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There’s a little known place in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada where you can find fresh fruit tea and delicious vegetarian meals in a peaceful environment. It isn’t advertised at all, there’s barely a mention of it on their official website, and there’s no outdoor signage for it. Step inside the Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple Mississauga and you’ll find a quaint tea house that has become one of my favorite lunch spots in the Toronto area. Before you step through the front doors, be sure to explore the property of the Buddhist temple itself. The massive symmetrical building is ornately decorated, with a large drum suspended on one side of the building, and a large bell on the opposite side. After walking up the front steps to the main entrance, we swung open a hefty red and gold door. The smell of incense immediately filled my lungs and my eyes were dazzled by hundreds of gold Buddha statues inside an enormous prayer room directly beyond the front door. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed inside the temple itself, but this was completely understandable as it is a place for meditation and prayer. Though we were unable to take a tour of the temple (only offered on Sundays), we hope to return for a full tour at a later date.
Though the Tea Room is to the right of the main entrance, you’ll want to walk to a table on the left side first. This is where you’ll purchase your meal and drink tickets. No money is exchanged inside the tea room itself as you pay for everything with tickets. The tickets are $7 each, and everything on the menu costs one ticket. We bought three tickets and we used them for two meals and a pot of tea to share. Also, the temple is completely run by volunteers. Those who work at the ticket counter, the servers in the tea room, and the people who work in the kitchen are all volunteers at the Buddhist temple. They do not accept tips for their services, though if you’d like, you can make a donation at the front to the temple. Once you’ve got your tickets, make your way to the tea room. There are several tables though not a ton; while we didn’t have a problem finding a seat on a weekday, I could see it getting quite busy on the weekends here. The tea room itself isn’t overly decorated, but the restaurant offered a very relaxing and peaceful vibe. The servers were kind, courteous, and helpful. They answered any questions that we had about items on the menu.
Not surprisingly, the entire menu is vegetarian with many of the items being vegan. There are only one or two food items (one sandwich and the desserts) that are not vegan. All of the noodle and soup dishes are vegan. The temple serves mock meat items in many of its dishes, including tofu and seitan. One popular item on the menu is the vegetarian Laksa – we tried to order it and it was already sold out. Thankfully, there were several meals that looked yummy. Justin ordered the cold noodle with sesame sauce, and I ordered the noodle with bean sauce dish. We shared a pot of the fresh fruit tea.
In keeping with the symmetrical nature of the building’s exterior, even our meals seemed to be artfully balanced. The fruit tea was strong and complex. We were given toothpicks so we eat the fruit from the bottom of the teapot once we were finished drinking it (the fruit was super concentrated from the tea and was really good). Be sure to ask for more hot water when you’re about halfway finished your tea as the servers will be pleased to top up your teapot. The noodle dishes themselves were simple, yet incredibly delicious. The cucumbers, noodles, and the bean sauce was warm and satisfying, while the tofu pieces of the cold sesame noodle dish were very addictive. The food was served really quickly, making this an ideal lunch stop for anyone with a limited amount of time on a work lunch break. It is worth the drive out to the Buddhist Temple for a healthy meal that is soothing for the soul.
Fo Guang Shan Buddhist Temple (Toronto Chapter) Tea House
6525 Millcreek Drive, Mississauga, Ontario, Canada
Hours: Tuesday – Sunday 11:00am-4:00pm, closed Monday