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HOME > TAIPEI > DINING

TAIWAN FUN MAGAZINE > June 2009
 

Modern, healthy gourmet Vegetarian Cuisine: Blossoming, LEasy House Vegetarian Cuisine, The Veggie House, Serenity Restaurant

Written and translated by Diva Yang
Photos by Andy Lin

Blossoming

 

 

 

 

Blossoming

3, Alley 31, Lane 191, MinQuan E Rd, Sec 3; (02) 2716-4501
Hours: 11:30 am-9:30 pm
Credit cards not accepted.
No service charge.
www.blossoming.com.tw

Best friends Jasmine and Joanne became vegetarians because of their philosophy against killing. However, they soon realized that most vegetarian restaurants couldn't cater to their dietary needs. As a result, they decided to put their culinary skills to work and open a vegetarian restaurant of their own. Because their daytime showbiz jobs take up most of their time and their frequent overseas travel, dining at Blossoming is by reservation only--you must call two days in advance to book a table. Show up on a impulse and you'll probably be disappointed to find a locked door. When the weather is nice and sunny, you can sit in the garden here and enjoy a hearty, healthy meal in an relaxing, sun-kissed environment. The main goal of Blossoming is not profit but good karma. The two owners have become close friends with their customers and together get involved in charity events, such as visiting senior-citizen homes all over Taiwan. They both love traveling, especially to Burma, Thailand, India, Nepal and Tibet, and seek creative, exotic cuisine inspirations in these foreign experiences. Most dishes are based on the cuisine of their favorite traveling destinations, and all dishes are vegetarian without added eggs or alcohol. No menu is available and everything is served family-style, based on the number of guests--three dishes for two people; four dishes for three, and so on. Tomato Salad, a traditional Burmese dish, is ideal for the upcoming hot, humid summer, while Spicy Hot Vegetarian Chicken is by far the most popular dish. When you take a bite, it's hard to believe that it's not meat! Vegetarians who love spicy food will also absolutely love it. Masala Stir-Fry Eggplants is Nepali and is unbeatable when paired with Thai jasmine rice, cooked with sweet fennel. Thanks to Blossoming, vegetarians don't have to give up world cuisine just because they gave up meat!

Blossoming Blossoming

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Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine

Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine

51, Alley 4, Lane 345, RenAi Rd, Sec 4 (02) 2721-8326
Hours: 11:30 am-9 pm
Credit cards accepted.
10% service charge.
Chinese/English/Japanese menu
www.easyhouse.tw

Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine was established in 2003, the year the SARS epidemic struck Taiwan. For its sixth anniversary, it now has seven branches around the island, using healthy, fresh ingredients to make creative fusion vegetarian cuisine. When you walk into Easy House, its very zen-like decor will instantly put you at ease. There is a fresh pot of authentic vintage pu-erh house tea on each table--complimentary and all-you-can-drink. The spacious dining area here makes your lingering over a healthy meal a real enjoyable experience. A menu that changes every two years has introduced a good variety of cuisine. Every quarter, seasonal specialties are represented and only limited quantities are available. For summer 2009, the first recommendation is Pumpkin And Vegetable Rice (NT240, NT$420/set meal), consisting of fried rice with jasmine rice, purple sticky rice, oats, brown rice, baby pumpkins and pickled vegetables, with the last two ingredients imported from Japan. The natural, leafy green Japanese pickled vegetable provides a natural seasoning that replaces any condiments. The second recommendation is Portuguese Angel Hair In Soup (NT240, NT$420/set meal), with Italian angel hair pasta, fresh vegetables and Hokkaido seaweed served in soup stock made of Thai curry and French milk. Its rich aroma and slightly spicy taste are perfect for awakening your appetite during the humid summer. Nine out of 10 customers order the set menu because it offers a good nutritional balance of food, including fruit and vegetable energy juice, Japanese salad, pot soup, a main course, seasonal fruit and dessert. If you're not in a hurry, you can easily spend two hours enjoying this six-course meal. Easy House offers its full menu all day and takeouts are available. The Relaxation Bento Box Set (NT$280), Bliss Bento Box Set (NT$240) and Joy Bento Box Set (NT$300) are cheaper but almost identical to set meals, without the fruit and vegetable energy juice.

Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine

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The Veggie House

The Veggie House

 

The Veggie House

159, ShiPai Rd, Sec 2, BeiTou District
(02) 2822-0204
Hours: lunch 11 am-2 pm; afternoon Tea 2-5 pm; dinner 5-9 pm
MRT: ShiPai Station Exit 2
Credit cards accepted.
No service charge.
www.food-garden.com.tw

The Veggie House was opened toward the end of 2007 by Mr. Hsu Jian-jun, originally in an export business. After following his wife's vegetarian practices, he realized how difficult it was for vegetarians to eat out. So he decided to start a vegetarian restaurant featuring Chinese and Western cuisine. During his days studying abroad in the U.S., he supported himself by working part-time at various restaurants while going to school full-time, earning him not only a diploma but also valuable restaurant business experience. Now a restaurant owner himself, he hopes to offer similar opportunities to students in need of part-time jobs to support themselves as they study. At The Veggie House, he also aims to introduce Western dining concepts learned overseas to Taiwan. Through word of mouth, The Veggie House has attracted 9-to-5 office workers and residents in the neighborhood. Some out-of-town diners bring elderly family members who are vegetarians for a different dining experience. Many are also tired of the usual oily, salty market vegetarian eateries. By offering a simple American decor theme and a clean and bright dining space, Mr. Hsu hopes to provide a comfortable environment (including free wireless) to promote modern vegetarian cuisine in. Everything features reduced oil, salt and sugar, and no eggs or alcohol. The healthy and nutritious French Baked Mushrooms (NT$180) is whole mushrooms baked with grated cheese. Chinese Knotweed Hotpot (NT$420, with rice, drink and dessert) is a full pot of fresh vegetables served with a Chinese herbal and ginseng root soup stock that offers you satisfaction without the guilt. A 30% discount promotion is offered every first and 15th day on the lunar month, and everything is 50% off for Buddhist nuns and monks and senior citizens. Mr. Hsu plans to open more branches offering simple Western vegetarian dishes, such as pasta, along the MRT lines in the near future so that a growing number of people can enjoy affordable, healthy and delicious vegetarian dining.

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Serenity Restaurant

Serenity Restaurant

(02) 2357-0377
1, Lane 1, ZhenJiang St
Hours: 11 am-2 pm, 5-9 pm
MRT: ShanDao Temple Station Exit 2
Credit cards not accepted.
10% service charge.
Chinese/English/Japanese menu
http://www.serenity.com.tw

The Wu family has been in the restaurant business for years. After their daughter became a vegetarian for religious reasons, she managed to convince her parents to give up their already well-established business. Instead, they started a new business, devoted exclusively to vegetarian cuisine, two and a half years ago. It's located on the first alley directly behind The Sheraton Hotel and features a pleasant, well-lit dining space. Serenity Restaurant serves pure vegetarian dishes. That means no eggs or dairy products, with the exception of two hotpots that contain milk as soup stock. The Wu family vegetarians can't stand bland flavors, and traveled to Sichuan province for recipes and inspiration to create healthy, spicy Sichuan cuisine. Their signature dish, Steamed Sticky Tofu (NT$400), is full of aromas and flavors without the grease. If you're a hotpot lover, Preserved Chinese Cabbage Hotpot (NT$300/small) is both tasty and good for the body. Serenity Good Health Hotpot (NT$1,000) is big enough for eight to 10 to share, and needs to be ordered at least a day in advance. For the summer ahead, new dishes have been added to weekday lunch specials. Japanese Seaweed Cold Noodles (NT$180, includes salad, soup and two side dishes) is very refreshing on a hot summer day, while Chinese Cabbage Salad (NT$180) resembles cold slaw; diners can request a slightly sour flavor to their preference. Sliced Apples Wrapped In Japanese Perilla frutesce (NT$260) is an unusual veggie and fruit combination, with a thin layer of peanut butter and crispy apples wrapped in green leaves. Jew's Ear Fungus Sichuan Style Salad (NT$200) is slightly spicy and full of nutrients, as the high-protein Jew's ear fungus is widely considered the vegetarian equivalent of chicken. Steamed Sweet Yam & Vegetable Meat (NT$300) follows the latest dietary trend of eating fiber-rich foods like yams. If you love hot and spicy flavors, Hot & Spicy Cold Noodles (NT$160) is sure to perk up your appetite.

Serenity Restaurant Serenity Restaurant

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