of course the vegetarian chinese restaurants in toronto appeal to me, but not just for the obvious reasons. most of them are just good, whether or not you care for mock shrimp that tastes and (somewhat eerily) looks like shrimp. one of my new favourites is simon's wok on gerrard east, and the best thing there is their stuffed bean curd which, although a little greasy, is crunchy and light, filled with sweet shredded vegetables. pictured above, clockwise from the top, is the stuffed bean curd, lily bulbs (which i'll get to in a minute) with snow peas and cashews, "chicken" and "saltfish" fried rice, and black bean "fish", "squid" and, yep, "shrimp".
the first time i went to simon's wok, my friend took an order of the lily bulbs home for her mother, it being a favourite of hers. intrigued and encouraged by the endorsement of my friend's mom, i placed an order myself this past weekend. the verdict? a definite maybe. i don't know… the white slices had the texture of blanched garlic and a mild, sweet white onion flavour–sort of weak on both those fronts. they didn't seem to impart flavour to the rest of the dish, although i really didn't have any complaints about the stir-fry overall. my mom loved it, however. it's been my experience that food loved by moms, while perhaps weird at first, are realy some superfood that i just haven't acquired a taste for yet (bitter gourd, anyone?), so i'm gonna give the lily bulbs another try soon. guess i have no choice but to head back to simon's wok soon then. oh well.