Peace, Love and Veganism at the Loving Hut

The Place: Loving Hut
The Location: 3239 E. Indian School Road, Phoenix
The Dishes: Lucky Wontons, Soy Very Teriyaki, Pad Thai
By: Jessica Cowan

Loving Hut is an international restaurant chain (with branches from Tokyo to San Francisco) that not only offers delicious vegan fare, but also aims to education people about why going vegan is beneficial, on both a personal and global level. Literature, TV programming, and even the menu offer information to browse while dining on their plant-based delicacies.

The Phoenix location is a humble, diminutive building, but it’s front sign sends a big message: “Be Vegan, Make Peace”. The interior is simple, with a small dining area and an even smaller market section; offering things like merchandise, snacks, and even plant-based options for your fur-baby! A shelf near the entrance holds books authored by the Loving Hut’s founder, Ching Hai, who is well-known for creating her own religion.

Known as the Quan Yin Method, Hai’s religious practice focuses on respecting all living creatures, and requires her followers to adopt a vegan lifestyle. Her teachings and beliefs are present all around the restaurant, but not in-your-face. People go into the Loving Hut to eat; if they want to learn more about veganism (or Quan Yin), an abundance of information is at their fingertips.

Speaking of eating—let’s get to the food! During our visit, we were pleasantly surprised when soup was immediately delivered to our table (standard practice, apparently); which consisted of lentils, carrots, celery, and onions, swimming in a delicious broth. As lovers of traditional wontons, we had to give the Lucky Wontons ($5.50) a shot, and they started the meal off on a very high note. Comprised of carrots, Chinese celery, roasted leeks, veg protein, and served in crispy dumpling wrappers, these traditional wonton lookalikes tasted extremely close to cream cheese wontons and were just as delicious.

In addition to the appetizer, we had the Soy Very Teriyaki ($9.95) and the Pad Thai ($9.95), both of which offered hearty portions and delicious substitutes for their meat counterparts. While the teriyaki was served with fresh carrots, cauliflower, and brown rice, the Pad Thai was piled high with vegetables and a collection of rice noodles, which were flavorful and mirrored traditional noodles with a hint of spice.

This restaurant also offers a selection of specialty drinks, all comprised of dairy-free milks and organic, non-GMO ingredients. In addition, they offer smoothies, juices, and desserts, like their gluten-free cheesecake and vegan milkshakes.

Ultimately, Loving Hut is not just a restaurant with a vegan menu, but a “hut” of information and an introduction to the vegan lifestyle that will educate, inspire and uplift. Even if you’re a die-hard carnivore, give Loving Hut a shot –you may just learn something about your palate and yourself!

eat | drink | share | loving hut

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