There seemed to be a lot to choose from, including chicken rice. Wait a minute, isn’t this a vegetarian restaurant? But I was here mainly for the thunder rice, so it really didn’t matter. I can’t remember the last time I stepped into a Chinese vegetarian restaurant. It must have been decades ago, when I was first introduced to faux meat made of wheat gluten. My interest lasted only a couple of meals, mainly affected by the overwhelming use of artificial flavourings and oil. Of course, I'm still speaking in the context of Chinese vegetarian cuisine.
Over the years, my circle of friends extended. One of the ways to know them better is to understand their diets. I’m usually piqued by the vegetarians, especially when there’s a story involved. Some refrain from meat for health reasons but most regard it as part of their religion. One that I know did it out of love and respect for his religious wife. I do have many questions on this practice, from both mythical and scientific perspectives, but I must agree that underlying the different beliefs is the fact that this diet is essentially a healthy way of life.
Green Valley was quiet that Saturday. Not surprising as it was way past lunch time. This choice of lunch venue was late and most arbitral. But a good one, no doubt. Coming into a vegetarian restaurant with a stomach full of pork (from breakfast), I did feel slightly sinful, so we had another fibrous, green dish, in hope of minimizing the guilt. Joking lah.
The thunder tea and rice - instantly noticeable was the missing component of anchovies, but with a good variety of vegetables, black-eyed peas (that's new), tofu cubes and peanuts thrown in, I was not missing much. As for the green (literally) tea, all I can say is, thank goodness! It was what I expected - a healthy blend of basil/coriander/pepper/mint/etc paste thinned in hot water. Now, I'm not sure if anyone noticed but more and more thunder tea sellers are substituting plain hot water with superior stocks. Sure, it makes the tea umami but that's just wrong. Not authentic. It's not fusion but funny. A farce, even. I shudder at the thought of my past superior stock-thunder tea experiences at some major foodcourts in Singapore. And another stall in Senai, Johor. So, in conclusion, I really enjoyed Green Valley's thunder tea for being as original as I remembered, sans meat.
I'm not sure if one of my favourite colours has influenced my decision on the fried spinach noodles with a lightly starched bittergourd, wolfberries and oyster mushroom topping, but it sure was a good choice. Simple, healthy, tasty and affordable, the dish basically left no room for critiques.
Looking at the tedious preparation, amount of ingredients used, its acquired taste and selling price, I am in view that thunder tea is not a lucrative business. That makes me appreciate the dish and the sellers even more, especially when it's good. So, the faux meats may not guarantee my return to Green Valley, but the thunder tea definitely will.
Green Valley Vegetarian Restaurant
84-1, 2 ¼ Miles
Jalan Sungai Besi
57100 Kuala Lumpur