March 02, 2012

Fo Guang Tea House

Fo Guang Tea House at the IBPSE
10232 103 Street 
                                                              Edmonton, AB T5J 0Y8

Tucked in the basement of the International Buddhist Progress Society Edmonton (IBPSE), the Fo Guang Tea House, is not your typical downtown restaurant. Tuesday to Friday from 11am-2pm, volunteers run a vegetarian lunch service with the goal of sharing healthy, meatless, and flavorful dishes with to the general public. I entered the IBPSE from the street level, and purchased two tickets ($6 each, cash only) from a volunteer in the landing, and headed downstairs where I was next seated at a long, cafeteria-style table.

Green tea and picked cabbage & carrots
A glass of hot green tea and a small dish of picked cabbage & carrot was dropped off promptly as I browsed the menu. A good selection of mostly tofu-based entrees is offered with each purchased ticket good for one dish.

Peppered "steak"
I chose the peppered "steak", which arrived quickly along with rice & a side of veggies. Having endured bad imitation meat on too many occasions, my expectations for this dish were accordingly low. With one bite, however, my views on fake meat were shattered -- this is delicious! The sauce was light but savory, and the texture and flavor of the steak had me wondering if I was really at a vegetarian place. The language barrier dashed any hopes I had of learning their secret from my server; how they achieved such wonderful still eludes me today.

Spinach spring rolls
I ordered the spinach spring rolls at the same time as the steak, but these took a little bit longer to emerge from the kitchen. Five crispy spring rolls arrived piping hot, filled with spinach, cheese, and the same  faux-meat that comprised my steak. It was a delicious combination, and a hearty portion for $6 -- certainly worth the slightly longer wait.

The savory, hearty dishes at The Fo Guang Tea House will leave visitors of all dietary practices satisfied.  Certainly, the IBSPE has achieved their mission of providing tasty meatless meals, and, at such affordable prices, I wouldn't be surprised if even [previously] staunch meatetarians start suggesting visits to this true downtown gem.

Fo Guang Tea House: IBPS Temple on Urbanspoon

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