Viet Nam News
Phương Mai Vegetarian Restaurant serves up colourful dishes and sweet desserts. Võ Lệ Hồng reports.
Phương Mai Vegetarian Restaurant
7 Phan Chu Trinh Street, District 1, HCM City
Tel: (083)82231666 - 0918314000
Hours: From 10.00am to 8.00pm
Comment: Delicious vegetarian food at a good price
It was a full moon day and my friend and I decided to go to a vegetarian restaurant.
Phương Mai Vegetarian Restaurant near busy Bến Thành Market is a compact place with a few dozen seats and a pleasant decor including some large pictures on the walls. It attracts a lot of foreign diners.
When our food came, it was a splash of colours. The first dish was green, orange and white with cauliflowers, carrots, and mushrooms cooked with oil and garlic (VNĐ39,000). It not only looked good but tasted great.
Our second dish was boiled mixed vegetables (VNĐ36,000).
We did not forget our favourite dish - spring rolls (VNĐ39,000). They were crispy with what looked like meaty flavours and a subtle hint of spices. It was not meat but mushrooms, my friend determined.
With the good taste of the food still lingering in my mouth, we moved on to delicious sour soup infused with fennel.
Visitors to Việt Nam should surely try desserts.
Phương Mai serves some sweet puddings costing VNĐ10,000-15,000. Banana with sago pearls and coconut milk pudding, lotus seed pudding and Vietnamese sweet corn pudding are some of the other items on the menu.
But we opted for chè trôi nước which literally means “floating on water”. It refers to a sticky rice dumpling, filled with green bean paste and cooked in sweet ginger syrup that rises to the top when boiled.
Chè trôi nước is served hot and topped with white sesame and coconut milk, making it an unforgettable conflation of tastes and flavours.
There is a buffet during weekends that costs VNĐ250,000 and has more than 30 Vietnamese veggie dishes. It is an interesting dining experience, especially for foreigners.
Tom Brayan, a Belgium tourist agreed with our verdict on the food: “My favourite place to eat. What good vegetarian! My day has gotten better because the food is so good making my whole visit to HCM City a better experience.”
Briton Tony Morgan said: “This place is great! The food is amazing. It is not just a moment; it is a philosophy. ”
Steven Nguyễn Quang Cường, the restaurant owner, and his wife told us why they opened this restaurant and became lovers of veg food and meditation: “The example of former US President Bill Clinton turning veggie for treatment of his cardiovascular disease completely changed the life of me and my wife."
"The world will be far better if everyone is vegetarian. No one would raise and kill animals for food if society has no demand for meat. The environment will be cleaner and life becomes more peaceful and humane. So, everyone should be vegetarian,” Cường added.
There is a discussion at the restaurant at 6pm every Thursday on the health of the human body and soul.
“Visitors can come in and share their experiences,” Cường, who also hosts the discussion, said. VNS