Friday, August 5

Bean Sprouts

With a cute-as-a-button name as Bean Sprouts, this new vegetarian restaurant on Huntington Drive is hard to miss. It sure caught my eye when I was on my way to the Olive Garden last week, so I made a mental note to return. Bean Sprouts' menu may not be large, but their Chinese vegetarian food are flavorful and filling.

The first thing I noticed when I walked in during lunch hour was how clean and serene the small restaurant looked; the hardwood floors, matching tables and chairs, waterfall wall, brightly sun lit room, and new age background music gave a zen feel. In addition, diners can glance out the window at the peaceful cars and pedestrians go by.

Once the kind owner handed me the colorful menu with pictures on it, she explained what dishes were and what she recommended. There certainly wasn't any help needed, since the menu was divided into three simple sections: Appetizers & Soup, Noodle & Rice, and Drinks. Also, the menu was easy to read with icons explaining if the dish included egg and if it was oily or spicy.

Before any dishes came out, the owner presented my table with a small complimentary dish of fresh cut celery, carrots, and shredded tofu with a mild, refreshing dressing. It made for healthy snacking before the main course arrived.

For the appetizer, I was divided between the Rainbow Roll, Crispy Spring Roll, or Wonton with Hot Spicy Sauce. Though the Rainbow Roll looked and sounded interesting, a sushi-type roll with vegetables, veggie ham, and mayonnaise, it was too exotic for my taste buds. I stuck with a safe variation of the Crispy Spring Rolls, and they turned out to be crunchy, tasty, and stuffed full of vegetables. The hot Rolls came in four with a dipping sauce I suspected was sweet and sour but turned out to be salty; I suggest skipping the sauce because the rolls are already oily enough and bursting of flavor.

Under the main course, Noodle & Rice, there are only 17 selections to choose from and many of the pictures looked unappealing and dull. Many of the dishes, Sesame Cold Noodle with peanut sauce, Dan-Dan Mein, and Spaghetti w/ Tomato Sauce sounded boring and typical; my experience with vegetarian food has been inventive, colorful, and unique. I eyeballed Hawaiian Fried Rice and went with that even though there wasn't an accompanying picture of it on the menu. With carrots, peas, mushroom, crispy sweet ginger, and chunks of pineapple, the Rice was a yummy winner! I could barely finish the large dish, which was surprising because I don't get full fast.

Bean Sprouts dispels the myths that vegetarian food is bland, rabbit food; instead, this relaxing and clean restaurant serves Chinese vegetarian food in large portions and full of zest. Healthy and creative, vegetarian food never looked so good.

If you're looking to try Asian vegetarian food for the first time, I would recommend going to New Happy Family Restaurant (8632 E. Valley Blvd. #E Rosemead CA. 91770) or One World Vegetarian Cuisine (178 S. Glendora Ave., West Covina, CA 91790) first. These two offer a much larger and diverse selection with many familiar dishes given a vegetarian twist!

Bean Sprouts
103 E. Huntington Drive
Arcadia, CA 91006-8708
(626) 254-8708
Mon - Fri 11:00AM to 3:00PM, 5:00 PM to 9:00 PM
Sat - Sun 11:00AM to 9:00PM
Closed Tues

Labels: ,