Wednesday, October 22, 2014
Xuan Miao Vegan
Location: #01-78, Blk 79A Circuit Road Food Centre
Opening Hours: Tues-Sun 5.00pm-12.00am. Closed Monday.
板麵. The name ban mian translates to mean board/block noodle, the reason for the word 'board' stems back to the Hakka's method of cutting the noodle into straight strands using a wooden block as ruler.
Victor's Vegetarian, I am sure Xuan Miao would rank as the highest vegetarian achiever at 79A.
Hand Made Mee Hoon Kuey. This is a dish that is ideal for a rainy and cool day, the soup is comforting and mild. The thing that always scares me about Chinese soup noodles is the ridiculous amount of MSG and/or salt that is often used inside. At Xuan Miao I was pleasantly surprised that this wasn't the case. The kuey could have been thinner and more delicate, but overall this was a pretty satisfying dish. The soup may be a little on the bland side, especially if, like myself, you are more accustomed to stronger tasting food.
Price: $3.50. 7/10
Ban Mian Dry. I have to say, the portion size for this item was incredibly generous. For $4 one can expect a large soup of soup and a large bowl of noodles. In terms of the soup, it was identical to the mee hoon kuey dish - But it was the dry ban mian bowl that really won my heart. The flavours were very well balanced, and I especially loved the hint of sourness from vinegar inside. The mock ikan bilis on top added a great textural crunch, too.
Price: $4.00. 8/10
Conclusion - Nestled amongst stall after stall of criminally unhealthy (and mostly rubbish) vegetarian food, Xuan Miao does offer hope to 79A Circuit Road - The food is definitely the healthiest you can find in the area, and I was simultaneously surprised and impressed with the quality. I'm not really a soup noodles person, but even I could see myself returning to Xuan Miao.
Food - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 8/10
Friday, October 17, 2014
Location: #03-01, 62 Sungei Kadut Loop, International Furniture Centre
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-6.00pm
Curry Puff from Mummy Yummy was much better than I expected. A flavourful potato masala in the center, and an expertly fried crust.
Price: $1.00/pc. 7/10
Olive Fried Rice was one of their special dishes. I was pleased to see that no egg was added inside the the rice. The fried rice isn't going to win any awards, but good enough to fill the stomach.
Price: $1.00. 6/10
Char Siew Rice. This portion was quite small, and was literally just mock char siew and rice. I selected a couple of pieces of tofu on the side as well, for an additional $0.50. Once again this is a very simple meal, so there is not much I can say about it. But the char siew quality was very nice, not the horrid doughy kind that many hawkers use.
Price: $1.50 (additional 50c for tofu). 6/10
Conclusion - I could talk in greater detailed about the quality of the food at Mummy Yummy, but that is not what's important here. Mummy Yummy isn't pretending or trying to serve restaurant quality food, they are simply trying to help people who need the help, and as long as the food is vegetarian, I will be giving Mummy Yummy my full support. What Singapore also needs is a non-human version of Mummy Yummy, for the countless stray/wild animals in Singapore, who are not only struggling to find food, but are being brutally murdered by
Food - 6/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 10/10
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
Pun Pun Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: Suthep Road (opposite Chiang Mai University)
Opening Hours: Daily 10.00am-9.00pm
Wat Suan Dok temple and one at Suthep Road (at the Base of Doi Suthep). The latter is the original masters restaurant, while the former is managed by his apprentice.
Deep Fried Herbal Spring Roll with Tamarind Sauce. The spring rolls were nice and crispy, but I couldn't really detect what herbal flavour they had - They more closely resembled the generic style of spring roll. The advantage that Pun Pun has, however, is their ability to use fresh and vibrant produce, which was used inside the roll. The tamarind sauce was quite flat and forgettable though.
Price: 60B. 6/10
Salad Dok mai. Long time readers of my site will know that craving salad (or anything green) seldom goes through my mind - Therefore, for a dish like this to 'wow' me, means that it is very special.
Price: 70B. 10/10
Homemade Tofu Steak with Coconut Milk & Black Pepper Sauce. Once again the presentation of this dish was faultless, with four triangular tofu slabs literally drowned in a mild coconut based sauce. For some the sauce could probably have done with an extra kick. But there is no doubting the quality of the tofu, which was perfectly charred prior to being plated.
Price: 80B. 7/10
Homemade Fermented Mushroom Sausage. This is a dish that I think will divide people down the middle, you are either going to love this or hate it. If you're not used to (or don't like) strong tasting pungent items, then you will detest this dish. If you are someone like myself, who loves items like petai, Japanese natto, 臭豆腐 etc then you should enjoy this. The shredded fermented mushroom has a really overwhelming taste, which almost resembles raw garlic. When matched with the lime, cashew nuts, ginger and raw red onion and green chilli it really becomes something quite delicious though. This is an acquired taste, that can very quickly become addictive. I loved it, but order with caution.
Price: 60B. 8/10
Price: 60B. 10/10
Conclusion - Pun Pun wisely utilizes the one key advantage Thailand has over other countries - Fresh ingredients. The dishes are presented in a quite stunning fashion, and taste just as good as they look. Truly one of the best vegetarian eateries I have ever had the privilege of frequenting. If you're in Chiang Mai (or Thailand for that matter) you would be insane not to visit Pun Pun.
Food - 9/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 9/10
Friday, October 10, 2014
San De Green Vegetarian
Location: #B1-17/22, Yew Tee Point 21
Opening Hours: Daily 6.30am-9.00pm.
Blk 406A Sembawang Road
Blk 747 Yishun St 72, #01-108
Blk 256 Yishun Ring Rd, #01-1005
Lotus Root Soup. Many will remember my shining review of the double boiled soup at Onn Vegetarian. Does this soup come close to beating Onn? No where near. The soup at Onn is so good it ranks as an almost spiritual experience for me. Having said that, the soup at this stall is definitely worth of trying. The flavour of the soup (while not as fragrant nor powerful as Onn) was still good enough, and the ingredients inside all made for a delicious soup flavour.
Price: $3.20. 7/10
Dong Gua Soup. Dong Gua (冬瓜) goes by the English name wax gourd. The wax gourd was cooked well. Also lurking in the soup was red dates, goji berry and mushroom stem. The mushroom stem, when cooked in the soup chamber for a long period, begins to break apart, which ultimately thickens the soup quite nicely. Not only that, but the mushroom acts as a nice substitute to meat. I wasn't a big fan of the red dates, as they were still tough and hard - Unlike the red dates at Onn, which literally melt in the mouth.
Price: $3.20. 7/10
Economic Brown Rice & Dishes from this stall are also quite impressive. They use a more sophisticated heating system beneath the dishes, which allows the food to stay warmer and fresher for longer. The pumpkin was a little tasteless, but I enjoyed the flavour of the eggplant, which was also cooked ideally, so that the texture was nice and creamy.
Price: $3.70. 7/10
Economic Brown Rice & Dishes, once again the dishes are cooked well (nothing exceptional, but good enough) and made for a satisfying meal.
Price: $3.70. 7/10
Conclusion - Mdm Lim has built up an enterprise of vegetarian eateries, and I must say that I am suitably impressed with the offerings at San De. Brown rice and dishes along with a soup on the side really makes more a delicious and healthy meal. I will be moving to the West of Singapore soon myself, and this is certainly a stall that may become one of my regulars.
Food - 7/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 7/10
Monday, October 6, 2014
Location: C-3-1, Lorong Bayan Indah 3, Bay Avenue (next to Eastin Hotel)
Opening Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 11.30am-10.00pm. Closed Monday.
Papaya with Passion Fruit Flower. The thinly sliced preserved papaya had a nice crunchy texture, and a slightly citrusy sour taste. Passionfruit pulp was smeared over the papaya, which heightened the flavour of this simple snack even more.
Price: RM3.90. 7/10
Special Sauce Beancurd. I have to say that this sauce was anything but special. It was bland and lifeless, with typical (cheap) trite vegetables diced and added to it. Popping out of the sauce were two doughy sphere-shaped balls. These balls offered little in terms of taste, and I didn't particularly like the texture either. The portion size here was really small, especially so considering the exorbitant price tag.
Price: RM17.90. 4/10
Toon Leaf Potato. The word 'toon' in this dish refers to xiang chun 香椿, which is a leaf from the Toona sinensis tree. This leaf is a common ingredient in Chinese cooking, and one of my particular favourites. Unfortunately, for this dish the xiang chun was very weak, and didn't really add anything to the dish. The rest of the dish was very basic, with potatoes, corn, carrots and mushroom all swimming in the starchy (mostly flavourless sauce). Not an very impressive dish, made all the more infuriating due to the almost laughable price tag.
Price: RM16.90. 3/10
Conclusion - Out of all the vegetarian restaurants I visited in Penang, I must say that Journey2Life ranked as the most overrated. For the price, the dishes were inexplicably average - The sauces in particular need significant improvement. The Journey2Life chef needs to go on a Journey2Culinary School, based on the efforts that I sampled. Not somewhere I would consider visiting again.
Food - 4/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 2/10