Boyle McCauley News

Since 1979 • June-July 2022 • Circulation 5000

Veggie Garden Restaurant

Rice noodle soup at Veggie Garden. Paula E. Kirman

Vietnamese/Chinese/Vegetarian
10582 100 Street
(780) 757-9060

Vegetarians in Edmonton have another option for Asian food, thanks to Veggie Garden Restaurant.

The interior of the restaurant is very similar to the one that inhabited the space prior, save for the booth seats being reupholstered. It is large, bright, and very clean.

What has changed quite a bit is the menu. It consists of page after page of familiar Vietnamese and Chinese dishes, but with no meat products whatsoever. Instead of “real” chicken, beef, pork, and seafood, substitutes are made from soy and gluten. Tofu is another protein found commonly in the dishes at Veggie Garden. Fish sauce is not served alongside the meals, nor is oyster sauce incorporated into the food.

I ordered a rice noodle soup with tofu, mushrooms, dried bean curd, veggie ham, and veggie chicken. It was basically a vegetarian version of pho (Vietnamese noodle soup) with the works. The large bowl was full of noodles, different kinds of mushrooms, and the various proteins. The veggie ham was definitely the winner – it looked and tasted similar to the real thing. The veggie chicken had a chicken-like taste, with a texture similar to skin. The few cubes of tofu were fried and the bean curd was chewy and sweet.

My dining companion chose stir-fried thick rice noodles topped with mushrooms, tofu, and mixed vegetables. He mostly wanted the thick rice noodles, and paid less attention to what they were served with. “What are these?” he asked, pointing to one of the tofu cubes. He groaned when I told him what it was, but turned out to like it after putting the morsel in his mouth. When he was finished, he had no complaints.

At only around $7 for each of our dishes, Veggie Garden has incredible value. For another few dollars we had an appetizer of cilantro cakes. They were like green onion cakes, but with cilantro instead of the onion. The flavour of the cilantro was not as bold as green onion, but the cakes were delightfully crispy and served with a rather interesting pink sweet sauce.

Other menu items include a variety of soups, vermicelli noodle bowls, stir fries, chow mein, fried rice, and sizzling platters. Most meals are under $10 and most menu items are also suitable for vegans (no animal products).

A sign on the wall (and notice on their website) proclaims four commitments:

1. 100% vegetarian – no meat products of any kind.
2. No MSG.
3. A clean and family atmosphere.
4. Affordable pricing and great promotions.

Veggie Garden is a restaurant that keeps its promises.

It is also a restaurant that cares about the community where it is located. Shortly after this review was written, BMC News was contacted by Peter Pedro Hans Schultz, a semi-retired street pastor known to many in the inner city. He related that he contacted Veggie Garden while independently organizing a Lunar New Year meal for Boyle Street Community Services in January. Not only did the restaurant donate enough food to feed 100 people, the owner locked the doors and with the waitress helped carry the food for the two block distance.

A story like this makes me want to visit again, and visit often.

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