Last weekend a group of us decided to try something a little different for brunch. The six and a half of us (there was one three year old that didn’t eat as much) like dim sum, but we decided to go to a vegetarian restaurant this time around, and one girlfriend in the group suggested 3G Vegetarian Restaurant on Cambie Street, near 18th. I wasn’t sure what to expect, since generally when eating this type of food it’s especially difficult to get away from meat, or at least seafood!
Once Mike and I arrived to join our friends, they had already filled out a lot of their preferred selections, so I just added one more and we handed in our order form. As a result, I didn’t take a close look at the menu and wasn’t sure what to expect. I did notice, however, that a lot of the dim sum included a meat substitute that was purely vegan. Amazing. There isn’t an online menu, and I wasn’t quick enough to snap a few shots, so the names of these dishes are based solely on my memory of what I think they would be called. 🙂
As our friendly servers started to walk dishes over to our table, I slowly came to the realization that we may have ordered way too much food. And that’s not even close to an exaggeration. We also decided on duplicates of a lot of things, I think in the uncertainty that there wouldn’t be enough for all of us to try everything otherwise. By the end of lunch, there were plenty of extras that I ended up taking home.
We started off with the Wonton Soup, which came with broccoli, carrots, and enough wonton pieces to easily go around. The serving was quite substantial, and I liked how the vegetables weren’t soggy or overcooked. The broth wasn’t all that strong in flavour, but there were a couple of sauces on the table that I stirred in to kick things up a notch (one was spicy, and the other was more similar to a soy).
The Spring Rolls, served with a dark plum sauce, were quite good as well. They almost gave my mom’s veggie version of these a run for their money, and were crisp and very hot when they arrived.
My absolute favourite part of the meal was the Deep-Fried Spicy Tofu, covered in jalapeno slices and a super crispy, sweet-tasting shell. These were even great cold and made an excellent snack when I ate the leftovers later that evening.
The Fried Green Beans were done well, and still had some crispness to them when served. They weren’t too oily, and were covered with flakes that may have been simulated fish flakes (although I can’t be sure).
The part that I really like about having dim sum are the many options of dumplings that are made with rice wrappers. The Spinach Filled Dumplings that I had that day were no exception, and these were steamed to perfection. I didn’t find them to be mushy or over done.
Probably the least exciting dish of that meal was the Deep Fried Wonton Wrappers. I’m not sure whoever ordered this was aware that it wasn’t deep fried filled wontons, so when they arrived, everyone was a bit confused. They were very large pieces, and looked very unhealthy, with a bright red sauce provided for dipping. These weren’t exactly a big hit, and I think maybe one or two of them were eaten at most.
Something that I often will add to home cooked stir fry or soup is some sort of bean curd to add a little extra protein. I really enjoyed this Deep-Fried Bean Curd dish. It was filled with mushrooms, and a variety of finely sliced up veggies as well. Probably the least healthy way to eat this soy product, but it was sure tasty!
A few of the more filling carbs dishes that we ordered included some brightly coloured noodles. There was one dish, which I’m assuming was avegetarian version of Shanghai noodles that had a lot of curry in them, along with the various shades of bell peppers, sprouts, carrots and onion.
We also had some Chow Mein with mushrooms, sprouts,and carrot. There wasn’t too much flavour in these noodles, and I remember adding quite a bit of spice to them to enhance their taste.
Dumplings, similar to Japanese gyoza, were also part of our meal. Of course, these didn’t contain any meat, but did include some sort of a substitute that had the consistency of ham, along with other greens. They were a little bit bland, and I would definitely prefer the ones I usually have with my sushi instead.
Another somewhat filling item was the Sticky Rice. This contained a pork-like substitute, along with a few other veggies. I do have to say that I did miss having some sort of real meat within this dish at the time, but I had been so far impressed by their creativity and ability to add vegan alternatives throughout the meal.
The Rice Roll with Sprouts and slices of carrot was a bit bland for me, as I usually have it filled with scallops or shrimp, and this restaurant didn’t serve any seafood or eggs (as far as I could tell). I would likely skip this choice next time around.
Finally, as if this wasn’t enough, we had some Steamed Vegetarian Buns, again containing some of the similar fillings used in other dishes (mushrooms, sprouts, and some cabbage, with some sort of meat substitute).
Overall, I would say I was quite impressed with 3G Vegetarian Restaurant’s ability to provide a wide array of dim sum for those who do not want to eat any meat. They do not use any MSG, and there are many items that aren’t only vegetarian friendly, but are also for the vegans out there. The staff were very friendly, and the large variety of food was also good. It’s amazing (and great) to see that I could be so satisfied without being a carnivore during one of my heartier meals (although I wouldn’t necessarily get used to it)!
3G Vegetarian Restaurant
3424 Cambie St
Vancouver, BC, V5Z 2W8