Looking for a healthy, inexpensive, and unique night out? Vegans, vegetarians and orthodox Jews, this is the best place for your food needs. The greatest part about this restaurant is that even non-specialty food eaters will find the Kingdom of Vegetarians delectable.
When junior Zayne Amer first told me about the restaurant, which is located in Chinatown, I have to admit I was skeptical. Everything is vegan-friendly: no meat, no dairy, and lost of veggies. All of the “meat” products are made from wheat gluten, mushroom and rice powder.
“It tastes just like real meat,” Amer said. Being a beef and beer kind of girl, I didn’t know if I would enjoy imitation meat and seafood, but the “King Veg.,” as regulars call it, won me over. Amer was right; it actually does taste like meat and it has the same texture. Amazing.
King Veg. offers a great place for a clean, quiet, and most importantly, healthy date night. Founded in 1996 by the Chu family, King Veg. is a hot spot for healthy eaters in Philly. The place is family-owned and run and has been since day one. They feature a traditional Taiwanese atmosphere, fit with the fake flowers and the black lacquered chairs. There is a giant gold cat that greets you at the door. But the unique part is the way the food is served. In order to guarantee a clean dining room, the kitchen is located upstairs, and all of the food is carried to the dining room by a dumbwaiter, a small elevator used to transport food.
“It’s like a little elevator,” Amer said. “You know, like the one that they use in the finale of the Broadway ‘Hello Dolly.’ Personally, I think that’s the coolest part.”
The Rabbinical Assembly, Philadelphia branch, agreed. In 2001, the Assembly certified the Kingdom of Vegetarians as a “Kosher Vegan Restaurant.” I guess all of the water and air filtration paid off.
Ming Chu, the eldest son of the owners, raved about the newest location. Three weeks ago, the Chu’s branched out to open another vegetarian restaurant for the Philadelphia veggie community. Only two blocks away, New Harmony features all of the King Veg. specialties, but with a new twist.
“It’s not the Old Harmony. It’s New Harmony,” Chu said with pride.
When I asked Chu what he thought would draw the crowds in, he responded flatly, “Fifteen percent off. Make sure you tell everyone to come check it out.”
Access is easy.
– Route 23 South from 12th Street and Cecil B Blvd.
– Exit 12th and Arch.
– Kingdom of Vegetarians is located at 129 North 11th St. between Arch and Race streets.
– New Harmony is only two blocks further down at 135 North 9th St.
Cheryl Ellis can be reached at Cellis24@temple.edu.