Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mmmm... Veggie "Meat" at The Oriental Veggie House

Yesterday evening Zed and I decided to head downtown to check out The Oriental Veggie House. After passing the sketchy pub on the corner of 105th Ave. and 101 Street, we headed east to find the restaurant tucked away on 100 Street.

It was about 8PM and I was expecting the place to be full (I was thinking of Padmanadi's). Instead though, we arrived at an empty restaurant and an owner ready to seat us. He provided us with menus and tea, and went back to whatever work he was doing on his laptop while we decided what to order.

A friend who frequents the restaurant suggested trying the Curried Veggie Lamb Hot Pot, so that was already on the list; Zed added an order of spring rolls and the Veggie Beef and Vegetables with Black Bean Sauce, and we topped everything off with an order of steamed rice.

Although we arrived in an apparently empty place, another party of two arrived shortly after us and people wandered in and out throughout our meal to pick up their take out orders - I was glad to see there were more customers than initially encountered.

Our spring rolls arrived about 5 minutes after our order was taken, and they were fantastic - with a filling comprised primarily of cabbage, they were completely original. These were followed quickly by the Lamb Hot Pot and Black Bean dish. As our server set down the lamb dish, I could hear the sauce sizzling away, and before leaving, he dramatically removed the lid and left us with the still sizzling wonders inside.

Spring Rolls (2 of 4)

The Hot Pot was just as our friend described: lots of chewy "lamb" (I've never tried the real thing before, so I'm not sure what the texture is supposed to be like...), carrots, bean sprouts and potatoes swimming in a spicy yellow sauce. While I can't say I enjoyed it as much as Padmanadi's Chicken Curry and Potatoes, it was definitely a close second. The "beef" dish was just as good: lots of broccoli, carrots, celery and thin slices of "beef" encased in a thick, dark and slightly spicy black bean sauce.

"Lamb" Hot Pot

"Beef" and Vegetables with Black Bean sauce

While paying, Zed inquired whether or not they make all the veggie meat in house, and apparently it is shipped in from Taiwan. Extra is also brought in to sell "as is" in the restaurant, which I thought was a real plus.

Although neither of us can say we enjoyed the dishes quite as much as Padmanadi's versions, we will definitely be back to Oriental Veggie House to further explore their extensive menu (I really want to try the "shark fin" and "veggie duck" dishes...).

Oriental Veggie House
10586 100 Street

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