Friday, February 4, 2011

Vegetarian dim sum at its best - Lok Cha Tea House

Hong Kong is an extremely difficult city to navigate for vegetarians.  There are many hidden meats, soup stock and lard in the dishes here.  Some of my vegie friends who are a bit more adventurous try to communicate with the local staff as best they can but many are frustrated with the cultural difference that most Cantonese are meat-eaters and pure vegetarian dishes just doesn't register on their radar.  When caught with the offending morsels in their food, my friends rightfully protest only to hear the waiter's denial that 'it's only a little bit'.  How relaxing it is to sit down at a restaurant and not have to worry about what you can eat and what you can't eat. 
Lok Cha Tea House not only serves excellent tea (Feb 2010 blog entry) but all of their dishes are vegetarian.  Being a strict omnivore, I was a little hesitate to like the food here.  But let me tell you, I have been converted!

Anhui Yellow Tea $38

White rose white tea $38
Starting with the deliciously fragrant teas, the ritual of making the teas really set the mood for our lunch. Although the restaurant was full with the lunch crowd, everyone here is quiet, respectful and dare I say, more cultured.  This is definitely not the construction worker crowd or even the rushed office worker crowd.  The dark woods, the Chinese screens and the soft lighting sets this apart from other dim sum restaurants.

Fried mushroom dumpling $25
The dim sum menu and tea menu here changes daily but I can assure you that everything is cooked fresh. There are no factory-made dumplings shipped from Kowloon to be served here. The Fried Mushroom Dumpling was filled with finely chopped mushrooms, it's delicate. I thought I would miss the meat inside the dumpling but the funny thing is that the mushrooms are 'meaty'. The dough is light and crispy on the outside and just the right amount of thickness. The balance between the dough and the filling was perfect, neither overwhelmed the other.

Fried stuffed eggplant $19
Traditionally stuffed with minced fish, these lovely morsels were stuffed with a soft cabbage mixture (almost the same consistency as sauerkraut but without the tartness).  Again the pan-fried eggplant was crispy on the outside and once you sink your teeth into the filling, the softness of the cabbage fills your mouth.  What a great sensation!

Steamed savory sticky rice in lotus leaf $25
The Sticky Rice in Lotus Leaf were moist and succulent, filled with mushrooms and bamboo shoots.

Bean curd skin roll $28
The Bean Curd Skin Roll resembled a vegetable omelet.  The crunchy vegetables in the middle added more texture to the dish and this dish is the only one where I felt like it's a vegetarian meal.
Glutinous Flour Dumpling with Cashew Nut & Peanuts $15

Purple Glutinous Rice Pudding $16
The Purple Glutinous Rice Pudding was fair but not a clear winner.  My favorite dessert was the Glutinous Flour Dumpling because being freshly made the 'mochi' was so soft and tender.  More so than at the street stalls in town.  The added ingredients of cashews made the dumplings a bit more luxurious as well.

The servings were small compared to other restaurants but I felt they took extra care in preparing their dishes so my tastebuds felt more satisfied.  I walked out of the restaurant feeling full but not overly so.  A wonderful feeling after a dim sum meal.  Lunch came to $250 for two.

Lok Cha Tea House
Ground Floor, The K. S. Lo Gallery
Hong Kong Park
Hong Kong
Ph: 2801-7177
Reservations highly recommended.  English speaking staff.

Opened 7 days a week 10 am - 10 pm.
Closed every first Tuesday of the month.

1 comment:

  1. i wish there was a vegetarian dim sum restaurant near me. boo hoo. :)
    if you’d like to try your hand at making some vegetarian dim sum, here are some great recipes to try: