Tag Archives: Vegetarian

Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine

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Name of Restaurant: Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine (寬心園)
Address: No. 3 Hesi Road, Yancheng District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
高雄市鹽埕區河西路3號
Phone Number: +886-7-561-2631
Hours: Daily 11:30AM-9:30PM
Website: www.easyhouse.tw
MRT: O2 Yanchengpu
Days off: None
Vegetarian Options: Yes
English Menu: Yes
English Service: Yes
Average Cost Per Person: TWD 300 to TWD 500
GPS Coordinates: 22.621934,120.288939

On any given day and in any given restaurant, being a vegetarian in Kaohsiung can be extremely frustrating.  Most restaurants lack vegetarian options or simply won’t alter a recipe to make something vegetarian for you.  However, what Taiwan does have that America does not are restaurants serving only vegetarian meals.  These meccas for vegetarians include all sorts of places – from the quick lunch spot to a swanky date-night bistro.  Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine belongs to the latter group and has quickly become my favorite special occasion restaurant.

Atmosphere
Set on the banks of Kaohsiung’s Love River, Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine offers a romantic setting often foreign to the city.  The second floor provides views of boats bobbing down the calm water.  The softly lit interior is decorated with images of Buddha and classic Chinese calligraphy set on a dark stone color scheme.  The service is discreet yet attentive and helpful.  Together, these factors add up to one of the most enjoyable dining environments in Kaohsiung.

What to Eat/Drink
Unlike many vegetarian restaurants in Taiwan, the food at Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine is neither greasy nor bland.  The owner and chef have created a menu of internationally inspired vegetarian meals using natural spices and healthy cooking methods. While tasty meals and soothing refreshments are plentiful, a few are, in my opinion, particularly noteworthy.

1. Portuguese Noodle Soup
This dish smells so great that your mouth will be watering before the waiter can set it down on your table.  The creamy, curry broth contains tomatoes, Japanese seaweed, baby cabbage, mushrooms, and noodles.

2. Mushroom and Truffle Fried Rice
This twist on the classic Taiwanese dish adds a dimension of flavor that is not found elsewhere.  The dish is prepared with special ingredients such as day lilies, wild mushrooms, asparagus, and a truffle sauce.

3. Passion Fruit and Pomelo Tea
This flavorful tea is full of authentically Taiwanese flavors.  Pomelo, a local fruit that tastes somewhat like grapefruit, and passion fruit are freshly squeezed into a pot of soothing, hot tea.

All entrees can be purchased a la carte or with a set meal.  Sets include fruit and vegetable energy juice, a Japanese salad, vegetable soup, seasonal fruit, and a red bean dessert.

Directions
By Scooter: From Bo Ai Road, turn west onto Wufu Road.  After you pass over Love River, take the first right onto the small street named Hesi Road.  Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine will be on your left at number 3.  If you see the Kaohsiung Film Archive, you have gone too far.

By MRT: Take the orange line to O2 Yanchengpu.  Exit the station using exit 1 and walk northeast along Jhong Jheng Road.  Turn right onto Wufu Road after one block.  Turn left onto Hesi Road after seven blocks (just before the river). Easy House Vegetarian Cuisine will be on your left at number 3.  If you see the Kaohsiung Film Archive, you have gone too far.

 

After I began writing this post, I saw a sign advertising a new additional location for this restaurant.  The second location will be at the corner of Mingcheng Road and Fuguo Road.  While I cannot foresee the view being nearly as great at the Zuoying address, it will be much more convenient for those of us living up north. 

 

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Filed under Eat!, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Apple Cake

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I definitely live in the age of Pinterest and have more recipes pinned than I could ever hope to try.  But sometimes tried and true is better than new.  This apple cake recipe has been in my family for generations.  (Perhaps someone reading this will be able to tell me where it came from.)  Either way, it’s really simple and always turns out perfectly.  I’m sure you and your family will enjoy it as much as mine has over the years.

Apple Cake

1 ½ cup vegetable oil
2 cups sugar
2 well beaten eggs
3 cups fresh apples – peeled and chopped (about 3 apples)
3 cups of sifted flour
½ teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup chopped pecans (optional)

Mix in order given.  Pour into a greased and floured 9×13 pan.  Bake 1 hour at 350° Fahrenheit.  Allow to cool before slicing.

Enjoy!

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Filed under Recipes, Sweets

Fried Quail Eggs

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Another of my favorite night market snacks are pan fried quail eggs.  These eggs are fried along with a bit of oil in a custom made pan.  The pan has individual wells that are the perfect size for a quail egg.  I think quail eggs are so much tastier than chicken eggs.  I really wish I could have one of these pans at home!

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At Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市), these small bird eggs are usually served on a stick with ten eggs to an order.  The eggs can be topped with your choice of dried seaweed, pepper, ketchup, or sweet soy sauce.  I prefer the pepper variety.  Each order will set you back about $30NT.  Two orders cost $50NT.

The stand pictured is usually found on the road cutting diagonally through Ruifeng, but it certainly isn’t the only place selling the tasty snack.  This variety of quail eggs can be found throughout Taiwan in night markets and road side stands.  Give them a try the next time you see someone frying them up!

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Filed under Eat!, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Edward Sandwiches

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Now that I am getting ready to leave Taiwan, it’s strange to reflect on my feelings upon my arrival here.  One of the worst parts for me was finding somewhere I could eat.  I am a vegetarian and on top of that, a picky eater.  To make matters worse, I couldn’t speak any Chinese.  Every trip out to eat seemed to end in frustration.

Night markets were always especially confusing.  I never knew what I could or couldn’t eat.  When we moved to a building next to Ruifeng Night Market (瑞豐夜市), I was determined to find something there I enjoyed eating.  Edward and his wonderful green onion pancake sandwiches saved the day.

Edward, who speaks perfect English, saw me looking lost and offered for me to try a (vegetarian) basil omelet green onion pancake.  This may sound a little strange, but it is wonderfully delicious.  Edward starts by making an omelet with your choice of ingredients.  I always stick with basil, but others include ham, chicken, corn, and cheese.  He then attaches a “fluffed” green onion pancake and brushes the egg with sweet soy sauce and a spicy chili sauce.  Finally, the layered concoction is folded in half and served.  This should be on everyone’s “must eat” list while in Taiwan.

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As if the food wasn’t great enough, Edward is one of the most amazing night market vendors I have ever met.  He always remembers my name and regularly asks me about my family who visited ages ago.  He offers local advice and genuinely seems proud to serve his product.

While Edward’s stand used to be difficult to locate, his new spot is an improvement.  You can find him on the west side of the market on the sidewalk at the front of the market.  His stall faces and is actually on Yucheng Road.  Sandwiches range from $40NT to $70NT.  If you have the chance, Edward’s green onion pancake stand is definitely worth a visit on your next trip to Ruifeng.

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Filed under Eat!, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Vegetarian Red Curry Fried Rice

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I love Thai food, especially the coconut curries.  I find myself making Thai red curry once every other week.  Unfortunately, last night when I went to make a batch, I discovered I was all out of coconut milk.  So, in the interest of satisfying my curry craving and maintaining a level of creativity my weekly menus often lack, I tried to combine fried rice with the red curry ingredients I had on hand.  The results, I must say, were surprisingly delicious.

Vegetarian Red Curry Fried Rice

1 tsp salt
1 small eggplant, diced
2 Tbsp coconut oil
¼ – ½ large red onion, chopped
2 tsp Thai red curry paste
3 kaffir lime leaves (substitute 2 bay leaves if you don’t have kaffir leaves)
2 large cloves of garlic, chopped
1 red or yellow pepper, chopped
1 cup pineapple, chopped
1 cup tomatoes, chopped
3 cups cold rice
2 eggs
1 tsp soy sauce
½ tsp pepper
2 Tbsp vegetarian oyster sauce
¼ cup chopped green onions or Thai basil leaves
Juice of ½ lime or lemon

Begin by placing eggplant in a bowl and dust with salt. Set aside.

Heat coconut oil in a large wok.  Add onion and cook over medium heat until translucent (about 4 minutes).

Add red curry paste and kaffir lime leaves.  Fry the paste until it begins to separate from the oil and becomes fragrant (1-2 minutes).

Rinse and drain the eggplant.  Add the eggplant and the chopped garlic to the wok.  Heat until the eggplant begins to soften (about 5 minutes).

Add the bell pepper, pineapple, and tomatoes.  Cook for about 5 minutes, still over medium to medium-high heat.

Add rice and stir well to coat.  Heat the rice through (about 3 minutes).

In a small bowl, beat the eggs together with the pepper and soy sauce.  In the wok, push the rice to the sides creating a “volcano crater” with the metal as the bottom.  Add the egg mixture to this hole.  Allow it to cook until the tops of the eggs begin to set.  Then, stir the egg pieces into the rice.

Add oyster sauce and allow the mixture to cook for 1-2 more minutes.  During the last 30 seconds of the cooking process, stir in your choice of green onions or basil (or both if you want to get wild) as well as your lemon or lime juice.  Enjoy!

(Makes 2-3 servings)

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Veggie Buffet

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Name of Restaurant: Vegetarian Food Restaurant 上海素食百匯自助餐
Address: 108 Fumin Rd., Zuoying District, Kaohsiung 813, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
813 高雄市左營區富民路108號
Phone Number: +886-7-557-2766
Hours: 11AM – 2PM; 4:30PM – 8:30PM
Website: http://www.shang-hai.com.tw
MRT: R13 Aozihdi
Credit Cards: Not accepted
Days off: None
Vegetarian Options: Yes
English Service: Yes. There is one English-speaking member of the staff.
Average Cost Per Person: $50NT to $100NT
GPS Coordinates: 22.660591,120.305354

I definitely don’t need to tell most locals and expats about this place. Everyone I know who has been in Kaohsiung for a while, vegetarian or not, knows this spot and loves it. But, if you are new to town or just passing through, it might be worth noting that this is one of the best, cheap vegetarian restaurants in all of Kaohsiung. It is part of a larger chain of fancier vegetarian restaurants and is certainly a worthy lunch stop.

How It Works
This restaurant is not a typical sit down and order restaurant.  Instead, it is pay by weight.  When you enter, you will see plates of food set out, buffet style. First, grab a cardboard container. Next, grab a pair of tongs and put on your plate or in your box as much of each dish as you wish to eat. When you have everything you want, proceed to the cashier and put your container on the scale. The cashier will ask if you want rice. You can choose from white, brown, or purple rice for $10NT to $20NT.

After you pay, the cashier will give you a bowl for soup and a cup for tea or juice. The drinking fountains and soup are located around the corner from the cashier or in the air-conditioned second floor dining area.

What to Eat
It’s difficult to say what to eat at veggie buffet as the selection varies day to day and I usually base my meal choices on what looks the best.  It might be important to note that it is best to arrive around noon or 5PM when the food is freshly prepared.  While all the food is fresh and delicious, for consistencies sake, I will recommend some of my favorite consistently available dishes.

1. Sweet and Sour Eggs
This dish relieves my craving for the sweet and sour chicken I see everyone else eating.  Basically, it is scrambled eggs, tomatoes, and sweet and sour sauce.

2. Creamy Pasta
Pasta is so often poorly prepared in Taiwan that I have begun to avoid it altogether.  This creamy pasta is the exception.  It has a flavorful sauce, vegetables, and perfectly al dente pasta.

3. Stir-fried Bell Peppers
I love the simplicity of this dish.  Red, yellow, and green peppers stir-fried with a pepper seasoning.  It’s fresh, crunchy, and perfect.

Directions
By Scooter: From downtown, follow Bo Ai Road north until it intersects with Mingcheng Road. Turn right.  After two blocks, turn right again onto Fumin Road.  After one block, the restaurant will be on your left on the southeast corner of Weisin Street and Fumin Road.

By MRT: Take the red line to R13 Aozihdi.  Follow Bo Ai Road north for two blocks.  Turn right onto Mingcheng Road.  After two blocks, turn right again onto Fumin Road.  After one block, the restaurant will be on your left on the southeast corner of Weisin Street and Fumin Road.

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Filed under Eat!, Kaohsiung, Taiwan

Chickpea Tacos

Chickpea Tacos

Tex Mex is certainly one of my all-time favorite foods. Since becoming vegetarian, real meaty tacos are about the only non-rabbit food dish that I crave. For a while, I substituted TVP for meat, but I found the substance unreliable. Plus, who knows what’s in that stuff?

Thanks to Pinterest, I found this Instructable for chickpea tacos. Chickpeas are the perfect substitute for taco meat. I think I even prefer chickpea tacos to real meat tacos. As an added bonus, this dish is super quick and easy to prepare.
So, here is my version of chickpea tacos. I hope you give it a try for your next taco night.

Chickpea Tacos

1 Tbsp oil
1 14.5 oz or 433 g can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
½ large onion
3 cloves of garlic
1 Tbsp taco seasoning
1 Tbsp water
1 lime
tortilla shells
salsa and cilantro for garnish

Cut onion into thin slices and mince garlic cloves. Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chickpeas and onion. Cook, stirring often, until chickpeas begin to brown. Add garlic and taco seasoning. Allow this to cook, stirring very frequently, for 2 to 3 minutes. Then, deglaze the pan with the juice from half the lime and the tablespoon of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to get off any seasoning stuck there. Allow to cook for 2 more minutes, and then turn off the heat. Serve this delicious mixture in heated tortilla shells. Top with salsa and fresh cilantro.

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I do. Feel free to comment with any variations or suggestions you may have.

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October 29, 2013 · 12:22 am