You MUST eat here!
Posted on 02 / 01 / 2009
This place is great. We've been eating here at least once a week since moving here in September 2008. We even have a membership card that gets us 10% off. The staff is super friendly and speaks a decent level of English, but the picture menu is really all you need.
The 20 kuai lunch special is good value. It's rice, stir-fried greens, a tofu or mock meat dish, a soup, and 3 little tastes of something sweet, sour, and salty. The lunch menu is only in Chinese, but go ahead and get it!
Our favorite dishes off the menu are the ginger chicken, stir-fried basil and bamboo shoots, tofu skin rolls, yam and green bean paste, radish pudding, wontons, xiao long bao (soup dumplings), veggie eel (nori wrapped around rice and smothered in chili sauce), and the tofu clay pot. But really, there are just so many dishes to choose from and most of them are winners.
I will only suggest a few to stay away from (due mostly to a difference in Chinese and Western palates)- the lichen starter and anything else with prickly ash sauce, and anything with bitter melon. Unless you know you like those things. We're daring, and the staff tried to warn us, but we insisted and couldn't finish those dishes. Chinese diners seem to like them though.
All tables get tea and a plate of fruit to start with and the fruit vinegars are nice to try. For sweets, we like the lotus cakes and shortbreads. But what we usually do is buy a box of cookies from the attached shop! Also available in the shop are frozen and long-life mock meats (including veggie fish, chicken, and sausage), various noodle varieties, ramen, organic teas, stir-fry sauces, soy milk powder, and Chinese language cookbooks.
Everyone we've taken here has loved it and I highly recommend Veggie Lifestyle to HappyCow users! The atmosphere is nice and the crowd is mostly Chinese with some Westerners here and there. It gets pretty busy, but we've never had to wait longer than 20 minutes for a table. You can also call ahead and reserve a table and there are private rooms and special banquet menus you can reserve. Another plus is that this restaurant doesn't use MSG and goes lighter on the oil than most places in town. The only minus I can think of is that it's not the cheapest place around. However, it's great value for the quality of food and it's affordable for most expats. We can eat for as little as 70 yuan if we try and have never gone over 115 even when we were pigging out.
yummy, healthy food, good value, friendly staff
prickly ash sauce