Vegetarian-friendly Korean, Chinese, or Vietnamese?
An old friend is coming to visit me in New York and has expressed an interest in going out for Korean, Chinese, or Vietnamese food (which I guess is lacking in Iowa, where she moved for grad school). She lived in China for a while, so I'm sure she wants something "authentic" -- but she's vegetarian, so I am at a loss as to where we should go! My standby place to meet vegetarian friends is Gobo, but I'm guessing that's not quite what she's looking for...
Can anybody recommend a restaurant where we could have a good and relatively inexpensive dinner? Preferably downtown, but below Midtown would be fine too. It wouldn't have to be completely vegetarian, but definitely vegetarian-friendly... I would especially like to hear suggestions for veg Korean or Vietnamese food -- I found a Korean place called HanGawi in some other posts, but it's a little pricier than I was hoping for.
Thanks for your advice!
If they eat bi bim bap, vegetarians do well at any Korean restaurant. You can ask them to not add the beef. A decent (and very inexpensive) place is Han Bat on West 35th Street. And a lot of the banchan is veg-friendly. You should ask the waiter about the kimchee, though, as a lot of people add fermented shrimp/oysters in it. I think veg Vietnamese is harder as fish sauce is in almost everything.
Totally...for Korean food and a wonderful experience, the best place is Hangawi on 32nd between 5th and Madison. It is a little $$$, but worth it. Bonjoo in the East Village is alos really good and they are very accomodating to veggies. Vietnamese is a little tough. There is a vegan place in the East Village called Lan Cafe, but it is not fancy at all. You can always try Apple- they have great veggie options. Other maybe's would be Le Colonial, Indochine, Rain (Uptown)\. When I tried Bao 111, they were not all that helpful with trying to help me find something without fish sauce.
Go to Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell St.! You'll both love it, and it's cheap. Be sure to get the rice flour rolls with mock ham and coriander, and the watercress dumplings in soup (on the "specials" card, along with the sublime snow pea leaves dumplings) and fresh kiwi juice.
Lan Cafe is also pretty good for Vietnamese.
Franchia is a vegan Korean restaurant on Park between 34th and 35th. I eat (and love) meat, but the food here was very good and the atmosphere was refreshingly relaxing. Don't forget to try some tea.
12 Park Ave, New York, NY 10016
All great suggestions so far, but I would also add House of Vegetarian on Mott Street in Chinatown. They also own the aforementioned Vegetarian Dim Sum House on Pell Street.
There's also Red Bamboo, which might be more along the lines of Gobo (as in not very authentically Asian) but if your friend likes lots of fried faux meat, then she might like Red Bamboo.