All Reviews by eatinggreen
Penang Adventist Hospital, Old Wing, 465, Jalan Burma, George Town, Penang, Malaysia
This place rocks!
Seriously didn't expect to find this gem in Penang, let alone inside of a hospital. There's something about Western style medical establishments that feels innately incompatible with the concept of good food, but alas, the Adventists have successfully married the two.
This is a small but incredibly popular bakery: so many people come in and out of this place in the space of 5mins... and no wonder. They sell loads of interesting Asian and Western style breads, many of which we've never seen in vegetarian versions - their breads with curries and sambals etc inside are absolutely heavenly! A lot of their breads are wholemeal and some are even sprouted, so health is key here. Unlike most Asian breads the bread itself isn't sweet, although admittedly some of the fillings are. There is something there for everyone and turnover is fast. A big tray of goodies comes out of the kitchen and is snapped up quickly, only to be replaced by the next batch of joy. If you are vegan do check with them though, I did see some egg tarts so they must use some eggs/dairy etc.
The main reasons why I haven't given them 5 carrots are:
- Not all of the breads are wholemeal so you do have to choose
- Not sure what sugar they use to sweeten the sweet dessert breads (which are quite sweet)
- The bread is good but not quite artisinal (by global standards at least)
- It's in a hospital... slight 'eek' factor
Still, we've already been here a number of times to stock up on healthy snacks and breakfast options. (Well...bread itself isn't really a health food, but when you're traveling it can be a life saver.)
To find it, get a taxi to the Adventist hospital and walk to the far left entrance to the building (right across from the Shell station). It's just inside the entrance.
Ukyo-ku, Kyoto Teranomae-cho, 28-3, Kyoto, Japan
A solid choice for shojin in Kyoto
Ajiro is one of the few temple cuisine specialists that is open late enough for a regular dinner. This, together with the fact that the food is fabulous, makes it a regular stop on our Kyoto route. Situated in what feels to be an old house, we always seem to be seated in the same room... possibly because all the other rooms are for larger parties. It's small and a bit rickety but reassuringly cozy. Service is gracious and kind. The food all tastes wonderful - their specialty is a soy milk dish that starts right from the first course and continues right until the end of the meal - as it simmers away all night you skim the layers that form on the top (in this form called 'yuba'), bathe them in one of the four condiments provided and eat..really yummy. For the same reason though, this is probably not the best place if you're not keen on soy.
The rest of the meal is often quite creative, with the occasional use of non-local ingredients as punctuation. Our fruity dessert once came out presented inside a huge bowl made of rock solid ice, which glistened glamorously as we indulged.. felt very extravagant!
This is not my no.1 favourite shojin spot in Kyoto but it's up there with the best nonetheless and is worth checking out if you have the chance.
Ramirez de Velazco 701, Esquina Acevedo, Villa Crespo, Buenos Aires, Argentina
This was the worst eating experience we have had in a long time. We were worried from the second we walked in , as the whole place smelled very strongly of toilet cleaner.
The menu is very limited, food is almost all cheese (we asked for a pasta with no cheese, got a cannenoli that was roughly 80% cheese-filled). Only juice is orange juice, everything else is in a can etc. Vegetable pie was burnt - sent it back, and the replacement was frozen inside. Salad was AWFUL - lettuce doused in commercial island dressing that was so bad it reminded me of those games where the loser has to eat a tube of wasabi. Service and menu in spanish only. No idea what makes it so 'authentic Argentinean', as the only choices involved pastas, risottos and pies... same as everywhere else. We made a run for it very quickly and won't be back in a hurry.
Oh yes, and the location is dark and out of the way, so not convenient to anywhere either. We waited ages just to find a taxi (we headed to another restaurant, to start afresh).
1 Babington Avenue, Georgetown, Penang, Malaysia
Best indian in Penang
We 'discovered' this place on our last day in Penang and are kicking ourselves that we didn't find it earlier! From the HC description (which I will edit now) it sounded as though food was only available on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but it seems they are open every day except Mondays, for all three meals.
We attended the Saturday lunch buffet, which is situated in a lovely garden environment. The vibe is peaceful and compassionate. The selection of food is not huge but plenty enough to keep you interested. The chana masala in particular was the best we've tasted in ages, but everything was nice. Since it is vegetarian festival time there were more Chinese there than usual and to make the food suitable for them apparently they are cooking without garlic and onion for the next 9 days.
From the reaction we got when we paid for our food I got the impression we paid more than most, but it was still worth every ringitt. The service here was also friendly - they called us a taxi and chatted to us as we waited for it. Which reminds me - it is in a quiet residential area, so best to ask them to call a taxi for you when you're done (unless you have your own means of transport).
Looking forward to visiting the one in KL too.
976/17 Soi Rama 9 Hospital, Hwaykwang, Bangkok, Thailand
Up there with the best in Bangkok
After a string of negative experiences we were beginning to lose our challenging spirit when it came to dinnertime... are we in for another dose of MSG slosh? We were almost tempted to go with a proven standard, since energy levels had been lagging from so much low quality food.
Well Anotai was a good find, thankfully! We suspected we might be in for a good experience when we saw the drinks list was extensive and included a vast array of interesting teas and juices that we'd never even heard of. And when they arrived - hooray! They were good. (The butterfly pea tea is naturally bright blue!)
We ordered some tempeh tempura with a sweet and sour-ish sauce (admittedly not Thai but fabulous all the same), a vege & tofu stir-fry with basil/chili (great too!), a green curry (the only curry on the menu unfortunately.. taste was quite sweet so not quite as sophisticated as some, but pleasant nonetheless), vermicelli noodles with gravy (Chinese inspired and not extremely flavoursome but absent of MSG and still enjoyable), and some brown rice. It all went down very quickly since we felt like it was the first 'real' food in ages!
Although we really should have stopped there, we couldn't resist trying some of the plentiful desserts - all Western style (we wish they did some Thai desserts!). We tried some scones (lime zest and butterfly pea) and a peach/berry crumble with passionfruit ice-cream. They were all nice but too sweet for our tastes - but then we don't eat many Western style sweets as they're all like that really so we're probably not the best judge of what other people would think of them.
The staff all seemed like they wanted to be somewhere else and were reluctant in their help at times although the owner was more than happy to call us a taxi so we didn't have to walk in the rain to find one.
The decor was lovely though and the presentation of the dishes was top notch. Location is very near to Water Drop Teahouse but the standard of the food couldn't be more different.. we'll be back at Anotai to try some more dishes. The organic vegetable salad is high on the list for next time.
2nd Floor Life Center, Q-House Building Lumphini, Sathorn Rd, Bangkok, Thailand
Raw organic food - pretty hard to complain!
We were stoked to find that one of the two raw food restaurants in Bangkok (that we know of) was really close to where we are staying in Lumphini. So one fine day we decided to wade through the exhaust fume sauna that is Bangkok central in search of a healthy oasis... or at the very least a good vege juice.
Upon arriving I couldn't help with I hadn't have dressed like a lost Indian tribal elder, since the place was crawling with corporate types - odd place for a raw food joint but hey, the proximity was definitely still a good thing.
Gliding through the polished fluorescent white halls that are the Life Mall we found the place relatively easily and settled down to some juices, raw pad thai and some other things which I can't remember off the top of my head. Not a huge seletion but it was pretty good - wouldn't rate it quite up there with Rasayana but it was nevertheless thoroughly enjoyed. We bought some crackers to go, which later proved nice as well, although quite expensive and frustratingly thin (couldn't help wonder how they managed to spread the mixture out so thinly!).
We went back more recently for some juices when we decided to fast for a day... again, the location was great for us, so smiles all round. A very hygienic (perhaps too much so) spot for a boost of fresh food and a very welcome addition to the Bangkok eating scene.
Jalan Hanoman 38, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Extensive menu but does have issues
They cook with white sugar which is not only unhealthy but means nothing tastes wholesome or good. Staff isn't knowledgeable about either the ingredients in the food served or the requirements of vegans, so requesting adaptations is difficult and risky. Service is pretty average - partly an English problem, partly an attitude issue... our waitress refused to admit she had made a mistake and wanted to charge us for something we hadn't ordered.
Jalan Gootama, Ubud, Bali, Indonesia
Very good if you order right
We find ourselves eating here more than once every time we visit Bali. Even though it is not vegetarian or even really health focused, we find we are able to get a better fill of cooked vegetables than typically available at the veg places in town. We generally order almost all the veg options on the menu (portion sizes are small) and between the two of us that is more than enough for a good dinner. Taste profiles are very good - much better than most veg places in town - and it's great that it's actually local cuisine so you're experiencing the local culture a bit despite not eating meat.
The downside for us is that the vibe is a bit less pure/relaxing than most Balinese vegan places - you have to put up with other patrons drinking and smoking copiously... being non-veg and relatively cheap, it attracts a different crowd.
Haad Chao Phao, Koh Phangan, Thailand
Not worth the effort
Don't go out of your way to find this place. Yes they have lots of vege options on the menu, but they are all pretty ordinary and certainly no better than what you can already get anywhere else by simply asking for a vege version of whatever meat options they offer.
We ordered some whole wheat bread to go and 20 mins later they came out with a severely over-toasted baguette wrapped in aluminium foil - we suspect it may have been several days old. One thing we did enjoy was their juices - they can do a beetroot and carrot juice, which is a rare find on this island. That would be the only reason we could think of for going back though. Service is slow (the chefs were snoozing on the restaurant floor when we arrived) and the outdoor seating area can get pretty hot in the daytime - best to head for the beach and find something there.
Rua Xavier da Silveira, 28, Rio De Janeiro, Brazil
A convenient organic lunch option
We weren't blown away by this place but it was ok all the same. The ambience is lovely - it's really nicely done out in natural woods with some modern touches... feels very new and trendy. The menu is not huge but sufficient nonetheless. Most of the best options are listed on the daily specials list, so the experience will be different depending what day of the week you visit. We ended up with quite a lot of proteins and not so many veges. The juices were not the super vege concoctions we prefer either, instead being mostly fruit based - some interesting and unique combinations though, including the use of herbs and spices in them.
The food arrives at the table very quickly after being ordered, so they must be pre-made..obviously fresh would be better, as you don't get that buzz you get from freshly prepared meals. The taste profiles are also not quite up there with the best - we suspect the chefs are not all that accomplished. They are trying though and the vibe is positive and upbeat, so kudos to them.
No English is spoken but they have an English version of the menu. Ordering involves finding the Portugese equivalent and pointing to it.
All in all, not a place we will be running back to, but if we are in the area and hungry, we will probably try our luck a second time. It's certainly doable.
Updated from previous review on Thursday January 03, 2013
77 Xavierville Ave, 2nd Floor, Llannar Bldg, Quezon City, Metro Manila, Philippines
Lovely little cafe in Quezon City
This was another great find in Manila. The menu was quite limited - they had about 5 dishes pre-made in pots on the counter and only 2 types of juice (sugar cane juice and orange juice) so not a whole lot to choose from. We generally don't prefer pre-made foods, but these ones were great. Cooked with minimal oil without mock meats or excess unhealthy condiments such as sugar and salt, etc. They had just enough to bring the natural flavours of the ingredients out and nothing more. We tried 3 of the 5 dishes - a vegetable curry (which had an indian feel to it but it may be local, we're not sure), a local dish called 'laing' (taro leaves in coconut milk) and kare-kare (peanut based stew), served with brown rice. All were fabulous - naturally full of flavour and a great introduction to the local cuisine. Only wish they had more available for us to try! The restaurant was pleasant and clean - it looked out over a nice little fruit stand, which was nice. Looking forward to trying them again sometime.
Ryusenji 1-2-11, Irya, Tokyo, Japan
May be the world's best
Can't believe I haven't already reviewed this place, considering it's been our go-to place for special nights out for many years now.
What can I say - this is the real deal. We live in Japan and have tried almost all the temple cuisine restaurants but this is still our favourite. We've also traveled the world far and wide and can't think of any meal we've had so far that could beat it. It's more than a meal, it's an experience, a tradition, a treasure trove of knowledge and also a special interaction with the dedicated old couple who prepare each and every bite with loving care.
The presentation of the food is second to none and the tastes are rich and varied. The food comes out in courses and the menu changes monthly to reflect and celebrate the exact season. You do need to order in advance as their 'no waste' policy means they only have as much food as they will need on hand. They also need notice as they begin the preparation process in advance - when you see how intricate the cuisine is, you'll understand why!
We've taken lots of foreign visitors here and we've found some love it, others have trouble with the traditional flavours and textures. Either way though, if you've only ever experienced Japanese food overseas or in modern Japanese eateries it's likely you don't even know whether you like real traditional Japanese cuisine. Even if you find out it's not for you, the night is sure to be an experience. If you're here and you're vege (or even if you're not!), this one's not to be missed.
538-6 Shijyo Agaru Shinkyougoku Nakanocho Nakagyoku, Kyoto, Japan
We, like others, found it hard to locate this place... it's sort of in the mall but sort of not - in a side street, a few doors from the main thoroughfare.
Once we found it we were starving and looking forward to a good veggie burger. It was ok, but nothing extraordinary and with the fries and lack of anything resembling real food it felt just a tad too junky for us. We came away feeling as though we hadn't really eaten - not hungry, but not nourished either.
Service wasn't very warm or friendly and the vibe wasn't really our cup of tea either - dark but not moody, rather a bit stale and stuffy - like an old house that's been left to sit for decades.
What we did like was that local kids seemed to be coming in to eat there. Good to see presumably non-vegans enjoying vegan fare.. even if it's not the healthy stuff, I guess it's a good start.
293/18, Soi Kam Chai Iamsuri Suriwong Rd, Bangkok, Thailand
We found this place through total chance. Well, not exactly actually. We were on our way to Herwin's vegan restaurant which is just a few stores down, but when we got there we couldn't bring ourselves to go in... the fluorescent hamburger joint vibe was not our scene at all. So after much wandering around (we were trying to find Saravana Bhavan but to no avail), we ended up at Thali's which was almost right next door to where we started.
It's in a little lane that shoots out behind the 7-11 in Bang Rak. It was quite dark and late and I have to say we did hesitate about going in.. there was nobody in there except the staff (although the same could be said for Herwin's). At after 10pm the alternatives were pretty sparse and dodgy so in we went.
The menu wasn't as extensive as some Indian restaurants we've been to recently and some items were out (to be fair, it was very late). We ended up with a mixed vege curry, a makhana dhal, bindhi (lady's finger) curry, mushroom rice and an onion naan. We asked for less oil, as we have become accustomed to doing in Indian restaurants to avoid being doused in the stuff. Oh yes, and we got some lime juice too - one sweet and one salty, just to keep things random!
We were a little nervous as we waited. Drinks came first. The salty lime was.. well, salty but just what my partner felt like. The sweet one was quite sweet but refreshing nevertheless.
Then came the curries and naan. The naan didn't look half bad and a few nibbles confirmed it was indeed pretty good! First curry off the rack was the mixed veg. OMG - it's REALLY good! Like, best we've tried in quite a while. The bhindi curry was a winner too. The daal - a bit creamy for our liking (certainly not vegan by the way, could feel the heaviness of the cream not to mention the ghee that probably goes in it all too) but definitely not bad. We were told the mushroom rice wasn't fried but it still had some oil of some sort in it - it too was nice, but next time we'd probably just go for steamed rice to reduce the oil intake a bit.
The waiter came over several times to check that everything was ok. When he saw our sincerely happy faces he seemed genuinely pleased and explained it was North Indian cuisine.
So yep, we'd have no hesitation in going back if in the mood for Indian. We were craving a salad afterwards, but hey it's indian so that's pretty standard in our experience.
Chatuchak Market, Bangkok, Thailand
Most authentic feed in Bangkok
Without claiming to have been to them all, we're willing to bet this place is probably the most authentic when it comes to Thai veg*n food. A bit of a way out from the city centre, but we'll be doing it again before we leave for sure.
We got there about half an hour before closing time (2pm), so my guess is that it's probably even better earlier in the day. We didn't have a great selection but everything we did have was fabulous and healthy. The taste profiles finally had that 'only in Thailand' feel that we had been missing so far. Relieved to be finally finding the good stuff! I will say though, it was VERY hot. At closing time they pull down then shutters so there's no breeze at all. My partner thought he was going to fall off his plastic chair for a moment there! If like us you get a bit lost finding it, just ask a local - they all seem to know it if you mention Santi Asoke so pretty hard to not to get there.
Oh yes - be sure to visit the nearby market as well. Full of every exotic fruit you can imagine and lots of stalls offering a great selection of traditional Thai desserts and treats that we'd been having locating in central Bangkok. The coconut sticky rice baked in banana leaf over a BBQ type grill was awesome.
Bottom line - we'll be back very soon ;)
Long Men Lou, Nan Lian Garden, 60 Fung Tak Rd, Kowloon, China
Lovely location, limited flavour
Loved the setting - the walk through the garden to get here was the perfect antidote to a chaotic business trip in HK.
The other good things about this place were that the food wasn't overly oily and that it is possible to get a meal without MSG... but you may have to ask as we did - hard to say what would have come out otherwise. The food we ended up trying was all pretty much devoid of flavour. We are natural foodists and can handle subtle flavours but this was almost beyond that and in the realm of zero. As I write this I am starting to think that maybe our no MSG request may have had something to do with that. hmm...
The other difficulty we had here was that there weren't many vegetables on offer. Typical in Asia, I know, but still not appreciated. If you're not eating 80% vegetables and you are vegetarian I seriously think you need to rethink things. In this restaurant though, it was the usual carbs and dumplings (all containing the same filling) and not much else.
Service was polite and attentive - but you're paying for it too as the prices are certainly not cheap. Probably would come back just because of the nice location but the food wasn't anything to write home about.
89-1 Sanjo-dori, Ohashi-cho, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto, Japan
Good food in a clinical environment
When we first arrived we hesitated to go inside. It's literally some sort of medical clinic and looks and feels the part in every way. Brightly beaming fluorescent lighting, harshly sterile whites and cheap plastic materials abound. Everything about it felt wrong to us.
But alas, we had come a long way so we figured we may as well venture in. We were in a hurry so didn't have time to sit down to eat - and given the ambiance we didn't want to either. We ordered an acai smoothie and an oil-free curry each to go.
The smoothies hit the spot and were gone in seconds - no taking away involved in that interaction! Thumbs up. The curry we enjoyed later on in the bullet train and it was yummy too - very healthy and true to its words, oil free, so we felt good afterwards, which is important to us.
If only they would do something about the environment we'd be back for sure. Other reviewers speak of 6 course meals which does tickle my curiosity, but I wonder if we could stand being in there for long enough to eat 6 courses... all those bright lights would surely be off-putting. Still, might give it a go sometime. If we do, we'll report back again...
UPDATE: So we did it - we went back and tried the course. The lights and ambience were still a big issue for us but wow, can see why all the positive reviews as the food is wonderful.. inspired, creative, delicious and super healthy all in one. Definitely worth your time and money.
Updated from previous review on Wednesday September 10, 2014
Chenghuang Temple, 23 Bailin Road, Shanghai, China
Dirty and stale shop... urghh!
First of all, no idea who wrote the description about this restaurant but anyone who reads that and goes to eat here will be horrified upon arrival. The restaurant is split into two levels. The floor level is revolting... the level of hygiene is way below par, making any hint of appetite disappear rather quickly. We were ushered upstairs, where the a la carte menu is apparently offered (or actually we think they might use it for foreigners, since the floor level is disgusting). Upstairs was less horrific, but we were already quite worried by this stage - wonder what the kitchen looks like... hmm. We ordered just enough to fuel us until the next stop - some bowls of noodles and a plate of vegetables. All were quite sugary-sweet although not altogether unpalatable. The hygiene concerns were all too much for us though so we were out of there as soon as we could get it all down. We were in the area again a few weeks later and joked about going in for some more.. not likely to happen in this life ;)