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[Hong Kong 香港] Grassroots Pantry 豆苗居

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Grassroots Pantry

Add: 108 Hollywood Road, Shengwan, Hong Kong
Tel: +852 2873 3353
Hours: 9am-10:30pm
Website: www.grassrootspantry.com
Price: 150~250 HKD/person
Visited: Aug 2016

My first meal in Hong Kong this time was at Grassroots Pantry, a vegetarian restaurant with one core philosophy: “to create food that heals with the highest culinary standards and using the freshest, most nutrient-dense of sustainable, plant-based ingredients.” That reads like a mouthful, but what it’s basically saying, is that they make healthy food that tastes amazing. And it’s true.

到香港的第一餐,和一位注重養生的朋友相約在上環荷李活道上的 Grassroots Pantry 吃午餐。餐廳的創始人 Peggy Chan 本身是素食者,堅持用 raw food 的烹調方式將營養豐富的食材做成美味料理,不論吃素還是不吃素的朋友都很推薦。

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First, the design. Grassroots Pantry’s interior is bright and airy thanks to the large windows and a lofted ceiling. The combination of light grey cement wall and warm orange couches is lovely, and the plants adorning the space is more than welcome. Above the bar suspends a selection of gorgeous decanter lights from Lee Broom – a personal favorite.

店裏設計清新明亮,淺灰色的水泥牆搭配溫暖的橘紅色沙發,吧台上方吊著好多我喜愛的 Lee Broom 玻璃燈飾,室內養了不少綠色植物,感覺非常好。Grassroots Pantry 似乎是個很受外國人歡迎的地方,餐廳裏過半的客人都不是本地人。

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Word has it that Grassroots Pantry was the first shop in Hong Kong to use acai berry, and their recipes are laden with nutrition-packed ingredients like flaxseed, buckwheat, kohlrabi, cashews, chickpeas, and the likes. They promote “raw foodism”, which is about eating unprocessed and uncooked foods. The cooking process involves sprouting, soaking, fermentation, pickling, dehydration, etc., which is a time-consuming process, all aiming to preserve the maximum amount of nutrients in the food.

據說 Grassroots Pantry 是香港首家引進巴西莓 (Acai Berry) 的店家,也經常使用亞麻籽、荞麥、苤藍、腰果、鷹嘴豆等健康食材。這裡采用 raw food 技巧來處理食材,包括發芽 (sprouting)、浸泡 (soaking)、發酵 (fermentation)、 醃製 (pickling)、風乾 (dehydration) 等。比如,要入菜的種籽必須浸泡于自家榨制的堅果奶中至少8小時使之發芽,讓種籽的營養容易被人體吸收,是費時費力的烹調方法。

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Written by sugarednspiced

September 15th, 2016 at 11:34 am

[Kyoto] Okutan 奧丹

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Okutan 奧丹

Add: 86-30 Nanzenji Fukuchicho, Sakyo-ku, Kyoto
Tel: 075-771-8709
Hours: 11am-4pm (Closed on Thu)
Website: webkyoto.com/okutan/
Price: Yudofu set meal ¥3,240

When in Kyoto, one absolutely must have a tofu meal.

I first visited Okutan’s Kiyomizu branch almost 7 years ago in winter 2009. I still distinctly remember the utter satisfaction of having a steaming hot pot of tofu after a whole morning of walking around in the wintry Kyoto air. This time back in Kyoto, I decided to pay Okutan another visit, though this time I went for its original location near Nanzenji.

去京都,一定要吃一席湯豆腐料理。

第一次造訪 “湯豆腐奧丹”,是2009年冬天。當時在京都冬日冰冷的空氣中找到了奧丹清水店,入內吃了頓熱呼呼的湯豆腐全餐,當時的惬意和滿足感至今都還印象深刻。六年多後回到京都決定再訪,不過這次,去的是更古老的南禅本店。

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Okutan’s Nanzenji location was established in 1635, and claims to be the oldest yudofu restaurant in Japan. Upon entering, we were first greeted with a lush little Japanese garden, after which we were to take off our shoes to enter the dining area. The space is equipped with floor-to-ceiling windows so that guests can enjoy the view during the meal – a lovely design. If memory serves correctly, however, I think the Kiyomizudera location has an even better view.

奧丹豆腐創立於江戶初期的1635年,號稱是日本最古老的湯豆腐料理專門店,南禪寺店是其總本家。入門後先看到的是精致的庭院,用餐區也特別設計了整排落地窗,讓客人能夠邊享用豆腐邊欣賞窗外的美景,非常貼心(不過印象中好像清水店的景觀更美?)

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I was delighted to find that the menu has not change a bit since I last visited almost 7 years ago, except that since it’s currently summer season, Okutan is also offering a chilled tofu option. The restaurant serves set menus (¥3,240 each) only, which includes yudofu/chilled tofu, vegetable tempera, sesame tofu, grated mountain yam, miso baked tofu, rice, and pickles.

脫鞋後,踏入榻榻米的房間。六年後再訪奧丹,發現菜單完全沒有變,令人安心,不過由于是夏季,所以有當時我沒嘗到的冷豆腐。奧丹僅提供套餐(各3240日元),內容除了有湯豆腐/冷豆腐之外、還有蔬菜天婦羅、胡麻豆腐、山藥泥、木芽田樂豆腐,白飯和漬物。

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Yudofu started near the end of Edo Period right near Nanzenji, originally intended for the monks only. Authentic, handcrafted tofu relies on high-quality soy beans, good water in which to soak and boil them, and of course the expertise of the tofu maker. What we get in supermarkets today is lacking in the pure taste of soy beans and the flavor of their protein, an unfortunate result of mass production.

湯豆腐源于江戶末期,發起地就是南禅寺附近,原本是寺內僧侶實用的精進料理。由于水質的關系,這裏的豆腐素以質感細膩、滋味淡雅而聞名;看似樸實,但經由匠人們堅持傳統的制程、料理、擺設,能演化多種層次風貌。在奧丹,就是要品嚐這個古老的文化。

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Written by sugarednspiced

August 29th, 2016 at 2:30 am

[Shanghai 上海] Fu He Hui 福和慧

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Fu He Hui 福和慧

Add: 1037 Yuyuan Lu, near Jiangsu Lu
Tel: 3980 9188
Hours: 11am-2pm, 5:30-11pm
Price: 380-880 RMB/person
Visited: Apr 2016

福和慧 – Fu (fortune), He (harmony), Hui (wisdom) – is the fine dining vegetarian restaurant by Fang Yuan and Tony Lu, who have established a solid reputation through their Fu series (Fu 1039, Fu 1088, and Fu 1055), all sharing a penchant of refined Shanghainese dishes in nostalgic old villas. Fu He Hui has also been attracting its fair share of attention since opening in 2015, and is ranked #19 on the latest Asia’s 50 Best Restaurants.

美國來玩的朋友說想去吃一頓精致的中國菜,最近正好看到福和慧在今年 “亞洲50佳餐廳” 排名第19,又有不少朋友推薦,于是就把晚餐訂在這裏了。說福和慧是家素菜館,可不是一般的素菜館。這裏的老板早在幾年前就打造了一系列非常出名的 “福” 餐廳,旗下有福1039,1088,和1015。這幾家我先後都去過,雖然是好幾年前的事了,不過對這些洋房裏的精致上海菜印象一直不錯,有朋友來上海玩,不要求環境的我會帶去老吉士,要求環境的話就去福。

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The vegetarian restaurant offers a few prix fixe menus at three different price points: 380, 680 and 880 RMB per person, all coming with 8 courses. We decided to try one of the two 880 RMB sets to see what the chef has got in his repertoire.

第一次來到福和慧,發現這裏的風格和其他福餐廳很不一樣,沒有繁複雕琢的裝飾,整個空間和內裝都線條簡潔,頗有禅意。菜單上簡單的列了幾種套膳選擇,價位380、680、和880,其中880的有兩套。我們選了880元的其中一個,就坐著等吃了。

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First, a pot of 奇丹 Qi Dan (188 RMB), a famous varietal of Oolong tea from Wuyi.

服務員推薦下了一壺奇丹,聽說這是來自武夷的上等岩茶。順帶一提,服務員飄逸感十足的白色制服好好看啊,可惜忘了拍給你們看。

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Dinner started with two amuse bouche. The first: roast potato with pumpkin and micro coriander.

開胃小點,第一個是烤土豆和南瓜泥。

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Written by sugarednspiced

April 13th, 2016 at 10:20 am

[Paris] Cafe Pinson

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Cafe Pinson

Add: 6 Rue du Forez,  75003 Pari
Tel: +33 9 83 82 53 53
Hours: [Mon-Fri] 9am~7pm [Sat] 10am~7pm [Sun] 10am~6pm
Website: www.cafepinson.fr
Price: [lunch] €12.50 [drinks] €2.50~6 [food] €4~9
Tasted on: Apr 2013

Dropped by Cafe Pinson on a quiet Monday for a 100% organic and vegetarian afternoon. Even if you don’t care much about healthy eating, you will surely fall in love with the light and airy space.

With a table by the window like this, I could sit here all afternoon.

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Written by sugarednspiced

April 26th, 2013 at 11:04 pm

[ShanghaiI] Kush

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Kush

Add: 98 Yanping Lu, near Xinzha Lu 延平路98号, 近新闸路
Tel: 5175 9822
Hours: 11am-10pm
Website: www.kush.sh
Price: [starters & salads] 36~59 RMB [mains] 47~69 RMB [drinks] 30~60 RMB
Visited: Nov 2011

Please note that this is an arranged tasting.

After a most gratifying but artery-clogging meal at Kota’s Kitchen, I sought respite at Kush (“happiness” in Sanskrit), a vegetarian cafe serving light-hearted dishes. Lentil burgers, vegetarian pastas, hummus wraps, green smoothies…the dishes here can be hit or miss, but we all need a clean meal like this once in a while.

The place is small, with only 4 tables available. The decor is simple and light: blonde wood, white tabletops, and a scroll of The Heart Sutra hanging on the wall.

Numb from the freezing weather, I skipped the cold appetizers and went right into the hot dishes. I really enjoyed the Lentil Burger (59 RMB), complete with greens, sun-dried tomatoes, chives, walnuts, corn, avocado slices, fresh tomatoes, and pesto on toasted buns. It’s a wonder how meatless burgers can taste this good.

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Written by sugarednspiced

December 8th, 2011 at 7:09 pm

[Shanghai] Vegetarian Lifestyle 棗子樹

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Vegetarian Lifestyle 棗子樹

Add*: 848 Huangjincheng Dao, near Shuicheng Nan Lu 黄金城道848号, 近水城南路
Tel: 6275 1798
Hours: 11am-9pm
Website: www.jujubetree.com
Price: 70~100 RMB/person
Visited: Mar 2011

Chinese food isn’t usually associated with “healthy” or “light”. The sauteed vegetables are often smothered in a mindless pouring of soy sauce, the pork chops are almost always lined with a thick layer of jiggling fat, and let’s not mention the generous sprinkling of MSG in every dish. To me, home seems to be the only place where “light” Chinese food is gauranteed. But Vegetarian Lifestyle (a.k.a. Jujube Tree), a vegetarian restaurant that has established a loyal following among locals and foreigners alike, proudly proclaims that their cuisine involves “no meat, no eggs, no smoke, no alcohol” and of course no MSG, but is just as tasty. Is that possible?

*Multiple locations, check SmartShanghai.

Upon seated, we were each served a small seasonal fruit bowl and a cup of sweet and sour apple vinegar. Contrary to the typical Chinese practice of eating fruits after a meal, Vegetarian Lifestyle recommends doing the reserve, as the nutrients are more easily absorbed when there’s nothing else in your system. Padding your stomach with some fruits also curbs the hunger and prevents overeating. One stone two birds.


We started with two appetizers, both popular items recommended by our waitress: 麻醬三絲 3 kinds of strips with sesame paste (22 RMB), a cold dish of green bean noodles, carrots, and cucumber slices mixed with sesame peanut dressing, and 香酥腐皮卷 tofu skin rolls (22 RMB), crispy tofu skin wrapping enoki mushrooms, wood ears, and the likes. A good start.


魚香茄子煲 eggplant with sweet and hot sauce (30 RMB) was nicely flavored and I was quite impressed with how “real” the mock meat tasted, but the dish was rather greasy and not particularly healthy-tasting.


東坡竹筍 braised bamboo shoots and vegetarian pork with soy bean sauce (38 RMB) was a nice imitation on pork – they even managed to recreate the fat using some type of jelly.

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Written by sugarednspiced

March 13th, 2011 at 11:08 pm

[Shanghai] Anna Maya

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Anna Maya

Add: 3 Taojiang Lu, near Hengshan Lu / 桃江路3号, 近衡山路
Tel: 6433 4602
Hours: 10am-10pm
Price: 110~150 RMB/set
Visited: Nov 2010 (visit 2)

Anna Maya has caught my eye several times before with its vibrantly yellow wall, but it wasn’t until this past week that I decided to give it a try. This vegan cafe is all about natural, whole, and unprocessed food – macrobiotic philosophy, if you know what that means (I didn’t). Let’s see what it entails.

The owner of the cafe, a cute little Japanese woman, greeted me as I entered the door. Upon my request to see the menu, she made detailed recommendations and explanations on the dishes, which all sounded surprisingly delicious even though there is absolutely no meat or dairy involved. The menu is of course hand-written and updated regularly with seasonal changes.

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Written by sugarednspiced

November 13th, 2010 at 9:25 am