Pu Ti Su (菩提素) is a famous vegetarian restaurant chain in Chongqing. They have three venues in different locations, each has a different name. The one we’ve been to is called Pu Su Shu Shi, 朴素蔬食, literally meaning “simple and plain vegetarian food”, however, it is actually a fine restaurant located in a newly built mall compound. The compound is close to the river, along the Beibin Road (北滨路). Many locals live and hang out here, and tourists seldom venture to this area, well, unless they’re looking for some specific food to eat, like us, lol.
The restaurant is on the 5th floor, and the entrance is decorated by some bamboo installation. We almost missed it until a waitress greeted us there. I should mention that after the meal, the waitress will guide you through another door so you don’t go out through the same entrance. The interior features a lot of bamboo decoration, which nicely segregate the area into smaller compartments, which provides some privacy, yet still connecting with the rest. The light is dimly lit but good enough for dining. If you sit close to the window, you also get to see some nice view of Chongqing skyline at night.
The waitress did bring us an English menu. Unfortunately the few dishes that we really wanted to try were not available, due to the reason that they are seasonal supply. We ended up ordering something a bit less specific.
We had the vegetable rolls in nori as appetizer. It was nicely presented on a stand. We liked it. However the following tempura was slightly disappointing as they were not that crispy as we expected, plus, the sauce was way too light, which made the whole dish a little bland. Honey was so hungry for some decent tempura, but we haven’t yet found a place that serves vegan version. (Usually the tempura batter contains egg.) I guess I had to learn to make our own.
The vegetable on the iron plate was light and good. The sauce was flavorful yet not overwhelming, and it featured asparagus lettuce, yam, broccoli, paprika, yellow and purple corn. We enjoyed this one quite a lot. The waitress recommended an eggplant dish with a strange name called “The Eggplant of the Fall of That Year” (那一年秋天的茄子). This one was made of eggplant with coating, possibly deep fried, then shaped into coil, served with warm sweet and sour sauce, freshly poured over the top of the dish by the waitress when she served the dish. We like it very much, except the portion tended to be really big for two. Perhaps it was intended for bigger gathering. We rounded our meal with some dumplings, which had mushroom fillings, accompanied by vinegar sauce.
We quite enjoyed our experience in this restaurant. It has nice seating, good view and pleasant dining environment. The service was friendly. The dishes were nice and well portioned, although nothing super surprising, probably because we didn’t get to taste their specialties that much. I do recommend that you plan a bit walk along Beibin Road and mark this restaurant as a place to eat. It’s less tourist-packed and you get to have some quiet walk along the river, overlooking the center area of Chongqing.