Fo Guang Shan Water Drop Vege Café REVIEW 3

2 Stancombe Rd, Flat Bush, Manukau City

Tel: +64 9 274 4880

Opening Hours: Tuesday to Sunday 10am – 4:30pm

4 Stars

THE WATER DROP Vege Café is very different to most of the vegetarian or vegan restaurants you’ll encounter around Auckland. Instead of the usual fairly typical restaurant or café, this setting is quite remarkable because the café is to be found on the picturesque grounds of the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple. Even though the location is only minutes from the shopping frenzy of Botany Downs and the industrial areas of East Tamaki, the Temple is as tranquil as if it were located in the rural hinterlands of Asia.

The café itself (or the Tea House as it’s referred to on the Temple’s website), is a small restaurant with a peaceful environment, rustic wooden tables and benches, friendly staff and most importantly, good food. The menu isn’t large, mostly comprising of snacks, soups, stir-fries and noodle dishes. There’s also a daily set lunch made up of three or four pre-cooked dishes.

I’ve worked in this area for most of the year but had never tried the Water Drop Vege Café until a friend of mind suggested I give it a try. Since then, in the space of about three weeks, I’ve been back about five times, along with my brother Greg, who despite being a certified carnivore is more than happy to tag along for lunch. There’s only one way to start off a meal here, and that’s with the BBQ Bun, which is a soft steamed bun filled with a tangy yet sweet BBQ mix. You get two of them for $5, which theoretically makes them an ideal shared starter but it’s almost impossible to only eat only one, so bear this in mind.

The superb BBQ Buns

My brother loves the Laksa soup, which is a spicy dish filled with noodles and assorted meaty treats (tofu and soy of course). I’ve yet to try it but he assures me that it’s a stunner. I’m slowly working my way through the menu, having tried the cabinet lunch, the BBQ won ton noodles, the won ton noodle soup and the ‘lucky’ noodle soup. All of these dishes have been tasty, hearty food, with perhaps only the cabinet lunch trending towards plainer (yet still moreish) fare.

The best so far has to be the won ton noodle soup, with its thin broth, bok choy and carrots, mince, tofu and won tons. In almost every dish, you’re dealing with fake meat, which might be troublesome if your vegan attitudes shy away from stuff that looks, feels and tastes like meat.

Orders are placed at the counter but the meals usually arrive at the tables in minutes. The prices are quite reasonable, with most main meals costing between $9 and $12.50.

Won Ton noodle soup

While the food can’t quite match the wonders of the much-missed Rulei in Henderson (and so far, only Loving Hut in San Francisco can match Rulei in my experience), it’s still very enjoyable, and when the relaxing atmosphere and mellow setting are taken into account, the Water Drop Vege Café is well worth the trek out to Flat Bush. If you live nearby, it could well become a regular hangout. ASHLEY KRAMER


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3 thoughts on “Fo Guang Shan Water Drop Vege Café REVIEW

  • Bruce Sherman

    OK as a dedicated consumer of cows I would have to say that I’m possibly in real trouble after lunch with Erin and Ava today at the water drop cafe!

    We both tried the BBQ Buns which fully lived up to your description, I had the Laksa and Erin had the Wonton Noodle Soup; both of which were superb although Erin found the Wonton Noodle a little light in flavor for her tastes but still found it delicious (she had the Laksa on a previous visit and spent the meal stealing parts of mine). I’m not a super spice fan but found the Laksa had just enough spice to give you some heat but not so that it over powered the delicious flavors.

    We both had the Ginger, lemon and honey tea which was a perfect accompaniment to both meals.

    Prices were great, the total came to $35.00 which for the amount that we ate was extremely good value. Highly recommend that you eat there soon if you haven’t already !