Vegetarian Chinese Food!
Hello all! :)
I would firstly like to thank Burke and Wells for introducing me to this forum! :) What a fantastic idea.
Last night, we enjoyed one of my all time favorite restaurants in the Toronto area, called Lotus Pond. It's on Midland, near Steeles.
Now, don't get put off by the fact that this is a vegetarian chinese food restaurant. Really don't! ;) One of our group last night was rather hesitant to join us, but I believe he was pleasantly surprised.
We started with the chinese tea and the gluten. Which looks like brain cells! Weird looking stuff, but wonderfully delicious. Between the five of us, we polished off two plates! Then we progressed to the vegetarian won ton soup and deep fried won ton. All cooked perfectly.
We moved on to the Spicy eggplant, and a few other vegetable dishes... They make wonderful use of different types of mushrooms, and other different vegetables you'd never think of, along with seaweed! The 'mock' meats were exquisite! Unless someone told you they weren't meat, you'd never know.
Then we went to Licks at McKowan and the 401 to have ice cream. :) Another wondeful little experience.
I hope that's alright fellow chow hounds, for my first post. If you get the chance, definately check this place out!
Forail ! :)
Forail is absolutely right, and we are indebted to him for discovering this restaurant--indeed, this cuisine--from its hiding place in the north of Toronto. Neither Burke nor I have ever had Chinese vegetarian like it. The "mock" meats actually tasted like their namesakes. The "chicken" tasted like chicken, the "crispy duck" like duck with a crispy skin. It was a revelation. I'm certain whoever started the TVP craze over the last couple of decades took inspiration from the stunning versatility of this style of Chinese tofu cooking.
Welcome to Chowhound, Forail!
re: Burke and Wells
We like Graceful Vegetarian even more than Lotus Pond, (although nobody has yet topped Lotus Pond's Deep Fried Mango Milk for dessert)!
Graceful is hidden behind the Pacific Mall at the north east corner of Kennedy and Steeles. If you have not experienced the post-Hong Kong Chinese malls at the north end of Toronto, allow lots of time for exploring. It is much more fun than downtown Chinatown.
At the Graceful ask for the special green soup, a delicate blend of very fresh vegetables, which is not on the menu. All the food we have had over many visits has been wonderful, and no apparent MSG. A few dishes have egg (vegans should ask) but it is 100% Buddhist vegetarian. Friendly service, too. Enjoy!
4396 Steeles Ave, East Unit E8
Market Village Shopping Centre
Markham, ON Canada
An excellent alternative for those of you who live downtown is the Lotus Garden restaurant on the south side of Dundas between Beverly St. and Huron St. (just down the street from the AGO).
Excellent fare of all sorts all not just vegetarian, but Vegan. I'm a carnivore myself, but when I go out with my veggie friends, I always try to go to the Lotus Garden because they really create some amazing concoctions with their mock meats. The desserts are pretty amazing, too.
Went to Lotus Pond last night for the first time following Forail's recommendation. Thank you! The food was great! We started off with the gluten plate, which was really high quality. You can buy pre-packaged gluten plates in Chinatown and I've had those before but this stuff was much fresher. We then had the wonton soup. Also great. The broth was very light and had a wonderful snow pea flavour. We also had the Fried Cashew Nuts with Mock Chicken. This was my favourite item. It actually tasted like chicken! (Well, I thought so, but I haven't eaten chicken in about 6 or 7 years. My boyfriend said that it tasted nothing like chicken, but was still excellent.) There were also tons of cashews in the dish, which is so rare. I had expected them to skimp on the cashews. Finally, we had the two kinds of mushrooms with noodles. It was the most disappointing thing that we ordered. It was black and white mushrooms cooked with bok choy and carrots on top of noodles. It was okay, but not as great as everything else. All in all, it was an amazing meal. The jasmine tea served with the meal was also great. I don't usually like tea but I'm going to go out and buy some of this. It tasted so nice.