The Buddhist lunch box place near our school probably takes the distinction of being the place where we’ve eaten the most meals in Taiwan. There are four main reasons for this: it’s cheap, it’s close to work, it’s healthy, and it’s quite delicious. Being a Buddhist restaurant, the last is perhaps the most surprising. Buddhists don’t use any animal products in their cooking, so that means no eggs, no milk, no cheese, and of course no meat. I’ve also been told they also avoid garlic and onions, which may be true, as this place doesn’t ever seem to have any in their cooking, though they aren’t afraid of chili peppers. However, the vegetables they have are well-prepared, crunchy (in a nation which tends to overcook anything coming out of the ground), and plentiful. Typical offerings include peppers, cauliflower, carrots, cooked celery, green beans, corn, broccoli, eggplant, pea pods, lotus root, many different types of green vegetable, bitter gourd, pumpkin, edamame beans, and fava beans. There is also a varied selection of tofu, our favourite being one that has the consistency of chicken, done in a variety of sauces.
The best part is that unlike other lunch box places which charge by the number of different items you take (meats cost more than veggies), everything is considered the same – your plate is just weighed at the end. Throw in the fact that a simple brothy soup and tea is included and you definitely have a winner. We ate here at least four times a week for over a year – they knew us quite well.
I don’t know the address, but they’re on Yishin 3rd Road (I think), across from a cake shop and a 7-11. I’ll try for a more real address soon.