FYI SOUTH Magazine, July 2004.

Green Vogue Coffee

720, JiuRu 1st Rd., SanMin, Kaohsiung City
(inside the National Science & Technology Museum grounds; entrance in the sub-level children's park, just left of the museum's main entrance)
(07) 392-9607
Hours: 11 am-2 pm; 5 pm-9 pm


      Green Vogue Coffee is a whole lot more than a cafe: It is perhaps the best vegetarian dim sum restaurant in Kaohsiung. There are no crowded buffet tables with too many people jostling over too little lukewarm, overcooked food; everything is ultra-fresh and brought right to your table. In short, it's the kind of vegetarian restaurant that even dedicated carnivores can enjoy.

      Beautifully situated in the underground plaza aside the front entrance of the National Science & Technology Museum, it has an exterior that looks like something designed by Ludwig Miles van der Rohe. Meanwhile, the spacious interior decor exudes that quiet understated Zen ambiance that quickly lets you focus on friends, conversation, and a good meal.

      Green Vogue Coffee, the first restaurant in Taiwan to offer vegetarian dim sum, boasts a chef trained by one of Hong Kong's finest vegetarian dim sum masters. The crusts here are always light and flaky--the delicate pastry exterior is never overworked. Dim sum dishes are either steamed, baked or fried, and are skillfully filled with a broad array of vegetable combinations--steamed asparagus with a touch of ginger being this writer's favorite.

      There are many great offerings from which to choose; the selection is often revises in accordance with each season's bounty. The combinations are inspired and seemingly infinite. Prices average NT$80 per tray. Teas, coffees and fresh juices are offered. All in all, a great meal that can be enjoyed at a great price.

      Go on a weekend and you'll find that the place is really hopping. During the week, it's easy to get a quiet table by the window, where you can look out over the grounds or just people-watch. It's best to bring along someone who speaks Chinese--there's no English menu. Alternatively, just try your luck and take a steamy basket at random off the dim sum cart!