Disclaimer: I am not vegan, let alone vegetarian. But my friend Kim, who happens to be vegetarian, was in town a few weeks ago. Often I would take the tramway from Central to Causeway Bay, and notice this shiny, flashy new fast-food restaurant along it in Wan Chai on same block as the gas station. The restaurant is called Loving Hut and is in fact a chain originating from Taiwan, but with branches all across the world.
Kim told me that the Chinese-style fake meat she gets in Montreal is often imported from Taiwan. In the Buddhist tradition, followers would have these “vegetarian” days, which I know as “sek zai” (my grand-mother would do these once a week or so, and have tofu-based meals for an entire day).
Just like at a Maxim’s or Cafe de Coral, you must order from a menu next to the cashier. Then, you pick up your receipt and present it to the kitchen counter.
When I went for the first time, I had red rice with mini tofu cubes. Now, I probably ate or saw this dish before in its full-meat version. The vegan version was no less tasty (maybe a bit salty) and I would definitely have it again.
I also had a lemon basil seed (?) drink, which was served warm, and tasted sour with translucent seeds collecting at the bottom of the cup. There were char siu buns too without the char siu.
On a different occasion, now with three other friends, none vegetarians, we tried a larger variety of dishes. One was a classic yu hsiang eggplant, just without the ground pork. And then there was a bunch of noodles and a sweet and sour fried tofu.
A days after Loving Hut, we went again for vegetarian food, but this time in a real sit-down restaurant. It’s called Gaia Veggie Shop and is situated in Goldmark, right by the south side of the Sogo intersection in Causeway Bay, in the building next to the empty lot (old Mitsukoshi).
My photos are super low-res, so I am not going to post them. It’s good to know that the goal of this restaurant seems to be to fool you as well as possible. I never had fake sushi fish before, but let me tell you that it practically has the same texture, The menu in fact never specifies that such and such meat is “fake”, and dishes are always simply listed with meat names in it (only that you won’t find any meat in the actual order). Thinking about what we ate already makes me hungry… Aside from the sushi, we had a broth served in a coconut, and beef-wrapped enoki mushrooms. There was perhaps a sweet and sour chicken in there as well.