Huan Xi

  • Vegetarian Vegetarian
    ( 1 review )

518, Ding Zhong Rd, Sanmin District, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

歡喜素食, at 三民區鼎中路518號, cooks without added MSG. Has a buffet where you choose your vegetables. Open Mon-Fri 11:00am-7:30pm, Sun 11:00am-7:30pm. Closed Sat. except on 1st and 15th of Chinese lunar calendar.

Categories: Vegan-friendly, Buffet, Take-out, Taiwanese

1 Review

First Review by junya

A Bistro Apart - Edit

Straight to the point: excellent value! Prices are the the same as you see on any of the numerous nondescript vege street stalls that seem to be tucked in every nook, cranny, and alley of this burg. But the quality of the food in this eatery is in a class by itself: truly memorable.

Be aware that kitchen and dining are in one small shared area, so space is limited: only 3 tables inside and one on the sidewalk. Moreover, the eatery is quite popular, and in a busy location (across the street from Wenzao University). So choose your arrival time accordingly, or be prepared to wait.

Menu has no English and no photos. But there are a few photos on the wall, and the staff, despite being very busy, was quite helpful. The "buffet" is not the usual Taiwan variable-price, self-serve type. It is closer to what is called "economic rice" in Southeast Asia: you point out your dishes and the server dishes it up with rice. It is a fixed price, listed on the menu as 便當 (bento/lunchbox).

I started with a spicy sesame soup with stinky tofu (麻辣臭豆腐 on the menu). Although I don't share the local devotion to stinky tofu (just another type of tofu to me), this soup came the closest to converting me - not because of the stinky tofu, but because of the richness of the soup. It's not easy to find a good spicy soup here (unlike Southeast Asia), so this was a most welcome discovery. Although the soup was not too spicy, to cool things down a bit I tried a bowl of dry hand-pulled noodles (乾拉麵). This humble little side-dish was my favorite: I could eat it every day. Perfect firm noodles in a simple but tasty sauce. In love with the noodles, I also ordered them in a miso soup (味噌拉麵) to take away. In soup the noodles were still excellent - softer but not soggy. The soup was tasty, though miso was not as strong as I prefer and came with mock fishballs that I had to fish out.

Don't want to set expectations too high, so I'll simply say it would be a cardinal sin to set foot in the Wenzao U area without checking out this place.

Pros: Excellent food, Excellent value, Helpful staff

Cons: Small dining area, Menu: no English, no photos

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