Saturday, 20 September 2008

Tien Hiang

Another vegetarian Chinese restaurant in Paris. Well, the other Chinese vegetarian restaurant in Paris.

I tried and failed to eat here twice - both times they couldn't fit us in, even though all we wanted was a table for two on a weeknight. It's small and it's popular. Popular with good reason! Unlike Green Garden, almost all of the food here is completely vegan. The only thing to watch out for is the fake ham.

The menu is huge, and a bit intimidating if, like me, you're used to scanning for dishes that could possibly be veganised if the chef's in a good mood, rather than actually choosing what you want to eat. When I finally got a table, it was a Wednesday evening with my boyfriend. We both had a three-course meal for €11 a head. There's a fair bit of choice on this set menu. We both started with nems (which are like small deep-fried spring rolls eaten with lettuce). Delicious! Then I had 'chicken' with cashew nuts, which came with lots of veggies and was heavenly. The boy chose spicy tofu. I had a bit and it was nice, but made with silken tofu, and I far prefer non-silken. Rice or noodles are included in the €11 price. Then we both had a tiny bowl of lychees for pudding. Drinks are extra, but get this: they serve alcohol! So we had a Tsing Tao each, and left feeling full and barely out of pocket.

There's not much of an atmosphere - the tables are formica and the lighting is quite harsh. The service is very speedy and no-nonsense, too. But the food is delicious and cheap. They do takeaway too, so you needn't despair if there are no free tables when you turn up.

The area isn't especially exciting, but there's a nice bar run by an English ex-pat just a stone's throw up the road: Express Bar, which does good cocktails for not too much money. If Tien Hiang is full and you don't want to get food to take away, you have two good options. There's an Ethiopian restaurant just opposite at n° 89 that does a delicious vegetarian meal of injera covered with various different veggie and lentil curries. If you don't fancy that, there's a standard Lebanese place on the same side of the road as Tien Hiang where you can sort yourself out with vegan mezze for about €9.

Tien Hiang
92 rue du Chemin Vert
11th arrondissement
Metro: Rue St Maur or Père-Lachaise.