Monday, December 09, 2013

HK Day 10 - Chi Lin Vegetarian (Nan Lian Garden)


One of the tourist attractions I was set on visiting in Hong Kong was Chi Lin Nunnery and the adjacent Nan Lian Garden. After we got off the MTR at Diamond Hill, it was a short walk to one of the garden's entrances. I found it really interesting to admire the beauty of old style wooden Chinese architecture against a background of jutting skyscrapers.


We followed the signs to the vegetarian restaurant, while checking out the scenery along the way. The restaurant doesn't open until 12 pm Mon-Fri (11:30 am Sat, Sun, Holidays) and we arrived a bit early, so we sat in the chairs inside the entrance and waited in line. We browsed through the menu and noted there's a minimum charge of $100 HKD (~$13.50 CAD) per person. That wasn't hard to fulfill because the cheapest set meal was $108 HKD and the a la carte options were not cheap either.


Photos were not allowed inside the restaurant, but the ambiance was very serene and soothing. A blanket of water came flowing down the large glass windows along one side of the room, sometimes right against the windows so that the outside view was completely blocked, and sometimes as a waterfall a few feet away, allowing a dreamlike glimpse of the garden. Between the four of us, we ordered two set meals ($108 HKD ~ $14.50 CAD) and a few a la carte dishes. The set meals were good value for the price; portions were small, but just enough for the average appetite. Although the dishes in the set meal were already very good, I highly recommend one particular a la carte dish — the BRAISED EGGPLANT. Seriously BEST eggplant ever. It was in a sweet and sour sauce that was also very savoury; the flavours were so intense and delicious. It was addictive. I would've ordered a second dish if I didn't have afternoon tea at Four Seasons shortly after.

After the meal, we continued touring the garden and Chi Lin Nunnery. Some buildings in the garden were like mini museums with exhibits on Chinese architecture, rocks and plants.

Chi Lin Nunnery
Lotus Pond Outside the Nunnery
The food at Chi Lin Vegetarian was very good and I wouldn't hesitate to go back. I just didn't find the time to visit again during my two-week trip. But next time I go back to Hong Kong, I'll be sure to put it on my to-eat list. Apart from tasting good, vegetarian food is also a lot easier on the stomach. With all the other heavy and unhealthy stuff people go all out on during vacation, this is a great meal for recovering and getting some veggies into the diet.
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