Vegetarian and vegan dining used to involve joylessly munching through heaping bowls of rice and mung beans. But in recent years, innovative meat-free restaurants have hit the mainstream in BC—including a full menu of herbivore-happy eateries located right here in Richmond. Read on for some of our favourite meat-free hot spots to check out throughout the city.
4 STONES VEGETARIAN CUISINE
#160 – 7771 Westminster Highway
A stalwart of Richmond’s veggie dining scene, this small, often busy city centre restaurant pioneered the looks-like-meat-but-isn’t approach. Under veteran chef Lei Shih, its huge menu includes dozens of dishes that closely emulate the textures and flavours of popular meaty mains and starters, including vegetarian gyozas, deep-fried oyster mushrooms that echo chicken wings, and Chinese cut buns stuffed with what seem to to be thick slabs of velvety barbecued pork. Don’t miss the top-selling kong pau chicken here, with its finger-licking, crispy coating. Service at 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine is friendly and efficient and the trick is to order a range of smaller dishes to share with friends.
Gyozas at 4 Stones Vegetarian Cuisine. | Photo: John Lee
12151 First Avenue, Steveston
Alongside a huge array of fresh-made juices and smoothies (go for the strawberry coconut), this bright and welcoming Steveston café also serves some hearty vegan meals. Check the counter cabinet for creative, pre-prepared salads such as a crunchy kale Caesar that includes smoky tempeh ‘bacon.’ Alternatively, ask about their hot entrees: Juice Truck always offers two different options, and the choice changes every two weeks. On our visit, that included spicy Moroccan stew and a delicious red Thai curry made with chunks of tofu and served on rice. Before you leave, peruse the shelves of vegan groceries where you’ll find everything from quinoa pasta to seaweed snacks to take home.
EMBER INDIAN KITCHEN
135 – 6168 London Road
While many restaurants seem content to offer just one or two vegetarian options, this spacious London Landing eatery goes much further. Tempting meat-free mains at Ember Indian Kitchen range from a piquant masala okra curry to a luscious palak paneer curry, prepared with fresh spinach and signature Indian soft cheese. Additional options include daal makhani, vegetable korma and (our favourite) aloo gobi, made with hearty chunks of cauliflower and potato. Innovative salads add to the mix, including a lovely Mumbai street bhel puri that comes with tasty lentil fritters. Fancy ordering some smaller plates to share? Consider the veggie pakoras, eggplant fries, and deliciously crispy (and highly addictive) spinach bhajias. Whatever you go for, be sure to add some decadent, doughnut-like gulab jamun treats for dessert.
JI XIANG VEGETARIAN CUISINE
Located in the President Plaza Food Court, 8181 Cambie Road
Head upstairs to this hidden gem food court that’s located just a few steps from the Aberdeen Canada Line Station and you’ll find one of the city’s best mom-and-pop-style vegetarian stands—and a much more extensive menu than most far-larger veggie eateries. There’s a meat-free Buddhist approach to dining here, so take your time perusing the counter’s handy gallery of photos depicting a seemingly endless array of ‘beef’, ‘chicken’, and barbecued ‘pork’ dishes. The reasonable prices encourage experimentation, so make sure you try an unfamiliar dish or two—but don’t miss their brothy, delicious and highly shareable (unless you’re really hungry) golden mushroom with tofu skin hot pot.
PURPOSE SMOOTHIE CO.
#115 – 3900 Bayview Street, Steveston
A small, health-forward café with a menu that’s almost entirely vegetarian, Purpose Smoothie is a huge favourite with in-the-know locals and savvy visitors craving wholesome sustenance in Steveston. Naturally, the store’s fresh-made smoothies dominate the menu here (the lusciously fortifying Stack smoothie is a top seller). But dining-wise, you’ll also find wraps, several customizable poké bowls and––our favourite––the delicious Bombay Bowl, which combines brown rice, cilantro, tamarind and coconut cream with a traditional, nicely-spiced Indian-style chickpea curry that was created by the owner’s grandmother.
Vegan protein waffles at Steveston’s Purpose Smoothie Co. | Photo: John Lee
GYU-KAKU JAPANESE BBQ
120 – 7971 Alderbridge Way
This popular restaurant has been hooking hungry locals and visitors for years, especially with its highly popular afternoon happy hour deals. But alongside the standard sushi, sashimi and ramen options, there’s also an extensive selection of vegetarian dishes to dive into at Gyu-Kaku. A great place to gather with a bunch of veggie friends and order some plates to share (the menu clearly marks all the available meat-free options), you’ll find everything from seaweed salad to sesame-topped cold tofu and from vegetable spring rolls to citrusy skillet-fried peppers here. There’s also a vegetarian garlic udon bowl plus two meat-free versions of Korean-style bibimbap, including one prepared with Beyond Meat ‘beef.’ Salads and steamed or grilled veggie sides are also available, and when dessert time arrives don’t miss the taiyaki pastry served with ice-cream.
Last Updated on May 12, 2022 by Tourism Richmond