|Tianyuan (“Farmland”) Vegetarian Restaurant
|10:30am – 11pm|
|2/F, Xiangbin Wutong, 1 Chaoyang Rd., Yiguan Miao|
|028 8518 6083|
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Mark Hiew (more chengdu)|
Sichuan, indeed much of Mainland China, remains a part of the world where the concept of vegetarianism remains vague. We’ve lost count of how many times we’ve been asked, “But is chicken alright?” or we’ve clearly ordered vegetarian dishes that come out slathered in a pig’s ass. In Chengdu, there have, for some time now, been two popular restaurants for the meat-averse: Vegetarian Lifestyle and Lotus on the Water. The newly opened Farmland Vegetarian located in Yulin is a welcome addition to the scene.
Farmland vegetarian is tucked-away on a side street off of 1st Ring Road and Yiguan Miao. Those familiar with western staples such as Peter’s Tex-Mex or Zoe’s Barbeque will familiar with the “Down home on the prairie” décor and plaid outfits. Upon opening the picture-laden, non-English menu, those who’ve dined at Vegetarian Lifestyle will notice that most, if not all, of the dishes are essentially identical. It’s as if the Taiwanese chain merged with Peter and his pseudo-Texan styling, replacing the ascetic class of the former with the latter’s homeliness.
The food, even if derivative, is extremely well done. The faux-sweet and sour spare ribs are better than Lifestyle’s version, as is the crispy rice dish, with its superbly crunchy pieces resting in a delightfully tangy tomato sauce. The fish-fragrant stuffed aubergine reminded us that we hadn’t left Sichuan, while the white radish soup’s wholesome sweetness rounded out the meal in satisfyingly cleansing manner. In our several visits, we have never left less than fully stuffed and satisfied.
The wait staff is unfailingly courteous, knocking before entering the room. A small selection of organic goods is available for those ready to try their hand in the kitchen. Expect to pay about 25-35 RMB per head. Prices, on average, are slightly lower than the competition.