East-West Vegetarian: Ru Shi Su (汝是素)

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Ordering protein dishes in China can be challenging. Will the chicken come chopped with bones? How will I cut up the meat with a lone pair of chopsticks? Will it be fresh? Simply by going vegetarian, you quickly avoid these pitfalls. By the way, I’m not at all particularly gung-ho about vegetarianism, I just like delicious food.

Up on the third floor in One City Mall, is Ru Shi Su, a refreshingly modern-designed, all vegetarian restaurant with huge windows that face out to the exhibition center and nearby park. Steel, wood and lofty ceilings offer an expansive mood that is the complete opposite of most places around here that jam everyone together.

Plan for 10-15 minutes waiting, but use the time to look around their café and store selling curious teapots. After a few moments, you’re escorted to the dining area, which in itself is an impressive space.

The whole environment feels pleasantly upscale, especially if you’re used to the 18 RMB vegetarian buffets strewn across town, and definitely different from the usual Chinese restaurant, as well. Take in the outdoor scenery or watch chefs in an open kitchen filled with colorful greens and fruits.

Digging into the menu, prices were slightly higher than some might expect from a Chinese restaurant (larger mains run from 30–70 RMB), but after looking around, it’s well worth it. We were two and ordered six different dishes, which proved to be a bit excessive, but the vibrant menu made it hard to be choosy.

The system is easy, with big color photos and bilingual descriptions. Handing the paper with your selections to the server, there’s no going back. Prepare for the fresh food orgy coming up.

The avocado salad (spiced up with tasty mustard)—sliced and formed into a mini tower on a bed of lettuce—and the classic, shredded papaya salad turned out to be our favorites. The soybean, papaya and tomato baked in a clay pot and a halved pineapple filled with sweet, deep fried mushrooms (incredibly, they tasted like fried chicken) were also very rich in flavor. We also leapt for the spicy green beans, which had a good flavor, but missed the familiar crunchiness.

If you still don’t feel stuffed after all this, there are some healthy (and probably less, as well) dessert options to finish things off.

Address: 3 F, Bld 2, One City Mall, Nancheng (next to Reading Mi bookstore)
南城海德壹号广场2栋商城3楼(觅书店旁)