人人素食 Zen Zen Vegetable Foods

June 27, 2010

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I am not a vegetarian because I love animals; I am a vegetarian because I hate plants.  -A. Whitney Brown


My grandparents eat vegetarian once every 10 days and on my grandmother’s birthday it happened to be that day. My mom did a search for good vegetarian restaurants in Taipei, Taiwan and we discovered 人人素食 [Zen Zen Vegetable Foods].

The owner of the restaurant originally sold typewriters and the wife, a vegetarian, cooked delicious vegetarian dishes so when typewriters went out of business they closed the shop and opened up a vegetarian restaurant.

Random assortment of different types of stewed tofu and seafood.

Now we all know that creating a broth requires stock made from either pork or beef bones but Chef Chen Jiahong has created 100% vegetarian broths from tomatoes, carrots and other fresh fruits and vegetables. Homemade hand cut noodles accompany the rich flavorful broth topped with pickled cabbage.

手工刀切拉麵與香氣十足的紅燒湯頭融合,加入香菇絲、酸菜、素排等配料豐富的組合,令人食指大動. This is a hearty broth as well but without tomatoes which make it a lighter noodle soup, topped with fresh vegetables.

For those who prefer rice can choose the LuHong Rice, which is stewed prime meat, mushrooms, carrots and other ingredients which are poured over hot rice. The flavor is aromatic and tangy. It’s hard to believe it’s 100% vegetarian. 

Doesn’t this look like a piece of chicken? If my mom didn’t tell me that this was a vegetarian restaurant I would have walked out of there thinking I had a really good bowl of noodle soup with chicken.
The prices are even harder to believe….
Noodles: Large 70 nt (~$2.20) / Small 55 nt (~$1.55)
Rice: Large 35 nt (~$1.10) / Small 25 nt (~$0.77)

Ambience: 7; the interior of the restaurant is pretty spacious for Taiwan.
Food: 7.5; the dept of the broth is amazing considering it was made from only vegetable stock. I’d go vegetarian and that’s saying a lot.
Service: 9; the waitresses were very attentive especially to my grandparents and were willing to sing the birthday song!
Price: 9; Around $2 for a bowl of noodles? You can’t beat that, even for Taiwanese food.
Overall: 8.1; the owner of the store even sang along from the kitchen. Food’s good, staff is nice, done deal. For more information and a video review click here.

Happy Birthday 親愛的阿媽!

Bade Road, Section 1 Taipei, Alley 9, Lane 82, No. 11


Jane Ko is the Austin blogger behind A Taste of Koko, Austin's top food and travel blog featuring the hottest restaurants and weekend getaways. Jane has been a speaker at South by Southwest (SXSW), Texas Conference for Women, BlogHer, and more on entrepreneurship and social media. She lives in Austin Texas with her dog and cat.