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The Chinese have a long and comfortable history of mock-meat consumption, harkening back to food served to alms-givers at Buddhist temples a thousand years ago. And diners craving vegetarian versions of their favorite Chinese dishes would be hard-pressed to find a better option than Nature Vegetarian Restaurant, where chef-owner Jian Liu, a devout Buddhist himself, makes all of the restaurant’s gluten- and soy-based meat substitutes in-house. Menu highlights include the spectacularly crispy sesame “chicken” and stuffed eggplant that’s batter-fried, shaped like a whole fish, and carved tableside. During off-peak hours, vegetarian versions of traditional dim sum items (roast pork buns, siu mai, etc.) are served. The dining room is clean and pleasant, and service is polite and reasonably English-friendly.

— Luke Tsai

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