Monday, 12 December 2011

Restaurant Reivew: One-person banquet (Yilan City)

 Lucky is the traveller outside Taipei’s main cities who can find more on offer then rice and noodle dishes, or the ubiquitous buffet. Occasionally one might come across a banquet-style restaurant selling 合菜 (he-cai; “combination dishes”), but these are suited to groups not solo diners.

The 10-year-old Lianxin Vegetarian Restaurant (蓮心素食餐坊; lit. “Lotus Heart” but no English name) just outside Yilan City’s (宜蘭市) old north gate (北門) has rice and noodle dishes, and offers a variety of classic Chinese-style banquet dishes, according with Buddhist vegetarianism, of course.

But it also offers “individual combination dishes” (個人合菜; NT$150), consisting of one vegetable dish, two portions from the main list of banquet dishes, one soup (rather more fancy than the usual boiled leftovers) and a little fruit.  

The dishes include such classics as sweet and sour ribs, three cups chicken; sizzling-plate king oyster mushroom, sweet and sour shrimp balls, lotus leaf steamed tofu, meigan kourou (pork), fish in sauce &c. These are available as full dishes for NT$150-350, meaning four people ordering 4 or 5 dishes plus a soup would spend about NT$1000. The only downside of the “individual combo”, apart from the unavoidable fake meats, is that diners cannot choose their dishes.

For those that want control, there are still a wide range of rice (NT$120) and noodle (NT$70) dishes, plates of vegetables (NT$70) and soups (NT$60). Biandang (NT$60) are available for those without time to sit. Elegant Buddhist art is there for those who do.

price: ca. NT$150
429 Zhongshan Rd.
(中山路) Sec.3, Yilan City,
tel. 03-9320706;
NOMM fake meat index: 6 (high)

For those finding themselves at the other (south) end of the old city, QianQian (千千素食館; “One Thousand Thousands Vegetarian Restaurant” but no English name) in the shadow of Carrefour offers a reasonable selection of vegetables, tofus, (fake meats), rice and noodles for NT$85 all-you-can-eat buffet style.
No.7 Minquan Rd. Sec.2 (民權路二段); (03)932 8311; `11-14:00 and 17~; 7 days/week

Text and photos copyright Jiyue Publications

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