At first glance, Pine Garden in Boca Raton seems like a typical Chinese restaurant. They don't even advertise having vegetarian/vegan options. And of course, when you walk in, they immediately hand you the meat laden menu. But like any good secret, there lies a hidden vegan menu, just as expansive as the main menu, carefully tucked away. This is only known by a technology savvy vegan, who has researched all the vegan options in the South Florida area, and has discovered the many vegan options at this establishment. For every meat option, there exists a vegan version, even more enticing.
My grandma and I ventured to this restaurant for their wonderful lunch special and were joined by her curious vegan friend. It was so exciting to be able to show her friend that there are in fact vegan options at restaurants. I had dined here on my last trip to the West Palm Beach area and found the food to be quite enjoyable.
The lunch special is only $8 and comes with a bowl of soup, egg roll, choice of entree and white or brown rice. We all opted for the crispy orange beef and the brown rice.
First, our soups came out. The soup of the day was wonton soup.
This wonton soup was very delectable. It had a rich, beef flavored broth with crunchy pieces of carrots and scallions. This noodle of the wonton was slightly doughy and very soft. The interior had a very savory taste and was filled with a vegetable mixture.
Next, I had the egg roll.
The egg roll was fantastic. It wasn't too oily or soaked in grease, as so many Chinese appetizers are. It was flaky and crispy and filled with a lovely vegetable mixture. The vegetables were seasoned very well and coated in a soy sauce.
Next, I had the entree, which was made of a wheat gluten.
This tasted nothing like beef, but was still very enjoyable. The sauce was very scrumptious and was very tangy and flavorful. It had a very mild spice. The faux meat was a little too chewy and difficult to eat. It could have been a little crispier, too.
Overall, I really enjoyed the meal. The food was not too greasy or oily and I did not feel sick afterwards, as I often do after eating Chinese food. This place is perfect, especially when dining with omnivores, as they do not feel forced to eat vegan food, but of course have that option. The waiters were very friendly and quick to answer our questions about how they make the food. This was a great deal, only costing $8 a person for a generous portion of food. I cannot wait to return on my next visit.