Dec 20, 2016
This month, I would like to introduce a vegetarian restaurant I visited recently. But before doing that, I am going to write a little about what vegetarianism, or being a vegetarian, actually means. I am not a vegetarian myself, but of the people I have known who say they are vegetarian, I noticed that some of them eat eggs or cheese, while others don’t. Some even eat fish, and it is just animal meat that they avoid.
After a bit of research, I discovered that people who describe themselves as vegetarians actually fall into several different groups, which have their own names. The strictest group are vegans, who avoid all foods that contain animal products. A less strict group is lacto ovo vegetarians, who will eat eggs and dairy products, but no meat or fish. At the other end of the scale to vegans, there are also some people who are just trying to cut down their meat consumption, and do still eat meat occasionally. These people are sometimes described as flexitarians or semi-vegetarians.
As well as there being several different types of vegetarians , people may have different reasons for choosing this type of lifestyle. In some cases, it may be part of their religion. In other cases, it may be related to a moral issue with killing or making use of animals for food. For some people, however, being a vegetarian may be attractive because of potential health benefits. There certainly seem to have been quite a few news stories about health risks from eating too much red meat or processed meat recently, which does make a vegetarian diet seem attractive.
So, to return to the topic of vegetarian restaurants in Suzhou, there are a few that I am aware of. For example, the Lotus Café (in Xingdu square) and WuGuangTang (in Li Gong Di Nan) are both good places to go for this type of food. However, recently I went to another new vegetarian restaurant, called Green Fragrant (绿野香踪 /Lǜyěxiāngzōng), and I would like to share my experience at this place for readers.
Green Fragrant is located in Li Gong Di Nan, and is slightly hidden away in one of the blocks there. In my last column entry, I wrote about a bar called Birdland in that area – it is quite near to there.
The food at Green Fragrant was very good. It is a buffet restaurant, so there is a wide variety of dishes to choose from. My personal favourite was the hotpot, as you can choose both the soup flavour and the items you want to put in it. I chose a mushroom flavour soup, and had this with mushrooms, noodles, tofu, seaweed, and some green vegetables in it. The dim sum was tasty too – I particularly enjoyed the steamed buns and sesame balls.
The cost of eating at Green Fragrant is quite reasonable. The dinner buffet costs around 100RMB per person, and the lunch buffet is a little cheaper than this. Additionally, it may be possible to get discounts or special deals through a site called Dianping (the Chinese version of Groupon).
Overall, I would recommend giving Green Fragrant a try, even if you are not a vegetarian. There are enough choices of food available to ensure that there is something that matches with everyone’s taste buds.
About the Column
Kaori is from Fukuoka, Japan and she moved to Suzhou with her British husband in 2010. She gave birth to a baby girl in Shanghai in 2014 and is currently a full-time mother, but previously studied Chinese at Suzhou University. Kaori enjoys going for walks, going out for meals, shopping on Taobao and visiting new places in China. Places she has particularly enjoyed visiting include Harbin, Beijing, Qingdao, Hangzhou, Moganshan, Guilin and Yangshuo. She also loves to explore different areas of Suzhou, both old and new.