Wednesday, November 03, 2004

Thien Quang Temple’s Vegetarian Restaurant

A friend suggested I post my more interesting NW Dharma News articles. This will be in the December issue, a little something to chase away the doldrums:

You won’t yet find this restaurant in citysearch, nor even in the yellow pages, but you will want to find this place. Urged by my hostess in limited English to tell my friends to come eat there, I’m not sure she understood I wanted to write about her, and about Nha Hang Van Hanh Vegetarian Restaurant at SE Division and 84th in Portland.

She’s a Buddhist nun serving the best mock chicken, spring rolls, and vegetarian steamed buns I’ve ever eaten. It’s small, brightly lit, and homey. We arrived late, about twenty minutes before closing at 9 pm, and we learned that often they will close early if there are no customers. She gave me the business card of her “American friend” so I could find out more information.

Colin D was able to tell me that Nha Hang Van Hanh Restaurant does indeed exist to raise money for the Thien Quang Buddhist Temple at 6315 SE 82nd. Funds raised beyond temple operations go toward funds for a larger temple. Renowned Vietnamese teacher Thich Nhat Hahn is the senior monk of this lineage, Thien Buddhism. A member of the temple, Colin said, “The basis of the practice is compassion. There are Chanting, meditation and Dharma talks also.”

The resident monk and teacher, Thich Huong Hue, has resided in Portland for 22 years. My friends who alerted me to the restaurant claim he was repairing the roof when they visited it. The hostess I met was the resident nun, Thich Nhat Thu, also known as Ko Thu. Most of the staff are volunteers (including Colin), and Ko Thu works very long days, 6-7 days a week. The restaurant opened in May 2004.

Closed on Mondays, open Tuesdays-Saturdays 10-9, Sundays 11:30-9. 8446 SE Division, 503-788-0825

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