Roth Ventures Deep, Deep Into the Vegan Universe at Golden Era

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Golden Era Photo: Yelp

This week, Anna Roth goes where some of us might be reluctant — or just kind of scared — to go: the underground temple of vegan food that is Golden Era (572 O'Farrell Street) in the Tenderloin. As she explains, it's part of a network of restaurants run by the cult members followers of Supreme Master Ching Hai, which also includes the Loving Hut chain. She's delighted by an unconventional take on egg foo young, and the house rice claypot with "moist rice scented with coconut and ginger and ... a few strings of tofu for protein." But she's a little horrified by some of the fake meat and fish offerings, like the Truly Sea, which is seaweed-steamed tofu that "tasted like white fish steamed in a microwave." She also goes to Ananda Fuara, for comparison, which is vegetarian and was also founded by a guru of sorts, Sri Chinmoy. There she appreciates the "admirably moist" signature Neatloaf, the dal, and the veggie burger, but isn't so hot for the samosas. [SF Weekly]