Wednesday, 28 January 2015

Fo Guang Yuan Gallery/Tea House, CBD

I can't believe I had never been to FGY before today! I'd set out to once or twice, but never made it in time and hadn't worried about it too much - online reviews say the food is delicious but takes ages to arrive, which put me off (especially when Divine Realm is around the corner). I visited today at 12 on the dot and had my food within ten minutes. Both dishes, and so did the table next to us. Everything is vegetarian, and vegan-friendly dishes are now marked with a V on the menu!

We grabbed a quick appetiser- the san choy bau, $8 (all appetisers are $8):
This was a bed of bean sprouts for crunch, topped with minced mock meat - I think the menu said chicken - sweet teriyaki-ish sauce, julienned veg and sesame seeds. The flavours in this were delicious, but I'd prefer it a little less sweet. But be warned: the sauce is a watery consistency and when I bit into it, it went everywhere - there was a lot of mopping up required. They were tasty, but I wouldn't order again because they were embarrassingly messy.

This was the noodle soup with pork mince and veg dumplings, $10.50:
I didn't order this, but I snuck a dumpling and a taste of the broth. This is a light clear veggie broth that feels very wholesome and light, but is totally addiciting. Toppings are Asian greens, big ol' sllices of fried tofu, beansprouts, five-spice scented pork 'mince' and the dumplings. The dumplings are a standard vegetable affair - filled with mostly greens and a nice compliment. My partner said "there was nothing about this dish I didn't like", which is a decent review!

I got the tossed udon with mock ham and spicy pork mince - also $10.50:

On first glance my dish looked dry, but underneath was a layer of broth to sauce the noodles. I got mock ham and pickly veg (mustard leaves?) instead of dumplings, and to me it was the perfect mix. My broth had a subtle chilli hit and was warm and comforting. The noodles themselves were perfectly cooked and my bowl was served with a cup of miso soup alongside, which was simple and tasty. This was a brilliant dish, but next time I'll get the soupy version so I get more of that broth.

FGY's art gallery is also worth a look: the pieces we saw today were beautiful. Overall, FGY makes for a great visit: eat some clean, tasty food, then take a peek at the art gallery. And the prices are fantastic with a bowl of ramen setting you back $10.50, and the bentos of the day hovering around $12. This is one of the best cheap city eats, with a calming atmosphere to boot. I can't wait to try some of the other noodles and soups.

Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery
141 Queen Street, Melbourne 3000
open for lunch 12-2:30, Monday to Friday
Fo Guang Yuan Art Gallery on Urbanspoon