On Fushui Lu, near Flora Plaza, there’s a wonderful little restaurant that offers an excellent selection of vegetarian dishes. Absolutely every dish on the menu is vegetarian, a real treat in Guiyang. Attached to a Buddhist temple, 禅悦酥陀 (chányuè sūtuó) has a beautifully decorated interior to enjoy while you eat. Get there early, though, as the restaurant’s hours go from early morning to just 8 PM.
The menu is extensive, with dishes to suit any palate. A good number of their dishes are made to emulate meat dishes, so you can see things like bacon and snow pea stir-fry on the menu. When people visit for the first time, they often say there must be some kind of trickery afoot, because the meat replacements are so convincing. There’s no need to worry if you’re vegetarian or if you eat a halal diet. All meat-like dishes are made with kitchen wizardry and tofu or seitan.
For those who don’t really enjoy meat substitutes, there are also plenty of dishes that are tasty on their own merits, not because they faithfully reproduce meat dishes. Ordering here is quite easy, with a menu chock full of photos, so even if you don’t speak a word of Chinese you can point and enjoy. Some of my favorites are below.
suāntāngmiàn — 酸汤面 — Sour Soup with Noodles
Sour soup is a Guizhou specialty, most often used to boil fish for Sour Fish Hotpot. This sour soup was spot on, salty and tangy, without any aquatic additions. The fermented tomato and baijiu soup is accentuated simply with lots of noodles and strips of cabbage.
xiānglà tǔdòu — 香辣土豆 — Spicy Potatoes
This dish is generally safe for vegetarians, unless fried in lard, but it’s definitely fried in vegetable oil here. It is a staple of Guizhou street cuisine – greasy, spicy and salty. There are peanuts in this one, so those with peanut allergies should probably avoid it.
yúxiāng lóngqié — 鱼香龙茄 — Savory Dragon Eggplant
Yúxiāng qiézi is a very common dish all over China, but it often has ground pork in it, making it a no-go for many with dietary restrictions. Here, it has no meat added, but doesn’t suffer for the omission. It’s savory and spicy, with a sour kick, plus the plating is beautiful.
shuǐdòuchǐ càixīn — 水豆豉菜心 — Fried Greens with Fermented Soybeans
You always need something green on the table, so why not get something with a sour, fermented kick? The fermented soybeans up the umami factor of the greens, elevating them above your standard veg.
You’re going to love this: the Buddhist vegetarian restaurant has a full on photo menu, with a clear picture of every dish they serve. Point to whatever you want to order. Most dishes are in the 30 RMB range, so it definitely won’t break the bank. Below are a couple photos of the menu, but there is much, much more than just these dishes.
Menu photos have a slower load time because the file size required to show clear characters is much larger. Please be patient.
The restaurant is located on Fushui Lu, very close to Flora Plaza. If you’re walking from Flora, head into the small street that connects it to Fushui, just below the mall. When you get to Fushui, turn right and the restaurant is just a couple of storefronts down the street. Enter from the doors to the right of the big temple door, and head upstairs for the nicest seating.
When taking a taxi, get them to drop you off at Beijing Hualian supermarket, walk up past KFC a bit and cross the street. It’s almost directly across. The photos below have the storefront (1st photo) and the view from the restaurant doors.
TAXI to Flora Plaza: 南国花锦
TAXI to the restaurant, via Beijing Hualian: 禅悦酥陀佛教徒餐厅（北京华联富水路店对面）