Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House
8681 10th Ave
Branching out and exploring new cuisines and ingredients I believe is part of the appeal of doing what we do, as I’m sure other regular food bloggers will attest. Vegetarian cooking is one that I’m not wildly enthusiastic about, because let’s face it, carnivorous dining is where it’s at.
So you can imagine the hesitation or perhaps curiosity that was swirling around in my mind, when I decided to drop into a visibly named vegetarian establishment that served up Vietnamese food. Would it be a new found paradise for me, as their namesake showed, I just had to find out for myself.
With blinds obstructing the view inside, as well as the sun’s glare off the front windows, I wasn’t sure what waited for me inside the Paradise Vegetarian Noodle House. Upon entering, I found several tables already occupied. By what looked like a middle aged man and his elderly father, another had a trio of big young gents dressed in utilities worker overalls, and then a group of four office workers. And everyone was being attended to by this petite smiling woman, who was hustling back and forth from the kitchen.
After receiving the menu, it immediately struck me that something was strange. After all, I was seeing words like chicken, beef and pork scattered throughout the listing of meal choices. At the same time, it said that everything was “100% vegetarian”. It then dawned on me that the “meat” here was going to be somewhat unique.
The spring rolls were of course meatless. Crispy and warm, though I found the insides to be a bit denser and slightly chewier than I expected. Two long rolls on the plate was quite filling on its own.
I just couldn’t bring myself to ignore what was being dubbed the chicken pho. I just couldn’t help myself. I had to know what this “chicken” would be. As it came out of the kitchen and brought to my table, I had to admit, it didn’t look oddly mysterious. Texture-wise, it felt like thin sliced chicken breast meat as it cut through my teeth, albeit on the softer side of things. To be honest, I couldn’t bring myself to even ask what it was made of.
The noodles were slightly thinner in width than what I’m used to. Perhaps it resulted in them being softer as well. The broth was delicate and light and clearly no MSG contained and flavored with fragrant toppings. As a large size, this was too much for me. I was ashamed to have left some over.
With the limited service staff and popular lunch time service, it is apparent that things could be faster to come out of the kitchen, but if you are not in a rush, then Paradise is a welcoming and clean restaurant for a healthy meal.