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!

 

China King Chinese Restaurant: 840 North Park Rd. Wyomissing, PA 19610 (Park Plaza)

China King is a small casual restaurant located in a little strip mall off N. Park Road.  It is a great place to get delicious Chinese food fast. They offer several vegetarian dishes, including our favorite, General Tso’s “Chicken.” Food can be prepared with no MSG (you won’t miss it), brown rice is available on request, and any dish followed by (D) can be made as a low calorie, low cholesterol dish with absolutely no oil, salt or sugar — who says eating out will ruin your diet!

I consider China King to be an excellent value.  The first time we ate in their tiny diningroom we ordered an entrée for each of us — big mistake!  Two of us could barely finish one entrée, the servings were THAT BIG!  Now we order one entrée and share it.  That is plenty and with spring rolls and tea we leave completely satisfied with no boxes of leftovers to carry.  Our total bill is usually around $12.00 for two people, a price that is hard to beat anywhere.

China King offers take out and delivery service ($10.00 minimum for delivery) if you’d rather eat at home or the office.  Everyday they have a lunch buffet for only $5.45/ person which includes free water or soda, but I am sorry to say that there are no vegetarian entrees on the lunch buffet.  (Maybe if enough people request it, they will change that!) Visa, MasterCard, and Diners Club cards are accepted, BYOB. Friendly, fast service, generous portions, low prices = highly recommend!

PHONE: 610-373-5851, 610-373-8805

FAX: 610-373-8803

Vegetarian Chop Souey

This is an easy, recipe that feeds 4 hungry people. It calls for just a few ingredients and doesn’t take much time to throw together. (The rice is the most time consuming part). Delicious!

Ingredients:

2 lg. onions, cut in half and thinly sliced

5 stalks celery, 1/2 inch slices

1 1/2  – 2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. pepper

1 can (15 oz.) bean sprouts (or you can use your own fresh bean sprouts)

1 large mixing spoonful of molasses

1 large mixing spoonful of soy sauce

1 pkg. Lightlife Smart Strips (steak style veggie strips)

Method:

Saute onions in one Tbsp. oil. Add celery and just enough water (or vegetable broth) to cover. Cook for about 5 minutes.

Then add the bean sprouts, seasonings, molasses, and soy sauce. Stir well to blend, and heat to boiling.

Thicken mixture with 1 Tbsp cornstarch diluted in 1/3 c. water. Stir until gravy thickens.

Add Smart Strips and cook for about 10 minutes to heat through. (If using fresh bean sprouts add them now instead of earlier and cook until they start to wilt, but don’t let them get mushy.)

Serve over cooked brown rice.

RESTAURANT REVIEW: ZOU’S GARDEN

Zou’s Garden, Clock Tower Plaza, 2846 Main St. (Rt. 23 & Rt. 10), Morgantown, PA 19543 Tel. (610) 913-0633

   We discovered Zou’s Garden by accident after noticing that the neon sign in their window said “Vegetarian Chinese Cuisine” — we had to try it. What a treat! They have an extensive vegetarian menu in addition to the traditional Chinese and Japanese offerings. Zou’s uses vegetarian chicken, beef, pork, and duck (made from soy or wheat) to make almost anything on their regular menu suitable for vegetarians. The General Tso’s Chicken is excellent. The generous dinner includes a spring roll and vegetable fried rice (brown rice substituted for white upon request). The carrot curl flower garnish is a tiny work of art. Two people can easily eat for under $20.00 and be more than satisfied.

   Zou’s Garden was recently remodeled to accommodate casual dining in, but everything on the menu is available for takeout, too. If you are in the mood for Chinese, try this little restaurant — you will be pleasantly surprised. It’s worth the trip.