Chen Vegetarian House, 709 Penn Ave. West Reading, PA 19611- Phone: 610-374-2288 or www.chenvegehouse.com

Chen Vegetarian House is an all vegetarian Asian restaurant with a full menu of vegetarian dishes to choose from…just what the health-minded people of Berks County have been waiting for!  Tonight was our first visit there and I was impressed.  We will be going back!  Although this is a small establishment, probably more geared to take-out than dining-in, our experience was entirely enjoyable.

We entered the newly remodeled restaurant (next to Haute Chocolat) and were promptly seated at one of the two tables by the window.  Several other tables were available near the take-out counter.  Our server answered all our questions and explained the menu (Yes, EVERYTHING on the menu is vegetarian — even the chicken, the beef, the pork, and the seafood).  They do not use MSG in any of their food.  We talked and drank green tea until our dinners arrived.  The spring rolls were piping hot and very fresh (not frozen and reheated).  My Pad Thai was delicious, seasoned perfectly with not too much “chicken” and lots of crunchy bean sprouts.  My husband ordered General Tso’s “Chicken” (his favorite) and we were both impressed by the quantity and presentation.  Our meals were delicious and the service was efficient and courteous.

Chen Vegetarian House also features something other Asian restaurants don’t offer — fresh vegetable and fruit juices (3.99) and fruit smoothies (4.29).  Hallelujah!

The menu states that lunches including white or brown rice, hot & sour soup or spring roll, and entrée are only $5.99.  To save time you can pre-order online and pick up at the counter. Business hours are Mon. – Thurs.: 11 am – 10 pm, Fri. and Sat.: 11 am – 10:30 pm, and Sun.: 12 pm – 9:30 pm.  Visa, Mastercard, and Discover are accepted.  Now until 1/31/2014 is their Grand Opening and you get 10% off a minimum $20 order!

If you want a healthy and delicious meal for not a lot of money, then I would highly recommend Chen Vegetarian House.

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Mikura Asian Cuisine and Sushi Bar, 840 North Park Rd., Suite #8, Wyomissing, PA 19610, Phone:610-373-5851/8805, 610-927-5555

Mikura is a new Pan-Asian restaurant at the site of the former China King in Wyomissing.  China King was one of our favorite take-out restaurants, but I must admit the dining area was tiny and decor minimal, so we didn’t eat there often. Since Mikura has taken over this location the changes have been dramatic: The restaurant has doubled in size, and they have done major remodeling. It is now decorated in a sophisticated modern Asian theme, dark wood, colorful dimmed pendant lighting, and “stone” wall.  Everything is new, clean and inviting, and the staff goes out of their way to satisfy every request.

I am happy to say the food is still delicious, and the menu has expanded to include many new dishes!  The sushi bar is brand new, and they also offer party trays for office and home catering. They have kept their famous, very reasonably priced ($5.99/person or $5.45 for senior citizens) lunch buffet, although there is not much on the buffet for vegetarians.  We have found that ordering from the menu is a better option for those wanting non-meat dishes.  If you see something you’d like on the regular menu they will do their best to make it vegetarian for you. The menu also includes many vegetarian entrees ( I counted 17, but as stated, they will make any substitutions for meat if you ask).  Some items on the menu are listed as gluten-free and brown rice is available on request if you prefer that to white (yes!).

Mikura is a classy, moderately priced restaurant for lunch, dinner, business, or pleasure. Service is excellent, food is delicious, decor lovely.  Highly recommend!

 

Franchia Vegan Cafe, 12 Park Ave. (between 34th & 35th St.) New York, NY 10016, (212) 213-1001.

Franchia is another healthy restaurant in the heart of Manhattan. They specialize in vegan Korean and Thai cuisine.  Bibimbap is a popular traditional Korean health staple consisting of rice (your choice white or brown) with various toppings including vegetarian “chicken” or “duck.”  A variety of Asian noodles and toppings are also available along with vegetarian sushi (all chicken, shrimp, crab meat, and tuna are vegetarian versions based on soy gluten and seaweed).

At Franchia I counted no fewer than 50 different hot and iced tea flavors.  They’re sure to have your favorite or a new favorite you haven’t tried yet!  You can linger over the Royal Tea Tray (26.95) or Prix Fixe lunch (26.95) or dinner (29.95) which includes everything from appetizers to dessert, or choose from one of the many lunch specials (12.95). The decor at Franchia is tranquil, modern, and upscale — a quiet haven in the middle of the bustling city.  You will love it!  The website is: http://www.franchia.com.