Travelling is not something I enjoy doing. I mean, there are some places I like going but that's mostly because I know there will be kosher restaurants while I'm there ensuring I don't go hungry. I don't like to go hungry and I don't like packing tons of snack bars and veggie burgers to survive on while other folks around me get to dine out. As a result I like to research new destinations before I decide on them.
On my recent trip to San Francisco I had the pleasure of trying out some of the kosher eateries in the city and came up with one very pleasant surprise - the vegetarian Chinese restaurant called Shangri-La.
Now most of us are used to a certain style of kosher Chinese food - fat, middle-aged mashgiach out front in a white shirt and black pants, busy Filipino cooks in the back frying up the stereotypical assortment of things like wantons, sweet and sour soup, eggrolls and the like.
Shangri-La was not like this at all. Located in a quiet west end neighbourhood and easily reached by the city's rapid transit system, it has a small but inviting dining room and is staffed by - get this! - real Chinese people.
I know! Who'd have thought?
The menu is expansive and consisted of dishes I'd never heard of before, along with various listings of Chinese ingredients whose identities were similarly unknown to me. The one that really stuck out was "Chinese Miracle B" which even the owner of the place couldn't tell me much about.
However the food was amazing. We had the herbal teas to start, followed by some exotic salads, fake shrimp and then fake ribs on a bed of herbs and lettuce. Everything was full of flavours I found different from the usual stock stuff served in kosher Chinese restaurants elsewhere. The service was quick and friendly. Best of all, the prices were incredibly reasonable. Should I find myself in San Francisco again I wouldn't hesitate to take in dinner there. I therefore recommend it to any kosher travellers who find themselves in the bay area.