Located opposite one of the oldest temple in the world – the Tang dynasty 开元寺 – is one of the most established vegetarian restaurant in Chaozhou. Gluten intolerant can now leave the blogpost.
Kaiyuan Temple 开元寺
This is one of the three remaining Kaiyuan Temple that was built in AD 738 (开元26年) during the reign of Tang emperor Xuanzong 唐玄宗, when he decreed that Buddhist temples to be built all around the country. The other two remaining ones are in Fujian Quanzhou 福建泉州 and Shijiazhuang Zhengding 石家庄正定县.
Originally called Lianhua Temple 莲花寺, the temple was changed to its present name 开元镇国禅寺. The vegetarian restaurant opposite is appropriately named Lianhua Vegetarian.
There are two types of vegetarian restaurants on the market: One for the religious culture as the background of restaurants, mostly for the elderly and religious people. The other is to emphasize the healthy, green vegetarian culture, which is more popular among young people. Lianhua belongs to the former.
素鱼翅羹 vegetarian shark’s fin soup was the best alternative to real shark’s fin soup. Enoki mushroom, julienned bamboo shoot and gelatine strips for shark’s fin – no shark was harmed in making this soup that tasted just like the real thing.
春卷 spring rolls were the mostly filled with the normal ingredients that you would find in non-vegetarian spring rolls. So I would call this the most “unvegetarian” dish in this vegetarian restaurant.
素肉双拼 vegetarian meats attempted at recreating pork and chicken. Of course, they turn out to be exactly the opposite, still tasted like gluten to me.
竹签肉 meat skewers tried to replicate actual meat like sausages, pig kidney, charsiu, etc. While some of the texture have been successfully recreated, like the sausage and pig kidney, the tastes were uniformly the same.
蘑菇包 mushroom bun was neither mushroom nor pau. Pau dough was shaped to look like shiitake mushrooms, and the mushroom look was chocolate powder.
The filling was made of lotus seed paste. Because of the shame of the cap of the mushroom, there was too little of the paste.
芋泥白果 gingko nuts yam paste was quite substantial for the price, lots of gingko nuts and really sweet – like all Teochew desserts. We have to pack it back to the hotel as a supper treat.
The 炒粿条 char kway teow was complimentary, but it was not a substandard freebie. It was flavoured with preserved radish bits and chopped kale. I loved this CKT, even though it did not have pork lard.
And they will always give you a plate of fruits to end the meal.
Obviously, I am not a fan of the gluten-filled vegetarian restaurant. If I want meat, I would go to KFC. I guessed this is one of the rare visits I would do once in a blue moon.
Lianhua Vegetarian 蓮花素食府
9 Kaiyuan Guangchang, 2nd fl 开元路开元广场内
Tel : (0768) 2238033
Date Visited : Sep 2019
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