Ren Ren Su Yang, 人人素养, is a Chinese style vegetarian restaurant located right in the Time Square compound, next to Jiefangbei (解放碑, literally meaning Liberation Monument)，which is the most famous landmark and also the heart of downtown Chongqing. It might be a little difficult to find, as it was located inside an office building.
The restaurant consists of several small rooms, which respectively caters 4 to 6 people or more, with a little tiny garden near the entrance hall and waiting area. The garden seems really cute, but due to the fact that is totally installed indoors with everything made of plastic, it is nice but also kitsch. The room is dark with bamboo curtains hanging over. We asked the waitress to lift them up so we could see some great view down there.
The service was heavily based on mixture of some Chinese traditional and Buddist rituals. All the waitresses were dressed in Vietnamese ao dai (traditional Vietnamese clothing for women), although they might argue that was Chinese, but to me it really resembles the ao dai. All the girls wear half see-through black veil, which, I guess, is used to preserve a bit mystery of the whole atmosphere, but I really felt it’s odd and not necessary. They also tended to be overly cordial as well. Honey was totally not used to the super low, big and hard Chinese style chair, even with cushions on it. I didn’t have much complaint about it.
Here they serve the set meals so it’s almost impossible to order what you want exactly. Each set contains 8 to 10 different dishes and they serve them one by one. Although it is not really strictly as courses in Western cuisine, as they keep serving the food once it’s ready, instead of waiting for the guest to finish one course then bringing the next. They do remove the empty plates or bowls if they see you finish something.
All the food were nicely presented here. It’s quite to my enjoyment as I do love the presentation of fine dining. Most of the food we tasted were very good. We particularly liked the sweet and sour mock ribs, as well as the baked mushrooms with barbecue sauce. One of the seaweed one was lovely but way too spicy for us. I do notice that they didn’t do many fake meat dishes as commonly seen in vegetarian restaurants in Shanghai, here they seem to focus more on the original forms of the vegetables and grains, and many dishes feature different kinds of mushrooms.
Even though we did specify that we don’t eat egg or dairy, I am not 100% sure they understand that. I suspect one of the dishes we ate might contain egg, as it tasted a lot like Japanese tofu (a kinda of yellow tofu that contains egg). Another dessert plate tasted so much like dairy yogurt, I wonder if they used condensed milk as ingredient without realizing it. Since we were eating with another non-vegetarian friend, we didn’t bother too much to ask for details.
As a whole we were very satisfied with the meal. The price was reasonable for what were served; and the restaurant was in the prime location, with a good view from the top; most dishes tasted nice, and well proportioned, we didn’t manage to finish every bit even we usually do. The ritual process was overly done and became annoying to me, however, it might appeal to you if you like traditional or Buhhist culture (even though to me, what they did was a weird interpretation). We do recommend that you try it once when you land yourself in Chongqing.