Vegetarian restaurants come in many shapes and sizes, but it's hard sometimes to find one that brings things back to basics. Wuguan Tang has found that keeping things simple is a winning formula, as evidenced by long queues at lunch and dinner time.
Whole foods are the key here, unprocessed and unrefined, prepared in a way to bring out the subtleties of natural flavors. Nothing is deep fried, and faux meats also are barred from the menu. And since they're on the healthy kick, we might as well flush soda pop and booze from the system too.
Basically, food is the only thing needed to fill all three floors of dining halls with happy patrons, which includes the odd monk or two. Noodles, breads and even blended teas are all made in-house. Some vegetarian restaurants think that the lack of meat requires drowning other foods in oil, but dishes at Wu Guan Tang are light yet flavorful. Don't believe me? Try the hand-cut mala mushroom noodles or the popular "crab roe" made from pureed carrots and peppers.
Menus are hand-written every week or so, regularly adjusting for changes in seasonal vegetables.
Dishes from any season are tasty enough, but warm weather also lets people sit out on the ever popular terrace, with its lovely view over Xinhua Rd. Diners are advised to book in advance.
No. 349 Xinhua Road, Changning District. From West Yan'an Rd subway station, walk south to Xinhua Rd, and turn left.