When I was in Seoul I visited several restaurants called Loving Hut. They were all very different — for example, one was casual, semi-fast food; another was more formal, requiring patrons to remove their shoes. All of them had two things in common: they served vegan food, and they all had televisions broadcasting footage of a woman speaking. I did a little research, and it turns out that Loving Hut is an international chain of vegan restaurants owned by a cult called Quan Yin Method. The woman being shown on screen is known as Supreme Master Ching Hai. There’s even an oblique reference to these restaurants in Sara Gran’s fantastic Claire DeWitt books, which I re-read after returning home. When I found out that there was a Loving Hut here in Brooklyn, I obviously had to visit.
They had the requisite televisions, of course, and I was the only customer in the place. I have to say the food was fantastic. I started with some seared vegetable dumplings, which were full of shredded mixed vegetables and managed to be crispy but not greasy at all. Better still was my lunch special: sauteed noodles with Beijing-style soy protein. The noodles, tossed with some fresh veggies, were simply but beautifully seasoned with soy sauce and the sear from a really hot wok, while the soy cutlet was crispy with a sweet and savory sauce.
Loving Hut in Bushwick is only one of nearly 40 locations in the US alone, so even though I’m pretty far from Seoul I can feel comfortable knowing that this vegan restaurant cult will always be nearby.
Loving Hut (Brooklyn) — 76 Bushwick Ave