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Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)

Vegetarian & Vegan | Xuhui

Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)

Vegetarian & Vegan
Xuhui

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  • Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)
  • Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)
  • Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)
  • Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)
  • Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)
  • Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)
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Godly Vegetarian (Wuyuan Lu)

Vegetarian & Vegan
Xuhui
  • 303 Wuyuan Lu,
    near Wukang Lu

    Xuhui District

    五原路303号,
    近武康路

    15 mins from Shanghai Library
    6471 8909
    Daily, 6am-9pm

    Editor’s Description

    Last updated: Jun 10, 2019
    GODLY is Shanghai's OG vegetarian restaurant -- it's been around since 1922. The famous writer Lu Xun visited this place in the early '20s. As the place and concept grew in popularity, Godly expanded into chain restaurants and veggie snack specialty stores. Strong, strong flavors here (perhaps overwhelming for some), and a lot of mock meat. Go for the kao fu with mu'er, or the veggie crab spawn, vegetarian chicken, or the veggie moon cake. Nice spot. Hot dishes cost around 35rmb each. While the Wukang/Wuyuan Lu branch is in a cozy part of Xuhui, the branch on Nanjing Lu is still the most popular one, with traditional style and rosewood furniture.
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    • The Godly restaurant brand has been around since 1922, and don’t they know it. The year is plastered all over the restaurant, like an incantation against rising rents and an increasing abundance of more interesting vegetarian options.

      I’m not knocking it; it’s hard to make something last almost 100 years. Look at the state of the EU after just 26. I’m just making the point because Godly has clearly enjoyed a lot of respect for a long time and – honestly – I’m not entirely sure why.

      They do mock meat, but it’s normally buried in some gelatinous sauce, like in the “beef” noodle dish we ordered. They promise spicy Sichuan dishes, but our tofu was saccharine and fangless. There are similarly disappointing curries, too, like the mushroom one we didn’t finish.

      Having said all this, it’s not a bad restaurant. The claypot vermicelli noodles were delicious, and the spring rolls – despite their gloopy, orange sauce – were nicely crispy. I’d also recommend the mushroom floss dish, too, although it was nothing like what I’d expected; it bears absolutely no resemblance to meat floss. In total, for four people with a beer, we paid around 400rmb.

      Godly is a good place to try classic Chinese vegetarian food. It’s worth a visit for the vermicelli noodles and the novelty of eating cruelty-free “eel”, among other things. There’s a fully bilingual menu, staff are helpful, and prices are fair.

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    • "Why are so many of my friends vegetarian?" is a question that keeps me up at night. Good meat is obviously the most important part of any meal, but when it's time to say goodbye to a veggie friend leaving Shanghai, I just had to mentally prepare to be disappointed with dinner.

      Two bites into the Stir-Fried Eggplant (RMB 46), which looked to be a bit more deep fried than stir fried with a delicious sweet and sour sauce, I figured this vegetarian restaurant might not be a total waste of my stomach space.

      One large bite of the Steamed Gluten with Black Fungus and Peanuts (RMB 29) and I couldn't even whine about being at a vegetarian restaurant as I was too busy stuffing my face.

      When the first fake meat dish came out, I was a little wary, but the Vegetarian "Steak" with Black Pepper Sauce (RMB 49) ended up being pretty filling. Turns out all this tofu has a pretty high protein content. I'd still choose actual steak over the fake stuff, but if I stop comparing this dish to real meat, the flavors really hold their own.

      Why were all of my favorite dishes so brown? I don't know.

      Typically, I enjoy leaving a good meal feeling almost sick-full, but all of the vegetarian food left me feeling content-full. This is probably how normal people function at a restaurant. If it hadn't been for the numerous Tsingtao Beer (RMB 18) rounds, we could have easily escaped feeling good about ourselves for under RMB 100 per person.

      The atmosphere inside is relaxed, with a mix of locals and expats alike. I'd be willing to guess that many of the patrons live in the area and decided to pop in for a quick bite. There's also an outside area available that I'm sure will be lovely when Shanghai stops being the temperature of a furnace

       

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