Gong De Lin is one of the few if only, vegan Chinese restaurants in Melbourne. They have 2 restaurants, one in the CBD and the newest in Box Hill. The city Gong De Lin restaurant has been open for about 6 years now. It is one of the only dedicated vegan restaurants in the city but can be a little hard to find. Located next to Cookie, enter the lift and go up 3 levels.
Head Chef and owner Kwok Wai Sze started the Gong De Lin chain in Hong Kong and brought it to Melbourne when the family migrated. His daughter Tiffy runs the front of house operations for both venues. When asking why they transitioned from originally being vegetarian to vegan, Tiffy explained that it was for religious (Buddhism) and inclusion reasons. Opening the door for anyone who is vegetarian or vegan. Generally making things easier.
Each year at the Buddhist festival in Federation Square, Tiffy, and her mother help people learn how to become vegetarian. They teach cooking classes and offer information to anyone who is interested.
The menu is what you would expect to see on a traditional Chinese menu. All of the flavours are the same but without any animal products. The mock meats have been scaled back, instead, they make their ‘meat’ out of beans instead of wheat based products. (Gluten Free people rejoice!).
The highlights are the Spicy Tofu Hot Pot, with an abundance of flavour, which you can share around the table. The Vegan Beef & Black Bean Stir Fry is exactly what you want from this dish, however, the feeling of satisfaction and not sleepiness is a welcome change when you finish.
No matter what your indulgence, you are guaranteed to find exactly what you are looking for at Gong De Lin. But be warned, you should take your family and friends so you don’t end up with food envy when you miss out on trying everything.