I always try to be honest with my readers about the restaurants I review. If the restaurant is in fact delicious and aligns with my mission of helping others lead healthier lifestyles, I will give it a great review! While I do not agree with the food preparation in all vegan restaurants, I still think they are worth reviewing and showcasing different cultures' takes on vegan food.
In today's blog post, I'm going to take you to the far East to a vegan restaurant in Beijing. The lovely Xinran Wang, a good friend of mine, is from China and stopped in to have lunch at this restaurant recently. She's a student from NYU and is currently studying abroad in Abu Dhabi. I was thrilled when she agreed to write a review for Plant Based Carolina. I always love to keep things international and spicy!
Read on for Xinran's review.
Serene Lotus Restaurant (Chinese Buddhist Vegetarian Restaurant)
By: Xinran Wang
Located in one of the most original neighborhoods called Dongsi in Beijing and a just twenty-minute walk from the most visited venue where Tian’anmen, the Forbidden City, and National People’s Congress are located, the restaurant offers a serene dining experience with meat-free versions of Chinese classics made from vegetables, as well as tofu with its infinite forms.
The vibe of the restaurant is nothing too special. It just looks like any other old, traditionally decorated, middle priced restaurant you see everywhere in China. However, they have altars and Buddha statues on the reception desk.
The dishes tasted great and just like the original meat dishes they want to imitate. But since the idea of this kind of restaurant is to re-create the flavor of traditional dishes with only vegetarian materials, they use a lot of spices and excessive oil, which is not completely healthy.
The beef substitute is made using konjac and tofu. Konjac is a plant grown in China, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, and Southeast Asia and its root is used for its high starch content to produce a vegan gelatin and/or flour. It is predominately used for is texture rather than flavor.
素肉夹膜Su Rou Jia Mo* (bun filled with diced Vegan "lamb")
-the meat is made of Konjac and tofu
-the bun is made from wheat and topped with sesame seeds
*Su Rou Jia Mo is the vegan variation of a well-known Chinese street food originated from Shanxi Province. (the vendor in front of the Stern building at NYU sells it also).
素夫妻肺片Su Fu Qi Fei Pian** (Husband and wife vegan "beef" slices in chili sauces)
-hot chili oil
**In this vegan dish the beef slices are substituted by tofu and konjac.
Lianfeng Hutong, Dongcheng District, Beijing
+86 10 6405 6800