京兆尹, King Join

京兆尹 is a Beijing-style restaurant in Taipei that models its restaurant decor after the Forbidden City, with the Temple of Heaven being symbolized within the restaurant name. Firehouse red lacquer, gold trimmings, ornate carvings–the whole shebang.  Its menu is all-vegetarian and creates recipes inspired by cuisine from the late Qing Dynasty. This is because the Qianlong Emperor was apparently a fan of greens.

Vegetarian dining isn’t all just salads and sandwiches with the meat taken out. If you ever go to King Join, you will be astounded by the 20 page-plus menu, complete with colorful graphics. The key to vegetarian dining, though, is knowing what to order. Not all of the 100+ dishes will be equally awesome. So here are a few of my suggestions:

kingjoin
almondlu kingjoinsweet pumpkinlu

From left to right:
#1: A Lion’s Mane Mushroom burger “猴頭菇 hou tou gu” with homemade sesame buns and with some Chinese BBQ sauce drizzled on it. They used to have more of the mushrooms, which are considered a delicacy and expensive–like truffles are–, but as of late they’ve been a little skimpy. 😦 Still tasty though.
#2: Smorgasbord of items that I don’t remember the names of…just look for matching pictures on the menu!
#3: Toona fried rice with pine nuts and bell peppers. SO fragrant. Anything made with toona is delicious. 香椿 xiang chun is an herb that tastes basically like a mix of garlic, shallots, and scallions, but not as heavy. The pine nuts added a nice fattiness to the meal. Mmm.
#4: Sweet almond dessert soup. 杏仁露 “xing ren lu”. Served hot, and with pine nuts. It’s essentially the creamiest almond milk you could ever drink.
#5: A sweets assortment, with a peanut mochi rollup, a brown sugar and date sesame chew (?!), and a sugar cake “糕 gao”.
#6: Sweet pumpkin dessert soup. 南瓜露 “nan gua lu”. Also served hot. Pumpkin borscht, if you want a similar Western counterpart to compare to.

They also have these delicious sesame cookies sold in their gift store, on the right side of the restaurant after you enter. And black sesame crisps.

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