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MAGAZINE, February 2002
YOUR RATING & REVIEW | VIEW
VISITOR RATINGS & REVIEWS
Food For Vegetarians at Chijuya
By Uvia Chang Translated by John Johnson
The trend for restaurants
in the 21st century is healthy, including organic food and
dishes suitable for vegans. However, it is not necessary to
be a strict vegetarian or vegan to enjoy all this. It could
be that you are simply looking for a fresh change from meat
Chijuya follows the health
trend and fills a unique niche by providing vegetarian Japanese
cuisine. Numerous traditional Japanese meat dishes appear
on the menu, but are all made from non-meat ingredients, prepared
in such a way to match flavors with those of their namesakes.
Some may be curious as to why the names of common meat dishes
are still used, even though all of the food is vegetarian.
"Actually, many people are now vegetarians for health
reasons, so vegetarianism is not only confined to religious
beliefs. Using the names of non-vegetarian dishes is only
a way to allow customers to understand what they are ordering,"
responds head chef Lin.
The restaurant is located on Meichuan
West Road, section 1, near the corner of Taijung Gang (Taichung
Kang) Road. From the outside, this one-story building appears simple
and plain. The front door faces the Mei Chuan green belt, a quiet
boulevard lined by a canopy of trees. Thus, this restaurant is a
conveniently located escape from the city center's hustle and bustle.
Inside, enjoy the view of
the green belt from the large picture windows. The dining
area is separated by simple, but elegant, bamboo partitions
into sections, each seating eight to 10 people. The buffet,
too, is different from most other normal buffets, due to the
fact that you pick what you want and the server brings it
for you. While in the comfort of your seat, the staff promptly
pours tea and places orders, allowing the customer to enjoy
the relaxing environment. Try to sit next to a window, so
that you can eat and see what is happening outside. Soothing
background music enhances this dining experience.
The best thing about Chijuya
is that the dishes are made fresh with each order. The all-you-can-eat
lunch menu is NT$299 and NT$399 evenings, weekends and holidays.
In the menu, there are photos of each item, including hand
rolls, sushi, salad, steamed and fried dishes, and even vegetarian
sashimi (with wasabi).
The restaurant also offers
vegetarian grilled Californian shrimp (NT$150), tempura (NT$150),
vegetarian chicken and vegetarian fish. All of these dishes
were developed by the head chef, with care and attention paid
to the texture and flavor. The restaurant also offers "Sour
Shuiyun" (NT$ 120). Shuiyun, literally "water clouds",
is a type of seaweed and it is served with vinegar and cucumber
and chilled on a bed of ice. Its texture resembles that of
slippery chilled noodles, a truly Japanese taste.
Three types of hot pot are
also offered: Miso Hotpot (NT$350), Chiju Hotpot (NT$450),
and Tofu Hotpot (NT$280). The soup base is made from kelp,
Chinese cabbage and fruit. The chief ingredients are vegetables,
"glass" noodles, vegetarian "meatballs",
and mushrooms. All of these dishes are served on an all-you-can-eat
basis, which makes this restaurant very affordable in comparison
to non-vegetarian Japanese restaurants.
Dishes not on the all-you-can-eat
menu include fried pineapple with sesame, (NT$180) and fried
sweet tangerine (NT$150). This restaurant also caters banquets
with prices ranging from NT$3,990 to NT$6,000 (for 10 people).
Although the Chijuya chain only has one branch in Taichung,
there are also stores in Taipei, Taoyuan, and even in Thailand
and Australia. So, if you are fond of vegetarian food and
Japanese food, or simply are watching your weight, it's hard
to beat this restaurant.