Our nation’s capitol holds a special place in my heart–mainly because it is only a stone’s throw from my favorite vegetarian restaurant. Yuan Fu is located on Rockville Pike in Rockville,Maryland and is the only Buddhist vegetarian/vegan restaurant I know of which omits garlic and onion.
Because I grew up in a Jewish family, Chinese is a food yen I cannot shake. It doesn’t matter if you are a yarmulke wearing lesbian, spare rib eating Reformed Jew or a payot sporting Chasid, Chinese Food is a Semitic favorite–especially on Saturday nites. Even though there are tons of vegetarian Chinese places out there (ok…only in the urban “out there”), we hold out for Yuan Fu, since its food is free of the stinky stuff.
My kids like it, too. Honestly speaking, who doesn’t like Chinese food? And yes, we know that everything we eat at Yuan Fu was invented for American diners like ourselves. But lots of Chinese people eat at Yuan Fu, so they must be doing something right. Actually, they are doing a lot right. If you come at lunch time there is a long wait for a table. They also have a take-out lunch box, which is a prixe-fix meal with a few different options–all of which look delish.
vegetarian won-ton soup
clockwise: steamed dumplings, spring rolls, vegan roast duck, dipping sauce
We ordered the won-ton soup, spring rolls, steamed dumplings and roast duck as appetizers. I kind of hate the meaty names, but “vegetarian delight” can only refer to one dish. The appetizers are my favorite part of the meal. I could live on finger food, especially when it is eaten with chop sticks. I passed on the spring roll so I could fill up on sticky dumplings. My greatest food fantasy is to stumble upon a vegan dim sum bar. There are endless kinds of dim sum (which translates into “a little bit of heart”–also the name of a good foreign language American film) but at vegetarian restaurants there seem to only be about five.
clockwise: brown rice, vegan sezuchan chicken, vegan chicken with cashews, vegan tuna steak
Tuna steak, chicken with cashews and sezuchan chicken rounded out our entrees. It was a lot to eat. The tuna steak is made from yucca and has a seaweed “skin.” Sezuchan chicken is a fave of mine and my husband loves anything with cashews and broccoli. My mother-in-law found the sezuchan chicken spicy even though we never notice the heat.
madhumati and grandma betsy taking care of the check
My mother-in-law was a good sport and didn’t complain at all about the food–which I know she is not a fan of. But it was our last hoorah in DC for a while and I guess she thought, “What the hell?” since it’s the only restaurant we will go to. I am not sure which my mother-in-law is less enthusiastic about: the food or the strip mall location and plastique table cloth.
Us? We don’t get out much. To us, a strip mall restaurant with indoor/outdoor carpeting and a huge photo of vegetables on the wall (along with ceramic iridescent pink Siamese cats on the counter) qualifies as fine dining. Me, my husband and two kids all love the place. Without any hesitation, we give Yuan Fu four thumbs up.