If you’re vegetarian/vegan and you have a scheduled trip to Zamboanga City soon, don’t worry about what you’re going to eat there, because there is VE-G QUEEN.
VE-G QUEEN is a Chinese-owned air-conditioned buffet restaurant. They have 10-12 viands on their menu and freshly-squeezed fruit/vegetable juices. The viands include pure vegetable dishes and meat-substitute-based ones (their veggie meat is really good, not the rubbery sort), all of which have distinct flavors of their own (plus a little bit of a Chinese taste to them).
This is the first restaurant I’ve been to where you get the viands you want and put them on your plate. You then bring your plate to the counter and have it weighed! I don’t know exactly how much per gram costs, but I got a moundful of food (with around 8 viands) and only paid a little over a hundred. That includes rice, carrot juice, and a stick of bbq (which is priced differently).
VE-G QUEEN is not popular among the locals. Even our contact person was surprised in finding out that there is such a place in her own city that serves pure vegetarian. In fact, it is located in a narrow dead-end, not far from the central cathedral. You have to know it’s there to find it. It has been around for a few years, and is owned by a Chinese family who settled in the area. They also offer the usual organic products and promote “miracle vegetables” and alternative health medicines and practices.
It’s commendable how some entrepreneurs would think of setting up a business that is not quite popular in the community and yet, they still do just because they advocate for it and would want to spread the belief of vegetarianism.
So the next time you find yourself in Zamboanga City, you know where to go. Search the cathedral, look for the narrow dead end, and find yourself delighting in the tastes of a buffet of wonderful vegetarian food.