|Vege Creek, Guanfu, Taipei|
Vege Creek is a new vegan restaurant close to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall, not far from the Guangfu Loving Hut. A tiny, slick and stylish establishment, it combines modern minimalism in its simplicity with an enormous array of possible meals, with all ingredients hand-picked by the customer for a unique and delicious meal. It's run by two young men who saved money on working holidays in Australia, and returned to Taiwan to set up Vege Creek. It recently featured in the Taipei Times, Taiwan's leading English-language newspaper.
|You know your meal's going to be fresh when it starts with choosing your vegetables from here...|
Customers first choose fresh vegetables off a wall, and then select additional ingredients, such as tofu, mushrooms etc, and place them in a basket. They then choose a card for a type of noodle, and take these to counter to pay. The chef then uses a small kitchen behind the counter and a lot of skill and flair to whip these up into a one-pot wonder in a matter of minutes.
|and then additional ingredients from here...|
In many ways, Vege Creek employs the cook-to-order section from the large all-you-can-eat buffets (such as my favourite Evergreeen) and makes a restaurant out of it. Almost frightening in its simplicity, it's hard to believe that no one I know of has done it before, in Taiwan or elsewhere.
|and then finally a card from here to determine the type of noodle . My lucky dip scored me glass noodles cooked to perfection in a broth of Chinese medicinal herbs.|
The cards for the type of noodle will affect the meal significantly, and the waitress, who speaks good English, kindly explained what was what each was, but I soon forgot, and just chose one at random. Sometimes it's nice to have that option. My green bean noodles didn't disappoint. All meals are cooked in a simple, healthy broth of in salt, pepper and traditional Chinese medicinal herb. A simple hot sauce is also available, and well worth it if, like me, you like things 'la4' (spicy). April 2014 update: these now have English translations, so no lucky dip is necessary.
I visited mid evening on a Tuesday, and the restaurant enjoyed a steady turnover, and was full for much of the time I was there. One customer walked in and asked if it was all vegetarian - more out of curiosity it seemed than either relief or disappointment - and then proceeded to order with her partner. This is all not bad for a jaunt less than a year old (established Dec 2012).
|Take these to the counter to pay. It then takes the chef only a few minutes to turn these...|
In keeping with their simple menu, Vege CREEK does not serve desserts. So if you feel like a little more after your meal (depending on how many ingredients you choose) one option is to go to the Guang Fu Loving Hut for dessert. However, do NOT let this be your only visit there, as the Hotpot experience at the Guang Fu Loving Hut should be high on any visiting vegan's itinerary. Alternatively, go to the Loving Hut for lunch and Vege Creek for dinner (or vice versa) either side of a trip to Taipei 101.
|into this! It was cooked to perfection, down to the last piece of vege.|
My meal cost 205NT, which is very good value for a specially-prepared meal in such an upmarket neighbourhood.
Hours: open every day 12:00 - 2:00, 17:00 - 21:00
Directions: MRT to Sun Yat Sen Memorial Hall Station (Exit 1)