Chang's Garden

Storrs-Mansfield, Connecticut


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Please indulge my digression and forgive my possible xenophobia, but I have learned that Chinese and Thai restaurants are far from the “vegan safe houses” that many deluded vegans mistake them to be. Both a cultural chasm and a language divide separate American vegans from Chinese and Thai wait staff. Identifying yourself as a vegetarian is literally meaningless as so many waiters seem not to understand that clams and oysters and lobsters and shrimp and squid and octopus and fish all are animals. You often can find these animals listed right on their menus in their so-called vegetarian sections. I shudder to guess at the ingredients that are not listed. Especially beware insidious fish in Thai curry sauces and clandestine clam in Chinese garlic sauces.

That said, I am happy to report that Chang’s is indeed a vegan safe house, in part because the co-owner is a lapsed vegetarian. I have eaten here numerous times, and can attest that all the wait staff speak fluent and often native English, so fully understand the meanings of the words “vegan” and “vegetarian.” And even better, there are many vegan dishes from which to choose, some of them quite unique. For instance, simple but outstanding is the bok choy dish, which consists of whole baby bok choys halved lengthwise, dressed in a savory sauce. The mushroom dishes also are excellent. And though not listed on the menu, brown rice is served at no extra charge, so be sure to ask for brown rice. I dare say that this is the only Chinese restaurant in the whole of eastern Connecticut at which I dine. Enough said!

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