Monday, 31 July 2017

觀世音素菜餐廳 Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih. Taiwan's Oldest Vegetarian Restaurant

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

On and off, I have a secret wish to go vegetarian for a more healthy lifestyle 😄 But, so far, it has only been a nice thought 😝 Anyway, when I saw on the Taipei itinerary that we were going to visit 觀世音素菜餐廳, one of the top vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan, I was very excited. It turned out to be a memorable experience with exquisitely delicious healthful vegetarian dishes.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

When Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih started in Taipei in 1970, there were only two vegetarian restaurants here. The other have since closed, so Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih is the oldest vegetarian restaurant in Taipei, if not Taiwan.

In the past, vegetarian restaurants are not popular as vegetarian food is associated with poor peasants or workers who couldn't afford meat. Eating well is a status symbol and at that time it was hearty meat and seafood 大魚大肉. Today, vegetarianism is in trend and prices are comparable to meat and poultry, if not higher 😄  

Many new, innovative and more trendy vegetarian restaurants have since opened in Taipei and all over Taiwan. The owners of Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih are very encouraged as promoting vegetarianism is one of the founding missions of their restaurant. 

Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih have remained faithful to traditional vegetarian dishes, so if you like to try old style, no gimmicks vegetarian food in the sea of trendy restaurants, this is the go to place in Taipei.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

The layout at Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih is neat, clean and understated minimalist. The bright, comfortable restaurant has a serene, quiet, calming Zen ambiance.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

We started with the colourful "Exquisite Cold Dish 蓮台滿庭" appetiser.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

On the left are 杏鮑菇 kebabs and on the right is 曼甫燒 Vegetarian Kabayaki (Japanese style grilled eel).

The kebab is made with battered Trumpet mushrooms and fried to a golden crisp. It has a nice crispy tender chew and gentle savoury flavours.

Fried gluten based "mock meats" like 曼甫燒 Vegetarian Kabayaki has its following. There were not too many of these - just a few such dishes to give the menu variety. I do enjoy the tender chewy texture and flavour of fried gluten in moderation.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

左宗棠吉丁 Deep Fried Vegetarian Chicken with Sour Sauce. The "chicken cubes" are made with by deep frying gluten (soy protein). The "chicken cubes" are then tossed in a sweet and sour sauce.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

生餘片 Vegetarian "Sashimi" made with radish and carrot.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

Aaaaah....., I love this exquisite dish. It's 白玉絲卷 which is Japanese mountain yam or nagaimo (山藥 in Chinese) cut into long threads like ivory colour noodles.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

白玉絲卷 is eaten by dipping the "noodles" into soy sauce with a bit of wasabi. The nagaimo noodles are slimy and crunchy. It is sweet and the flavour is balanced by savoury soy sauce and a bit of spice from the wasabi.

This dish is a must try when you are at 觀世音素菜餐廳.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

觀音小卷 which read Stir Fry Vegetarian River Snail in the menu.

The river snails are Trumpet Mushrooms. The mushrooms have a nice savoury flavour and it absorbed more savoury flavours from the sauce. Gingko nuts, water chestnuts, chili etc added textures, crunch, colours and flavours to the dish.

At Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih, they try to use more mushrooms instead on relying too heavily on gluten (protein and starch from grains).

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

鍋渣豆腐 Pan Fried Tofu and Egg with Special Sauce.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

金杯霞鬆 Pine Nuts in Gold Cups.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

Little golden brown crispy bowls made with fried yam filled with bits of toasts pine nuts, mushrooms and crunchy greens. Interesting textures textures and flavours. Nuts always works for me as I am nuts about nuts 😄 I love yam and mushrooms too.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

翡翠吉祥 A healthful spinach soup with wolf berries (goji) and a cup of jiggly soft tofu (豆腐 bean curd) in the middle. Dressed with toasted pine nuts for crunch and flavour.

👉 I enjoyed 觀世音素菜餐廳 Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih, the grand dame of vegetarian restaurants in Taipei, if not Taiwan. Its mission is to promote vegetarianism deliciously. If you are vegetarian or vegan or just want to try an old school, no gimmicks vegetarian meal for a change, add Kuan Shih Yin vegetarian restaurant to your Taipei itinerary. 

Disclosure: My thanks to China Productively Center for this opportunity.

觀世音素菜餐廳-Taipei-Kuan-Shih-Yin-Su-Shih-Vegetarian-Restaurant

Restaurant name: 觀世音素菜餐廳 Kuan Shih Yin Su Shih
Address: 29, Sec 2, Min Chuan East Road, Taipei, Taiwan
GPS 25°03'45.7"N 121°31'45.6"E | 25.062690, 121.529335
Tel+886 2 2596 3488
Hours11:30am - 2:00pm | 5:00pm - 8:30pm

No pork, no lard, no Halal cert

Date visited: 20 Jul 2017

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