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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Po Kong Vegetarian Restaurant 普光素食

Aside from dining with vegetarians, every once in a while we have a craving of the meatless variety and we pick from a short list of restaurants that serve no meat at all (because vegetarian options at regular restaurants often use the same cooking implements or even the same oil as that used for meat dishes). We've been to Po Kong on Kingsway once before and chose to go again this long weekend.

Jai (Gluten) Combination
The restaurant is located at a busy section of Kingsway near Knight Street, so parking can be challenging. We ended up a block away right on Kingsway, so it wasn't so bad. The restaurant has about 3 parking spots out back, unless you feel like double-parking and having to move your car if you box someone in, or get boxed in yourself.

Baked Vegetables in Portugese Sauce
The interior is very... green. They have quite a few tables of various sizes and on the Saturday that we went, it was half full when we arrived. Throughout our meal, more patrons showed up and a small line started to form by the entrance, which is almost always a sign of good business.

As a Chinese restaurant, you get your choice of tea as you sit down and we ended up ordering perhaps a little too much.

Jai (gluten) combination. A combination of different kinds of marinated wheat gluten. Spongy in texture and easy to chew, Bo Kong's wheat gluten is a great appetizer and goes well in the main dishes as well.

Enoki Mushrooms on Fried Tofu and Broccoli
House special chow mein. A myriad of vegetables and thick broth-like sauce over a bed of crispy fried noodles. Meat or no meat, this dish is excellent for the variety of vegetables and textures of the ingredients. There's bok choi, bamboo shoots, marinated wheat gluten, wood ear (a type of fungus), broccoli and carrots. I think there was bean sprouts in there too. There is so much variety in this dish that you forget there's no meat.

Sizzling Steak with Black Pepper Sauce
Baked vegetables in Portugese sauce. If you like Portugese sauce and the chewy, stringy taste and texture of baked cheese, order this one as soon as you sit down. There's a 20-30 minute preparation time for it, but it's well worth it. The dish is comprised of mostly broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and taro, baked with Portugese sauce and covered in cheese. The sauce works very well with the baked vegetables and the portion size is very generous.

Enoki mushrooms on fried tofu and broccoli. The overall taste of this dish is similar to the house special chow mein, except it is a little more subtle. The enoki mushrooms are mixed with carrots and poured over a stack of fried tofu on a bed of broccoli. The tofu and broccoli aren't completely dry, but there wasn't quite enough sauce to spread around the whole dish. This dish was pretty average overall.
Plain Rice Roll 

Sizzling steak with black pepper sauce and broccoli and cauliflower. The steak is imitation meat or sausage (really made of tofu or other bean ingredients) and sliced up and pan fried on the sizzling plate. The black pepper sauce very good and adds a bit of kick to the 'meat' and the vegetables. It might be better with corn or cabbage to soak up the sauce, but it's a good pick regardless.

Plain rice roll with sesames. The rice rolls are pretty standard. The dipping sauce is pretty good with a peanut taste to it which goes well with the sesame seeds.

Sesame sticky rice balls with lotus paste. J had a craving for these so we ordered a small plate of them. The balls were served piping hot and we had to wait a few minutes for them to cool down. The sticky rice balls were thin, soft and not too sticky. My only criticism was that the amount of lotus paste inside was little more than the size of my pinky fingertip.

Service at Po Kong was pretty standard for a Chinese restaurant. The owner/manager (I think) was very active in playing the part of host for new guests and departing customers.

After this good experience, we will definitely be back.

Summary
Food: Very good. The food is made well with quality ingredients and not as greasy as average Chinese restaurants that serve meat.

Service: Good.

Setting: Good. The interior is brightly lit and spacious.

Value: Good. The prices are similar to meat-serving restaurants, but the food quality is on par, if not better, than many.

Po Kong Vegetarian Restaurant 普光素食 on Urbanspoon

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