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Veggie Heaven on Earth

by Erika Jakubiszen
Veggie Heaven

Veggie Heaven is a vegetarian and vegan Chinese restaurant, which is 10 minutes away from Montclair State University.
Erika Jakubiszen | The Montclarion

I was skeptical about Veggie Heaven. A place serving vegetarian, vegan and Chinese food caused endless questions to race through my mind. I have never had vegetarian, vegan or Chinese food together. Regardless, I kept an open mind for Veggie Heaven, located at 631 Valley Road, Montclair, New Jersey.

The restaurant sits on the corner of the busy Valley Road and Lorraine Ave. When I first arrived at the restaurant, there was nowhere to park. After wrapping around the block twice for 10 minutes, I finally settled into a spot and headed inside.

The exterior of Veggie Heaven is simple, but the interior is a different story. The moment you walk in, you are instantly greeted by a peaceful atmosphere and calm music. My companion and I were greeted by the hostess who seated us at a cozy, comfortable booth. She was kind to us, smiling warmly as if she was truly happy to see us. Her friendliness was refreshing.

Veggie Heaven (Interior) 2

The inside of the restaurant is small, but it is very comfortable and relaxing.
Erika Jakubiszen | The Montclarion

When the waiter greeted us and asked about refreshments, I knew what I was interested in trying. I have never tried bubble tea. Rumor has it that its amazing, so I wasn’t hesitant to try it. The waiter was patient with me, answering any questions I had, as I browsed through the bubble tea menu. Eventually, I settled on the litchi flavor, and I have no regrets. The tea was amazing, sweet but refreshing.

When I began browsing through the actual menu, which was four pages long, I was intimidated. As I continued to browse, I found that the restaurant had options with meat that are plant based.

My companion and I started out with vegetarian Fried Dumplings as an appetizer before I requested the Curry Chicken Noodle Soup as my entrée. My companion ordered the House Special Fried Rice with Tofu and Pork Lo Mein. After taking our menus, another waiter came with a metallic teapot filled with red tea, two glasses of cold water and a small plate of raw cabbage. Everything was courtesy of the restaurant as we waited for our appetizer.

Soon after, the appetizer arrived with dumpling sauce. There were six dumplings for $5.50. They were exceptionally good, nothing too special—plain and average. However, the dumpling sauce really gave it that flavor the dumplings so desperately needed. Although I was slightly disappointed with the plain flavor, the dumplings were soft and melted in your mouth. With the sweet sauce, it was the perfect combination.

Fried Dumplings

The small bowl of cabbage alongside the vegetarian fried dumplings with dumpling sauce.
Erika Jakubiszen | The Montclarion

15 to 20 minutes went by before our entrees came out steaming hot. The House Special Fried Rice with Tofu was interesting. Normally, a fried rice dish has soy sauce blended into the rice to give it that brown appearance and slightly salted taste, but Vegan Heaven’s fried rice has no soy sauce. It was only white rice with corn, peas and carrots, but I could not complain. It tasted lighter than regular fried rice, like I would not feel guilty eating this meal in one sitting. It was definitely boring in flavor, like unseasoned rice but it was still appetizing. The tofu mixed in the fried rice was cut into strips and the taste was delicious. It was juicy and gave flavor to the boring rice.

The pork lo mein was so sweet and juicy, it left my mouth salivating for more. It was the best part of the Lo Mein. The noodles were boring and tasteless but when eaten with the pork, the dish was delicious.

The Pork Lo Mein has mini tongs, so customers can easily scoop up some noodles and place them on a separate plate.
Erika Jakubiszen | The Montclarion

Finally, I had the Curry Chicken Noodle Soup. Although the appearance was unappetizing, it was tasty. The noodles were soft and light, and the chicken was tender and absorbed the broth nicely.

Being here, I could tell the staff and owners really care about their customers through their service. With so much delicious food on our table, we had to ask for containers. The waiter generously boxed our food for us.

The Fried Rice with tofu does not have any soy sauce, so it does not have that customary brown appearance.
Erika Jakubiszen | The Montclarion

While the food was good, the best part was the bill, which came out to $34.37. For three entrees, one appetizer and a bubble tea, the cost was less than $40. I plan on coming back for seconds.

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