1 Review

First Review by H2OAddict

Crowded Vegan Buffet Favorite in Wenjiang - Edit

This vegan buffet is nestled on a side street near a traditional temple. Arches and traditional architecture flank on each side and space where the community sets up stages and perform some summer nights in the open square. Inside, you approach the counter with your money and pay at the register (19¥ for your first visit, but 16¥ with a "clean plate" ticket that is given to you at the end of the meal once you have eaten everything and brought your dishes to the drop-off station) for a small token. Then you move to the person giving out plates, bowls, and chopsticks. You exchange your token for this combination. This is your plate for the evening. Unlike in most Western buffets, you do not begin each visit to the buffet with a new plate. You bring the one previously used back every time you fill your plate.

There are rows and rows of tables. There is an upstairs and a side room for overflow seating. Also, don't be surprised if someone settles themselves next to you when there are no other seats. This is communal seating. Don't be afraid to sit down with new people!

The buffet itself is typical Buddhist fare. No onions or garlic are used in the cooking. Also absent: dairy and egg! This makes it a fine place to visit for vegans. They do use oil, salt, and sugar, so anyone SOS-free should stay clear. Also present? Cooking at high temperatures. There is a row of salads available in between the dishes and baozi, jiaozi, and soup station, but the fare is limited, making it unsuitable for RAW foodists.

There are many delectable tofu, bean, and vegetable dishes and often have sliced fruit near the desserts. Desserts are usually fried rice balls or fried dough with the "brown sugar" sauce that the Chinese use to sweeten nearly everything. It's actually a date sugar syrup with a very strong flavor. I personally stick to the fruit while I'm here for something sweet.

My favorite dishes are the white beans, sautéed broccoli, purple cabbage salad, and the dunked tofu. My diet is limited in protein on the campus where I teach and when I come here, I stock my plate with beans and tofu!

I'm not a fan of the fried-rice filled jiaozi and baozi. I skip those while eating here, but for those who love to carb load, they may enjoy them. Some of the vegetarians I've gone with absolutely adore them, some could take them or leave them.

Overall, the food is decent, but the key here is that you can eat the way anyone else in China does: with abandon. Those of us who normally have to be so careful when biting into new foods praying there is no hidden meat or egg can let their guard down and indulge! There are buffets like this all over, catering mostly to Buddhist clientele. A few times I've been here, the monks have come through for dinner. It's a very neat cultural experience to see them come through in their robes. They are usually quite friendly and will smile and wave to you if you smile at them, even if you have no Chinese.

Typical of anywhere in China, but especially in places with few foreigners, (this is pretty far from any of the schools in Wenjiang that house/host foreigners), if you are a westerner, you will be stared at. At first, it may be disconcerting, but just roll with it and you will find yourself able to simply focus on the food!

Make sure to eat everything you take! Then bring back your plate to the drop-off and they will give you a ticket that drops the price to 16¥ for your next visit!

Note: upon bringing an out-of-town friend here who is not a veg*n she LOVED the food and exclaimed, "I think this may be the cleanest restaurant I've been to in China!"

Pros: Cheap, Bland fare (no stinky tofu or stinky foods), Cultural Experience

Cons: Crowded, Few RAW options, Not SOS free

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