It seems that nobody really knows what time of the day dim sum is meant to be consumed. Even Google is no help when it comes to labelling the meal as breakfast, lunch, brunch, or dinner. But that didn’t keep us from entering the front door of Sun Bo Kong, ready to eat ourselves into oblivion.
Upon entering the innovative spot at 1363 Kingsway, it’s clear that the restaurant loves all creatures. Several televisions are streaming adorable animal videos, which fill the warm space with a sense of compassion and joy.
At Sun Bo Kong, all of the mouthwatering dishes on the restaurant’s menu are vegetarian so the constant loop of animal videos is of no concern. But this begs the question, if every restaurant played these heartwarming videos, would people still be able to enjoy their meat-filled meals?
When someone decides to switch to a vegetarian or plant-based diet, there are often a couple meals made with meat that they must reluctantly part with. And giving up steamed pork buns and sticky rice is not an easy feat for those with an affinity for Chinese cuisine.
Ken Chau, owner of Sun Bo Kong, opened the vegetarian Chinese restaurant in 1992—this was long before vegetarianism gained mainstream momentum. The eatery’s ongoing success in Vancouver’s challenging restaurant industry is a testament to the staff’s knowledge of vegetarian cooking.
As mentioned on the restaurant’s website, its mission is to “promote a healthy and responsible diet, and most of all, a diet that causes no harm and pain to any living beings that have the capacity for suffering, enjoyment, and happiness as much as we do.”
It’s apparent that Chau was ahead of the trend when it comes to caring for the environment, animals, and our own health.
But enough about the animals (that we love so dearly) and let’s discuss the delectable dishes that had us feeling grateful for elastic waistbands.
Sticky rice is to dim sum, what wine is to Friday evenings—one simply could not exist without the other. Sun Bo Kong serves the ever-so-flavourful rice in a few exciting formats, all sans mystery meat.
Variations include the Pan-fried Sticky Rice and the Sticky Rice Roll. The roll option features sticky rice wrapped tightly in the same fluffy white dough that is used for traditional steamed pork buns.
For those yet to meet their carb quota after devouring the sticky rice, venture into the noodle portion of the dim sum menu. This includes delicious and slippery dishes like Three Kinds of Mushroom Congee, Sautéed Broad Rice Noodle with Shredded Vegetable, Pan-fried Noodle with Bean Curd Roll, and Veggie Beef Fried Rice with Ginger.
The innovative restaurant doesn’t shy away from using plant-based meat alternatives in many of its dishes. The succulent, crispy meatless morsels are the perfect vehicle to deliver spicy and sweet sauces directly to your mouth.
The BBQ Pastry Rolls are preposterously close to the real deal. They’re filled with tangy sauce mixed with shredded “pork” and are perfectly packaged in flaky pastry dough. Avoid looming regret and get two or three orders of these tasty tidbits—one plate is absolutely not enough.
Guests who prefer softer, fluffier dough surrounding the scrumptious well-seasoned filling should opt for an order (or five) of the Streamed BBQ Buns. We may have taken a few of these savoury bad boys home with us for later.
Other popular dim sum plates at Sun Bo Kong are piled high with vegetable, mushroom, and taro dumplings, spicy green beans, spring rolls, and pot stickers. Soy lovers can dive into dishes of deep-fried tofu and bean curd smothered in umami sauce.
Sun Bo Kong also serves dinner and both menus can be found here.
The vegetarian restaurant offers dine-in, takeout, and delivery through Uber Eats and DoorDash. For more information, visit www.sunbokong.com/.