Zen Kitchen in International Buddhist Temple, Richmond

Lorna invited me to a vegetarian lunch just prior to Chinese New Year. The lunch was organized by the S.U.C.C.E.S.S Women Success Women’s Club, Richmond division.

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Zen Kitchen is located in the International Buddhist Temple on Steveston Highway, Richmond.

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We had the Iron Goddess (Tieguanyin) Chinese tea.

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First item on the table was a soup. It consisted of corn, carrots, water cress, cashew nuts, etc. The soup was quite sweet.

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There were even a few vegetarian meatballs in the soup.

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The appetizer platter made of various flavours of gluten which include sweet and sour, curry, etc. The center piece was a vegetarian ham. (more…)

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Zen Kitchen on Steveston Hwy, Richmond

Emily H organised a lunch with several of the participants of the Multicultural Community Kitchens at the Zen Kitchen in the International Buddhist Temple on Steveston Highway.

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The vegetarian restaurant is located at the rear of the temple. Follow the arrow of the sign above which is located in several locations in the temple.

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This is where the restaurant is located.

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The restaurant has an exquisite Chinese architecture and decoration.

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There is a minimum order implemented here. i.e. each patron must order 1 main dish or 3 dim sum items. Main dish is $15 while dim sum is $5 each. There were five of us, so, we ordered 4 main dishes and 3 dim sum items to share.

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The above is from the dim sum selection; Vegetable dumplings. The skin of the dumpling was rather thick especially at the pleating.

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The above Radish Cake was not bad, which was crispy on the outside and with ample radish. (more…)

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Grand View Szechuan Restaurant on Fraser and East 26th, Vancouver

It had been a long while.

Ever since Whitney and Ken moved from Richmond, we hardly met up any more. Their family and our family were closed to one another and were our go-to people when we need help. You know, people who can trust to look after our toddler boys when Suanne and I went out for a movie … and not having to pay them for baby sitting. Sharing hand-me-down for the boys when they were young enough not to care about wearing “experienced” clothings. Oh, one more thing we shared every year is to buy one copy of Ufile and then we pass it along just to save a few bucks. Yeah, we even remember who paid the previous year so that we know who is to pay the next. Too bad they left city Richmond for rural Langley. We don’t meet as much any more.

When Ken and Whitney told us they are making their way to Vancouver and asked if we wanted to meet for dinner, we readily agreed. Although I am truly the better food expert, I left it to Whitney to suggest where they wanted to meet.

Whitney was hooked on Sichuan food the last time we met and I brought her to the S&W Pepperhouse in Burnaby’s Crystal Mall. So she suggested that we go to the Grand View Szechuan Restaurant on Fraser and E26th because she wanted Ken to try Sichuan food too. Moreover she has a coupon from the Entertainment Book.

Honestly, the Grand View Szechuan restaurant is not one of the restos Suanne and I would place high on our to-try list even though the reviews on Urbanspoon were quite good (88% likes). I sort of sense why they have 88% likes. Anyway, I have this (right or wrong) notion that any great restaurant does not need to promote themselves through the Entertainment Book or Daily Deals websites like Groupons.

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We got there before 5:00 PM on a Sunday and the doors were not open for business yet. So we waited a while before they finally opened the doors at 15 minutes past. There was nothing much around this stretch of the street anyway. It was either wait in the car or just hang around.

Seems like they only open for dinners on Sundays. At other days they are opened for Lunch and for Dinner.

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The dining area is OK. A bit cluttered. Not a problem at all … am just saying.

Service was good. The waitress spoke perfect English. The first thing she asked if we wanted any … (more…)

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Veggie Bunch Vegetarian Restaurant on Buswell Street, Richmond

It was lady meet day again. Polly and I coincidentally was thinking of going for vegetarian on that day. I recalled Madamme Yek told us during this meal that one of their favourite eating places is 4 Stones Vegetarian Restaurant on Westminster Hwy. So, Polly and I went to 4 Stones. It was unfortunate for us that 4 Stones closes on Monday.

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Polly recalled she saw Veggie Bunch Vegetarian Restaurant after she went groceries at Park Village the week before but she cant recall exactly where is it’s location. Veggie Bunch used to operate on the ground floor of the Richmond Public Market but we never eat there before because Ben, Arkensen and Nanzaro are meat lovers. Vegetarian does not appeal to them.

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After making a few rounds the block of Park Village, we finally found Veggie Bunch Vegetarian Restaurant on Buswell St. It is actually located behind Great One Supermarket. You can park at Park Village parking lot if you want to dine at Veggie Bunch.

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Veggie Bunch is an all you can eat place. There are 16 items on the buffet to choose from. The price for AYCE lunch is $10.99. If I remember correctly, AYCE dinner is $12.99. Polly told me that Veggie Bunch served more varieties when they were at the Richmond Public Market. Although Polly has not eaten there, she knew one of the staff who used to work there and sometimes, when she shopped at the RPM, she would drop by Veggie Bunch to say hello to her friend.

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Among the 16 items, there are 2 soups, 1 dessert soup and some steamed buns at the very far end of the buffet table.

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We started off with the soups. The two types of soup are a sour and spicy soup and a herbal soup. The herbal soup tastes a bit like Bak Kut Teh and it has shiitake mushroom and some kind of glutens which are quite chewy.

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The sour and spicy soup is too acidic, lacking the sweetness from meat. It’s the least favourite among the two soups.

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The above are my two rounds of food. Among the items are:

  • stir fried vermicelli
  • fried rice which has a chewy texture like sticky rice
  • crispy vegetarian spring roll
  • stir fried cabbage and another green vegetables which is nicely done, i.e. still crisp
  • spicy eggplants
  • pan fried radish cake
  • deep fried bean curd skins (which is called “so ngor” or vegetarian goose),
  • tofu, etc

I kind of feel guilty because I over ate at buffet as I always do. But, the good thing is that they are all vegetarian food. Here are some highlights of the items on the buffet … (more…)

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Spicy Vegetarian Cuisine on No 3 Road and Browngate, Richmond

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 … (more…)

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Stir-Fried Bok Choy

Stir-Fried Bok Choy is a very common dish in Chinese family. In fact, you can stir-fried any green leaves vegetables simply with ginger and garlic and seasoned with salt or oyster sauce.

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In the South Arm Cooking Club for Seniors, Charlene selected Stir-Fried Bok Choy as one of the Chinese theme dishes. Charlene wanted to introduced various bok choy to members who are not familiar with such vegetables.

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 12 baby bok choy, whole (trimmed)
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

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From right to left, Shanghai bok choy, milk bok choy, baby bok choy. When choosing baby bok choy, get the smallest ones you can find, ideally smaller than 3 inches. If they’re larger, cut them in half lengthwise.

Source: adapted from Vicki Fan

Prep time: 10 minutes;  Cook time: 5 minutes;  Serve 4

Frank, Marcel and Sydney made this dish.

(more…)

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Purity Vegetarian Restaurant on Cambie and Sexsmith, Richmond

Updated: 28th Sep 2010; this restaurant is closed.

We noticed this location being renovated into a vegetarian restaurant which was formerly Ellie Tropical Cuisine for a while. When we dined at the New Asia Deli in October, we could not help it but stop at the Purity Vegetarian Restaurant to look at the menu pasted on the shop front.  While we were studying the menu, one of the server came out to greet us. She was very friendly and invited us to come back to try their food knowing that we just had lunch.

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What captured my attention was the their dessert menu which has cheesecake, tiramisu, etc. I decided to check out their desserts with Polly for our cake meet.

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The interior is clean and neat. The wall still has the huge paintings formerly found in the Ellie Tropical Cuisine.

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Polly and I were quite disappointed when told that they do not have the cheesecake on that day. We went around the strip mall to try to find another dessert place to eat but were not able to find anything suitable. We returned to the Purity Vegetarian Restaurant to try out some of their snack items. The first item we ordered was the Crispy Veggie Oyster which costs $5.95. This crispy fried croquette is quite tasty. It is served with some pickled daikon and shredded cucumber and carrots.

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This Baked Mushroom Escargots with cheese does not look appetizing due to the colour but (more…)

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The Naam on West 4th and MacDonald, Vancouver

From being a family who usually have light breakfasts at home, we find ourselves going out for breakfasts quite a number of times lately. All this started since we first went to Bon’s Off Broadway which serves one of the best $2.95 breakfast in town.

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Frankly, Suanne and I are not big fans of breakfasts but we got to make it up to Nanzaro who was still mentioning about him missing the breakfast in Bon’s. So we woke up bright and early last weekend and went to The Naam. What we did not tell Nanzaro though is that Naam is a vegetarian restaurant.

Naam starts serving breakfast at 6AM. You might think, wow, it’s early but actually they are opened 24 hours. The Naam is located on West 4th Avenue near the intersection with Macdonald St.

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The beauty of going there early at 7AM is the quietness. The place exudes that kind of morning calmness with people enjoying a big breakfast, hot cup of coffee with a book in hand. The wooden varnished tables and casual decor adds to the charm of this place.

It was not like that for long. By 8AM, this place was absolutely buzzing with customers and getting service from the waiters is a true test of patience.

You know, you can’t just build a restaurant with these kind of ambiance these days. The total mood, character and experience we see here is built over the 40 years that The Naam had been in existence in the core of the Kitsilano neighborhood.

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The Naam has a big breakfast menu. You could probably imagine that it took us a while before we finally settle on our selection. Anyway, if you can’t read the menu above properly, click on it for a larger image.

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Hot Coffee and Hot Chocolate was $2.50 with free refills of coffee. The hot chocolate cup had a paper napkin tied to it. We were wondering why they did that because this is the first time we had seen anyone doing it. Does anyone know if there is a practical reason for this?

The hot chocolate was pretty good. It tastes like it is made with cocoa powder and is unsweetened. We like it this way but knowing Nanzaro, he hates it. To him, hot chocolate is not supposed to taste this way and it has to be sweetened like those you find in Denny’s and IHOP.

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The Naam describes themselves as a “Vancouver’s Oldest Natural Foods Restaurant”. They pride themselves as saying most of everything they serve are made in premises, using pure and fresh ingredients.

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Nanzaro opted for the Breakfast Quesadilla ($9). It has red organic corn tortillas with scrambled eggs. You can opt for tofu instead of eggs.

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You got to hand it to Naam. Their breakfasts are … (more…)

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Saravanaa Bhavan on Broadway, Vancouver

Updated: 24th Dec 2014; This restaurant is closed according to Urbanspoon.com.

Christina and ET invited us to try something new … a meal they enjoyed a lot and thought of going there again. We hardly had any vegetarian meals before and thought it would be a great idea to check it out.

Saravanaa Bhavan on Broadway
Saravanaa Bhavan on Broadway

It is hard to correctly spell the name of the name of the restaurant. Firstly, there are too many syllables and then the way it is spelt makes it difficult to remember.

Saravanaa Bhavan is a popular South Indian Vegetarian restaurant. I checked with some of my East Indian friends and they all swear by the food here. Saravanaa Bhavan is located on Broadway, just east of Oak. I was told that this is where the Broadway Phnom Penh restaurants once was.

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Their premises is really clean. We were there early. That is why you see that it was quite empty. By the time we left,the place was bustling with customers.

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Service was superb. Being new to South Tamil cuisine, we obviously asked a lot of dumb questions. The waiters were very keen to help us with our questions.

They came by promptly and served us water with stainless steel cups. It felt kind of odd at first drinking from the cups.

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I had to be the hero. The waiter tried to talk me out of ordering the Lasi saying that I would enjoy the Mango Lasi more. Christina also tried, in vain, to tell me I better order the Mango Lasi. The more they tried to talk me out of it, the more determined I was to order the traditional Lasi.

The Lasi ($3.50) came in two flavours … salted or sweetened. Salted sounded more exotic and so Salted Lasi it was. Well … it came and it looked like some thickened milk. The taste … it was sour and salty and frankly, not meant to be rude or what, it tastes like … puke. It was not my kind of drink but I finished it off nevertheless … a sip at a time. Actually, the first sip was the worst but it gradually was not so bad after that. I tried the Mango Lasi ($3.75) … and yes, it was like a million times better.

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I consider the Medhu Vada ($5) the Indian version of donuts. There were four pieces of it. It is fried lentil donuts and served with coconut chutney and sambar. Unlike the normal donuts, this one is quite salty.

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Arkensen and Nanzaro could not find Salted Fish Fried Rice on the menu. So, they ordered the next thing closest to fried rice. They had the Paneer Biryani ($9.25). For all I know, Paneer is the Indian version of cheese … I expect to see some cheese cubes or bits in it. The boys liked it.

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My choice was simply their version of “The Works”. It is simply called the Saravanaa Special Meal ($9.95). It came with 10 small tiffins. Collectively, I think this is what they call a Thali. (more…)

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Simply Vegetarian in Richmond

Update 07-Dec-2010: This restaurant is closed. Must have been closed for a while already.

We bumped into Steven a couple of months ago in Chapters. Steven used to work with Ben. To our surprise, Steven knows about chowtimes and being a vegetarian, he invited us to try out vegetarian food. We had never visited a vegetarian restaurant before and quickly accepted his invite.

Steven brought us to a restaurant called Simply Vegetarian on Akroyd in Richmond.

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With Steven’s recommendation, Ben ordered a combo meal for $6.95. The combo meal comes with a miso soup.

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Ben ordered this 3 cups of Treasure which is veggie meat made from soy bean starch cooked in ginger, basil, peanut and satay sauce. We were surprised by the taste of the dish which is pretty good.

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