The family behind Su Xing House, the long-running vegetarian Chinese restaurant on Sansom Street in Center City, just opened another meat-free Chinese eatery. Unit Su Vege is in its first week at 2000 Hamilton Street, right by the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the city’s flagship Whole Foods. The new restaurant is also kosher, with several vegan and gluten-free options.
“In our culture, we only have vegetarian — there’s no distinction between vegetarian and vegan, we didn’t know much about gluten-free. But we wanted to offer options, so we learned how to make them,” says Bing Wu, the daughter of Yi Wu and Nancy Lin and sister to Sam Wu, all involved in the restaurant.
When Nancy Lin and Yi Wu came to the U.S. from Fujian, China, 20 years ago, they started running Chinese takeout spots. But Lin is vegetarian and wanted to open a vegetarian restaurant. “My father has always been interested in different cuisines, so when my mom wanted to do a vegetarian restaurant, he started to study vegetarian Chinese food — he read cookbooks, he tried everything out,” Bing Wu says.
Twelve years ago, the parents opened Su Xing House. They sold it to a friend in 2018, not long before Sam Wu, who had been living in Florida, came back to Philly and decided he wanted to run a restaurant. So Yi Wu postponed his retirement plans to help his son open Unit Su Vege.
The Art Museum restaurant, which seats around 65, serves familiar Chinese-American dishes made veggie, like General Tso’s seitan and duck-free Peking duck. Taro shows up on a few plates, including the Golden Feather Knishes: dough stuffed with taro and deep-fried in a sweet and sour sauce.
Instead of alcohol at this BYOB, the menu has a list of juices, teas, milk teas available hot or cold, milkshakes, smoothies, and vegan slushes. There are vegan ice creams on the dessert list, along with sesame tangyuan with ground peanut and water chestnut cake.
Unit Su Vege’s hours are weekdays from 11 a.m to 10:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 10 p.m.