Monday, January 21, 2008

Restaurant Review - Tea House - Fo Guang Shang Temple of Toronto

Having been asked to google a good vegetarian restaurant, I found only a few listed, solely vegetarian anyways, one of them was auspicious, in that my beautiful Bride was looking to go to a Buddhist Temple for the upcoming Lunar New Year celebrations. Fo Guang Shan Temple of Toronto is located on Mill Creek Drive, just off of Erin Mills Parkway in Mississauga. One of its attractions, beyond what it provides for Buddhists as a Temple, is its Tea House, which serves vegetarian meals, snacks, and different teas and coffees. When we arrived there, we found a large bright building and parked at the back. A Buddhist Service was already in progress, so we decided to look around a little, then have lunch. Tours of the facility can be arranged; there is also a museum of Buddhist sculpture upstairs, and a Buddhist book store and library.

Having never been to the Tea House before, we were unaware that you needed to purchase coupons (essentially donations) for each food item that you ordered. Each coupon can be purchased for $5 in the hallway at one of the two information booths. On the recommendation of our server, we selected two dishes and a tea, each of these were very popular items. The first to arrive was a dish called Noodle in Red-cooked Soup, which had wheat noodles (spaghetti) in a red sauce, with baby bok choy, preserved mustard and imitation meat in a red-cooked soup (red cooking is a method of cooking, mostly meats, with certain spices such as Chinese five spice or star anise, the meat turns "red"). You could also have this dish with rice noodles, if you preferred. This dish tasted quite excellent, very simple, and was clearly my favourite of the two. The second of our dishes was a dish called Bean Sauce and Noodle, which contained cooked chopped red beans and more of the spaghetti noodles. This dish tasted pretty good, though not as good as the red-cooked soup. Last to arrive, a few minutes after the other two dishes had arrived, was our Fresh Fruits Tea, which was quite delicious when we tasted it. We've been to the Tea House once more, and had this again. The fruits in there are a mixture of orange and apple and some other ones, the tea itself was orange in colour, and more citrusy in flavour. Overall, it was $15 for two people, perhaps a little high for the amount of food, but, as it was a donation to the Temple, it felt good to pay that amount. They also serve good coffee (again $5 for a cup) and have desserts, including cheesecake. I think we would eat here again, especially if my beautiful Bride wishes to go to a Buddhist Temple.

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