(This particular entry is not in order compared to my earlier Christmas break posts due to my initial lack of photographs of this dinner. Special thanks to my sis for the pics!)
It was very nice to be able to see family and relatives after a fairly long absence. Though my parents did visit me in the spring (see my post on my Mother's Day dinner), I hadn't been back in either Ottawa or Toronto since November 2009, which therefore was the last time I saw my sister. I also hadn't seen my favourite uncle and aunt since 2002, so it was a very nice treat to meet them again. After the requisite hugs in the airport's arrivals hall dinner was a must, and we agreed to go to a restaurant my parents and sis enjoyed but only now did I get to experience, Graceful Vegetarian Restaurant. Considering how I had to rely considerably more on less healthier than usual food during the previous week, it was a nice change of scene to have some Chinese Buddhist/vegetarian cuisine.
Chinese vegetarian cuisine originated from the spread of Buddhism in China and that religion's concept of non-violence, which included the killing of animals for food. Over the years as the religion and the Chinese culture flourished, vegetarian cuisine, like its mainstream counterpart, became increasingly colourful to the point where there are many dishes now that can imitate meat dishes very well. Wheat gluten is very prevalent in Chinese vegetarian cuisine and is mostly used to imitate meats especially in terms of texture.
Like the Fresh Restaurant franchise in Toronto, Graceful offers another venue in the GTA for a delicious vegetarian diet. Graceful faithfully and successfully highlights Chinese vegetarian cuisine's ability to use vegetable products to not only substitute meats, but to even go so far as to mimic them.
(A footnote: I heard through a grapevine that the commercial development in which this restaurant is currently located may be up for complete redevelopment. If it's true, I certainly hope that this place can remain open elsewhere.)
Name: Graceful Vegetarian Restaurant
Address: 7131 Kennedy Rd., Markham, ON
Cuisine: Chinese, Vegetarian
Price Range: N/A