If you've never been to a Chinese vegetarian restaurant, prepare to be amused.
New Happy Family (8632 Valley Blvd., Rosemead) is a good place for your introduction to the world of tofu, bean curd, and gluten.
I can hear some of you scratching your heads through the screen.
Chinese vegetarian restaurants do not serve merely vegetables. They make fake meat from all sorts of gluten and soy products, so you can order kung pao "chicken" and shredded "pork."
But nothing is actually meat. Get it?
As you know, I love meat. Recent restaurant visits like this one and this one more than prove it, but I love vegetables and tofu, too. I really enjoyed my meal at New Happy Family. It was light and delicious and a particularly good deal for lunch -- midday specials range from $4.75 to $5.75 and come with rice and fried mantou.
Kind of the perfect thing to eat a couple days before gorging on Thanksgiving!
Complimentary soup. Neither outstanding nor offensive.
Mapo tofu ($4.75). It needed more spice, and it wasn't as good as Mama Monkey's mapo tofu. Any mapo tofu, however, is tasty regardless.
Dry sauteed string beans ($4.75). Yummy. Always.
Buddha's Feast ($4.75). Very fresh and good for you.
Fried mantou. I love this fried bread so so so much. You must eat these.
Chow mein. Bland. Meh. Skip.
Eggplant with brown sauce ($4.75). Fantastic. A must-order.
"Chicken" with cashews ($5.25). Decent. I could take it or leave it.
Deep fried house "chicken" ($5.25). Our server recommended this, and boy were we glad. This was my favorite dish of the day.
Kung pao "chicken" ($5.25). Pretty close to the real thing.
For those of you who don't eat meat or who observe Lent, this restaurant should totally become part of your eating repertoire.