It is hard to imagine how some vegetarian meals can taste remarkably like the original meat dishes for which they are named. Today, we'll introduce you to Beijing's vegetarian restaurants. The foods are spectacular. The atmosphere, quiet and the dining environment, extraordinary.
Nestled among the modern high rises of Beijing are many old, traditional structures that have retained their charm over generations. Take a walk along some of the city's narrow, grey alleys and you'll be rewarded with some pleasant surprises.
Ji Xiaojun,Culture Express,said,Today we'll visit ---Baihe Vegetarian Restaurant. It is in one of the city's ancient Hutongs. This screen bears the Chinese character for "Happiness". The restaurant, is in a traditional Chinese courtyard as you can see. But the courtyard goes back a lot further. The restaurant itself has been around only six years. But it has already established its reputation among Beijing gourmets.
The Baihe Vegetarian Restaurant is a typical old fashioned home,that covers about 500 square metres. It has a small yard and two big rooms that have been renovated into dining areas. The place is decorated in a pleasant, traditional Chinese style.
This is a scroll, prepared as it would have been in ancient times. When you dine here, you feel immersed in Chinese studies. There are piles and piles of books. Most are Chinese classics. And they're written in English, as well as Chinese.
The restaurant's aim is to present a serving of Chinese culture with its cuisine. In partnership with a publishing house, the restaurant also promotes traditional Chinese culture. Staff members of the restaurant are required to be able to recite from Chinese classics including "The Analects" and "Mencius."
Even the menu is beautiful. There are coloured illustrations of every dish -- captioned in Chinese and English. And you won't be disappointed when the dishes are presented at your table.
Now look at this. It looks like a slice of sausage. It smells like sausage and it tastes like sausage meat. But there's no meat in it. So what is it?
Waiter of Baihe Vegetarian Restaurant
"It is a vegetarian dish -- made from bean protein."
The Restaurant offers some standard imitations of meat and fish. Although the dishes are made with bean curd, mushrooms and vegetables, they can leave even the most carnivorous eaters feeling satisfied.