from Richmond Centre. Its now called 4 Stones Vegetarian.
Vegetarian cuisine amazes me. I have no idea how they can imitate meat so closely…
The food tasted fine but I didn’t appreciate how everything was very salty and oily. It was as if this was done on purpose in order to compensate for the fact that it’s vegetarian. I ‘felt’ healthier ordering vegetable dishes at a regular restaurant
We also cannot have onions…hehehehe!
Yea…I don’t understand about the “Spicy” part of the restaurant name…I mean we didn’t see too many “spicy” dishes on the menu…
LMAO!!! “葉子媚大包”…hahahah! That’s too funny!!! Buddha Boy and I usually get the dai-bao from New Town in Chinatown…
Regarding the onion family being banned in Vegetarian Restaurants.Well that is the same reasons some Hindu and Christian Monasteries and Convents avoid garlic,onions,Chives etc.These Veggies are supposed to make you less likely to be celibate.Veggie Viagra anyone???
I think what you meant was they believe not having garlic,onions, chives make you less virile. Celibacy is a conscious choice and behaviour. Virility is the physiological state or expression of:
1. the state or quality of being virile; manly character, vigor, or spirit; masculinity.
2. the power of procreation.
Think of all those ppl around the world who will start adding garlic/onions/chives to their partners diets 😉
Only works until the breaths of their partners become overly garlicky/oniony/”chive-y” ! LOL !
Well in Manglish Chili Padi means Someone who is considered “hot”right Ben??
Hi PinoyGourmet: Chili Padi is the word used in Malaysia for birdseye chili. It is literally translated as “paddy chili” in reference to it small size. The name “chili padi” is described as someone who is small but surprisingly feisty , might not be “hot”. Ben
My mother follows Taiwanese buddhism, so we have no onions or garlic in our house as well. We’re a mainly vegetarian household except my sister and I eat fish, and my dad occasionally eats meat. My mom said that they don’t eat garlic or onions because those veggies are linked to cause short tempers. Anyways, if you are interested in vegetarian food, Golden Fortune at Joyce street and Whole Vegetarian Restaurant on Main street are pretty good (try their fried shiitake mushroom!)
I have not yet tried Whole Vegetarian yet but I have tried Golden Fortune a few times…they are pretty good…I like their deep-fried oyster mushrooms! I heard the owner/chef was the former chef at the Taiwanese Buddhist Temple on Kingsway near Boundary.
Taiwanese Buddhism is more a mix of Taoism and Buddhism…similar to HK ones…hahah kinda complicated…
BG, Whole Vegetarian is pretty good. I really like their chicken drumsticks and wonton soup. The service is much better than Bo kong’s.
Vegetarian chicken drumsticks ? What do they use to make the bone ?
Is Whole Vegetarian where the old Bo Kong is on Main? I have not yet been there…had the chicken drumsticks at 3G on Cambie and it was quite good…we were impressed with how the “chicken drums” were presented!!!
I am not sure how they do it at Whole Vegetarian but when I went to 3G, they used some kind of wooden stick (similar to those in Korean popsicle sticks)…
FYI: Simply Vegetarian is now called 4 Stones and is located on the corner of Minoru and Westminster Hwy. (across from Rmd Centre- The Bay Entrance) 🙂
“close inverted commas”, really? You didn’t know “quotes”?
Quotation marks (the correct way of referring to this punctuation) is typically used in North American grammar.
Inverted commas is the common term in the UK or areas of the world that follow British grammar.
LOL! I did not know what came over me when I wrote the post and did not think twice about it. Yeah, I was brought up with British English and had used the longish word “closed inverted commas” often. Yeah, today I uses the word quotes more often … and saying it with both hands raised to the ears and double flip of the middle and index fingers. I guess that is the “proper” way to say it in Vancouver. LOL!
As for 2ndHandEmbarassment, I don’t even want to respond to him/her except roll my eyes and approve the comment just so that people can see how small people can get. *roll eyes*
I was rolling my eyes too — it bugged me that someone would post that inverted comma is incorrect. It’s just different than what is usual here but it is by no means wrong. Kind of like calling a trunk a boot or a truck a lorry.
‘I am confused with so many versions on vegetarian diets. Some does not allow meat but allow fish. Some do not even allow the consumption of things like eggs and milk. Some even avoid some types of plants. OK, don’t even try to explain to me because I know it will confuse me even more. :-)’
I’m gonna try and explain
no meat, but fish= pescatarian
no eggs, milk, meat, fish= vegan (nothing produced by animals)
no meat, no fish= vegatarian
i dunno bout the certain types of plants thing though
About the different types of “veggie people”, I think Alex explained it quite well. An as a long-time veggie, I would just like to add some info and explain them furthermore in details.
Pescatarian: no meat, but fish –> this is correct, but just for the record, this is not really considered as a type of vegetarian diet, as it still involves killing and suffering of animal life, however most pescatarians adopt this diet mainly for health reasons or as a transitional method towards a completely cruelty-free diet. This is mainly observed among Caucasians more so than among other ethnicity. *Another loose variation of this diet is those who don’t eat red meat, and only eat white meat (fish/poultry) and/or seafood*
Vegatarian: no meat, no seafood –> Adopting mainly a plant-based diet to avoid animal slaughter, but can accept animal by-products such as dairy/eggs/honey. *Other variations of this diet are Ovo-vegetarians who eat eggs but no dairy, and Lacto-vegetarians who eat dairy but no eggs*
Vegan: no meat, no seafood, no animal by-products (egg/dairy/honey/etc) –> Adopting a purely plant-based diet and even extend it to other aspects of lifestyle (such as in clothing, shoes, daily products etc.) to avoid complete animal cruelty, suffering, and slaughter. *Other variations of this diet are raw-foodists who doesn’t eat anything that is processed and/or cooked above 40’C (104’F) and mainly eat organic and sprouted products for health optimization and nutritional efficiency; and fruitarians who only eat fruits, nuts, and seeds*
People adopt these above mentioned alternative diet for a variety of different and/or combined reasons such as: ethical, health, religious, spiritual, environmental, cultural, economic, etc. That is perhaps why different people avoid different types of plants for different reasons. A most common example among Asians are Buddhist vegetarians who avoid vegetables/spices like garlic, chives, green onion, cilantro, and some others for spiritual cleansing and maintaining integrity of their practices and principles to eliminate desires, arousements, and such. It is similar among “meatatarians” whereas Muslims don’t eat porks or Jewish only eat Kosher food.
On another note, for those who wonders, the reason why there are restaurants that use “meat imitations” or “veggie meat” or “fake meats” is mainly to help those in transitional phases towards a plant-based diet as it is difficult for some to change their diet overnight even though they are determined to change for whatever reasons/causes they support. It is also meant to add more variations to the cuisine for non-vegetarians to satisfy their craving for familiar tastes/textures/aesthetic when they do visit a vegetarian restaurant “for cleansing, for their twice a month vegetarian days, or simply out of pure curiosity”.
Same reasons go for those many vegetarian dishes that are oily, fried, overly seasoned or cooked and making people doubt and wonder about the popular belief that vegetarian diet is “healthier”. In such cases, it is indeed not much healthier. However, it only applies to some Asian vegetarian dishes, not all of them, the level of how healthy you want vegetarian meals to be is entirely up to the customers’ choices of items/restaurants. There are plenty of asian/western/indian/mediterranean vegetarian and vegan and raw food restaurants in town that are very healthy and tasty.
I hope this will help clarify a few things for some of you out there. 🙂