Munching on vegetarian cuisine in Binondo, Manila

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Munching on vegetarian cuisine in Binondo, Manila

Binondo has been known as Manila's Chinatown - in fact, the oldest one in the world established in the 1594 by the Spaniards as a settlement for Catholic Chinese.

It is the center of commerce and trade of Manila, where all types of business run by Filipino-Chinese thrive.

And of course, also popularly known as host to many restaurants that serve vegetarian food.

My family, especially my children, are big vegan fans. We are always on the lookout for new vegetarian chow spots in the metro.

So, when our schedules finally permitted us, we visited the New Quan Yin Chai Vegetarian Restaurant located along Ongpin Street in Binondo.

The Vegan Diet

To those unfamiliar yet, a vegan diet is the practice of abstaining from consumption of any animal meat and their by-products like eggs, milk and cheese. The diet is basically vegetables, soya products (like tofu, tempeh, texturized vegetable protein, soy milk), wheat, brown rice, nuts and seeds.

According to Wikipedia, vegan diets tend to be higher in dietary fibre, magnesium, folic acid, vitamin C, vitamin E, iron and phytochemicals, and lower in calories, saturated fat, cholesterol, long-chain omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, calcium, zinc and vitamin B12.

Well-planned vegan diets can reduce the risk of some types of chronic disease, and are regarded as appropriate for all stages of the life-cycle by the American Dietetic Association, the Australian National Health and Medical Research Council, and Dietitians of Canada.

The Menu

The New Quan Yin Chai Vegetarian Restaurant is a feast for any vegan's palate, with lots of organic vegetables and TVPs (texturized vegetable protein) or mock meat as they are fondly called.

The restaurant in itself exudes with warmth, with Fil-Chinese and Caucasian customers seated side by side with each other. The interiors are equally warm, having soft colors for their walls. The airconditioning system is just the right temperature and comfortably cool.

For our lunch, we ordered Pork Sisig, Ginataang Laing, Beef Vegetables, Bicol Express, Embutido, Pork Asado, and the Sweet and Sour Pork dish.

Though they were named after popular meat dishes, they do not contain pork and beef -- but TVPs that look like and taste like the real thing.

Vegan Pork Sisig
Vegan Pork Sisig
Vegan Beef with Vegetables
Vegan Beef with Vegetables
Vegan Bicol Express
Vegan Bicol Express
Vegan Pork Asado
Vegan Pork Asado
Vegan Sweet and Sour Pork
Vegan Sweet and Sour Pork

For newbies in the diet, these menu serves as a bridge to familiarize themselves into going for the vegan cuisine.

The Pork and Beef versions of the resto is just like your ordinary menu, with all the crunchiness and chili flavors of the original dishes. There's a slight difference with the taste, though totally negligible.

Try them out for size

One shouldn't really go deep into vegetarian diet that quickly, in my opinion. If you're not ready yet for those mock meat ( I myself isn't ready yet, too :)  ), there's actually no hurry to do so.

What's important is having the chance to try them out, a "not-so-often" shift from our daily meat sustenance to munch on some veggie chows -- once in a while. This will do some good to our heart, I'm sure.

And come lunch time tomorrow, let's go get some Chicken and Pork Adobo. (Source: Manila: Day & Night)

Feel free to share your reactions and comments down below.


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