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Friday, April 29, 2016

Top 10 Vegetarian Eateries in Penang

South-East Asia is one of the best places in the world to be on a vegetarian and vegan diet.  The island of Penang, which is located on the West side of the Malaysian mainland is one of the best meat-free hubs in Asia, in this humble bloggers opinion.

I have been on eating tours to Penang numerous times now, and have eaten at (reviewed) almost everywhere on the island.  Historically, I ate at a staggering 12 eateries in one day, over a nine hour session, with my good friend Samuel.
At the beginning of our mammoth nine hour eating tour of Penang, visiting a total of 12 vegetarian eateries in one day (2014).

 Below is my unbiased opinion on where you can find the TOP 10 vegetarian/vegan eats on the island of Penang.  If you follow this list, I guarantee that you will have an amazing eating experience on the island!

Penang Food Quest Addition Goodies!
1.  A place that is not on this list, but one you MUST visit is the famous Penang Road Teochew Chendol - You can see my review of this amazing place HERE.
2.  Penang doesn't have such a strong coffee shop/hawker culture that Singapore, for instance, has.  However, I strongly recommend you check out a famous vegetarian wantan mee stall (selling Ipoh style wanton mee) at Batu Lanchang Food Court.  It is a bit far outside the main tourist area, but it is well worth the visit.  You can see my review of it HERE.
3.  All the reviews below are specifically on Penang island, but if you are on mainland Penang, then I recommend eating at Aik Choong Vegetarian Restaurant (that was the best place I ate on the mainland - If you like soup, their 'tu ping zhen' soup is astonishing!) - Review is HERE.


10th Friend of Vegetarian
Wantan Mee (RM3.00)
If you are a lover of hawker centres and food courts, then Penang will disappoint you.  This culture (style of eating) is seldom encountered on the island, especially in terms of finding vegetarian stalls.  One little stall, however, is Friend of Vegetarian which I found to be serving excellent noodles (particularly their wantan mee).  It is located outside the tourist zone, in Jelutong district and closes at 1pm.  It will take some dedication to get there, but the rewards are worth it!

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
6/10

Friend of Vegetarian
Location: Heng Leong Cafe, 310-G-4 Perak Road, Jelutong, Penang
Contact: 016-481 8581
Opening Hours: Daily 8.00am-1.00pm.  Monday Closed. 


9th Zen Xin Vegetarian
Kung Dao Eggplant (RM9.00)
If I'm honest, I found Zen Xin a bit of a hit and miss when it came to their food.  But there is no doubting they have some pretty excellent dishes on their menu - My personal favourite being the baked nyonya oat fish, what a spectacle it is opening that parcel (see in 'full review' below).  The restaurant has a pretty large menu, but the prices are a little on the high side (by Penang standards).  Still definitely a place worth visiting in Penang.

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
6/10

Zen Xin Vegetarian
Location: 42 Jalan Nagore, Penang
Contact: 04-2286828
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-2.30pm & 5.15pm-9.30pm  Monday Closed 
 

8th JanxDen Greenlife Cafe
Nasi Lemak (RM8.90)
Although located in Georgetown, this place is a bit of a walk to get to (and not easy to find at that).  The menu at this restaurant is really a mixture.  With local, Chinese, Vietnamese and Western food all available to order.  My personal favourite is the nasi lemak, which has a really outstanding tofu chilli sauce and mock fish.  Janxden have a second outlet located at the new All Season Place (Farlim), but most visitors/tourists go to the Georgetown outlet, as Farlim is quite out of the way for most.

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
7/10

JanxDen Greenlife Cafe
Location: 21 Jalan Chow Thye, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: 604-2268414
Opening Hours: Mon-Tue & Fri-Sun 12.00pm-3.00pm & 6.00pm-9.00pm.  Wednesday 12.00pm-3.00pm
 

7th Happy Realm Vegetarian Food Centre
Char Kway Teow (RM3.50)
If you're looking for something with a slightly more traditional and authentic Penang feel to it, then I highly recommend Happy Realm.  Despite Penang being arguably the most famous place on the planet to eat char kway teow, I really struggled to find a good vegetarian version of it.  Just as I was about to give up, I stumbled upon Happy Realm, tried their char kway teow and the rest was history.  This is indeed the best char kway teow in Penang (in my opinion), but they have a large menu full of other Chinese dishes - Excellent place!

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
7/10

Happy Realm Vegetarian Food Centre
Location: 223-B Jalan Burma, Penang
Contact: +6-016-487-4323
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-2pm & 5pm-9pm


6th The Leaf Healthy House
Spaghetti Basil Leaf and Pine Nut Sauce (RM8.90)
Ok I admit it, I am not exactly a health fanatic when it comes to food.  My priority is taste, not health.  Generally, I avoid hospital food style health eateries like the plague, but one exception I frequently made in Penang was at The Leaf.  While the food was healthy, it was also full of flavour and highly enjoyable (even for me!), it is kind of like the Genesis Restaurant of Penang.  What is more amazing is, behind the restaurant they have a garden, where they pluck the vegetables and herbs used in their cooking - I love that concept!

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
7/10

The Leaf Healthy House
Location: No.5 Lebuh Penang, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: 016-4239453
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am-3.00pm & 5.30pm-9.00pm.  Closed Sunday.

 
5th Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts
My first (of many) plates during the buffet meal!
Indian food is not found in such wonderful abundance, as compared with Singapore.  But there are still a handful of good Indian restuarants found in Penang.  My particular favourite has to be Annalakshmi (which has numerous centres globally).  The concept of this restaurant is a choice of both a la carte and buffet style, but most importantly, you pay as much or as little as you want.  There is no bill, you simply place money in a 'donation box' at the front of the restaurant as you leave.  The food is an incredible fireworks display of flavours and colours, I love it!

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
8/10

Annalakshmi Temple of Fine Arts
Location: 1 Babington Avenue, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)2288575
Opening Hours: Buffet - Wednesday & Saturday starting at 6:00pm


4th Ee Beng Vegetarian
Economic Rice and Dishes (RM3.50)
In 2014, I received some terrible news that the main Ee Beng Restaurant was to close down, I even visited them on their final day of business.  Their main restaurant served some of the best vegetarian Western food I have tried.  Fast-forward a few years and their smaller (primarily take away) shop house still exists and is immensely popular with locals and tourists alike.  They serve the classic economic rice and dishes (Penang does this so much better than Singapore), along with noodle and rice dishes that can be made to order.  This was my regular breakfast spot when living in Penang.

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
8/10

Ee Beng Vegetarian Food Hawker
Location: 20 Lebuh Dickens, Georgetown, Penang

Contact: (04)2629161

Opening Hours: 6.30am-9.30pm. Closed on Sunday


3rd Luk Yea Yan Vegetarian Restaurant
Assam Laksa (RM5.50)
Luk Yea Yan may well be the most famous vegetarian eatery in Penang.  It has such a feverish reputation mainly due to the assam laksa that it serves.  For those who don't know, assam laksa is the signature dish of Penang.  The laksa here definitely lives up to the hype, it is really outstanding.  But the fun does not stop there - The menu is full of other brilliant Chinese dishes - I particularly love the satay.  But it is the laksa that steals the show - If you're in Penang and don't try the laksa from Luk Yea Yan, then shame on you!

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
9/10

Luk Yea Yan Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: No.33 Lorong Madras, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)2281148
Opening Hours: Daily 7.30am-3.00pm, 5.30pm-9.30pm.  Closed Wednesday.


2nd Cheng Sim Vegetarian Restaurant
The best Assam Laksa I have ever eaten (RM4.00)
I just finished saying how amazing the assam laksa was at Luk Yea Yan, but now let me say this - The Cheng Sim assam laksa is THE best in Penang.  It narrowly edges out the Luk Yea Yan laksa mainly due to the thick powdery consistency of the soup, and the overall punch of flavour that it has.  It is truly one of the best dishes I have ever eaten (globally!).  But Cheng Sim is not a one trick pony, it also has the best assortment of economic rice and dishes that I have seen.  The options and quality is simply outstanding.  The only drawback is that Cheng Sim is located outside of Georgetown (in Jalan Trengganu area), so it may be a little inconvenient to get there, but please please go, you won't regret it.

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
10/10
 
Cheng Sim Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: No. 69E, Jalan Trengganu, Penang
Contact: 04-283 2615/016-452 4163
Opening Hours: Daily 7.30am-8.30pm.  Tuesday 7.30am-4.00pm


1st Sushi Kitchen
Happy Spicy Noodle (RM6.80)
 Sushi Kitchen is such an amazing eatery it is difficult to fully articulate how special it is.  Firstly, it is an eatery which does not use any MSG or artificial flavouring, and it does not even use microwaves.  The food is healthy, but most importantly tastes incredible!  My favourite dish was the Happy Spicy Noodle, which is easily of the best dishes I have ever eaten.  They serve primarily Japanese food, but the menu has an eclectic mix of many cuisines.  Their main branch is in Sungei Ara (see full address here).  But most tourists visit their Georgetown branch.  If this doesn't blow your mind enough, in 2015 the owners opened a vegan dessert shop called Cloud Dreaming Vegan Cake House, which is located on the ground floor of their Sungei Ara outlet.  

Full Review

Penang Veg Score
10/10

Sushi Kitchen
Location: 12 Gat Lebuh Acheh, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: +6-017-402-8103
Opening Hours: Tue-Fri 11.30am-9.30pm.  Sat-Sun 11.30am-2.30pm & 6.00pm-10.00pm Closed on Monday

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Top 10 Indian Vegetarian Food in Singapore

For those who have been following my blog for long enough, you will know that Indian food has a very special place in my heart.  I sincerely believe that in terms of diversity, flavour and creativity - No cuisine can match Indian food, especially when it comes to vegetarian food.  India has such a long history of vegetarianism (thank you Hinduism) and such an overwhelming number of Indians are vegetarian (between 40-50%) - It is these two factors that give their cuisine such an abundance and diversity.

We are lucky that Indian food is so strongly represented here in Singapore, so let us go through the list of where you can find the very best Indian cuisine in Singapore:-

Indian Cuisine Rule Book
1.  If you're going to an Indian restaurant, don't order silly things like 'Chinese fried rice' or 'roti prata'.  Allow yourself the opportunity to learn and try something unfamiliar.
2.  If you look at a menu and see unfamiliar items, ask the waiter (however, see 4) or simply just order.
3.  In terms of geographical location, almost all of these eateries are within walking distance of each other (Farrer Park/Little India area), so they are all clustered together in one place.
4.  Indian waiters have quite a hilarious behavior of seemingly randomly saying 'yes' and 'no' to advanced questions about the food at the restaurant.  I actually used to do this for fun, I would pick a menu item which I know is definitely not vegan (eg lassi, palak paneer) and ask them if it is vegan, often they would just simply say 'yes'.  This can be potentially dangerous if you have allergies or other dietary restrictions. 
5.  If you intend to go to Little India on weekends (or public holidays), expect literally all hell to break loose on the streets.  Many Indian/Bangladeshi foreign workers gather in Little India on weekends to do their two seemingly favourite hobbies of sitting in the middle of grass fields and drinking.  It will be 'less intimidating' to go on a weekday.
6.  If you truly want to enjoy and appreciate Indian food use only your right hand to consume the food - No utensils! 

10th Swaad Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
Swaad Fixed Thali ($7.00)
 We often divide Indian food simply into 'north' and 'south', but when one explores the cuisine in greater detail, it will become apparent that things are not that simple.  Each region, each city, each village have their own unique culinary quirks.  Swaad's food represents the state of Gujarat, which has the highest percentage of vegetarians in all of Indian.  There was even a Gujarati city which recently banned meat entirely.  Although specializing in numerous Gujarati specialties, this restaurant has dishes from all over Indian on offer.

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
6/10
FULL REVIEW

Swaad Pure Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 70 Deskar Road
Contact: 82856865
Opening Hours:
Daily 11am-3pm, 4pm-10pm


9th Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant
Gopal's Signature Buffet ($11.90/pax)
If you're looking to escape the lunacy of Little India, then Gopal's is located away from the main stretch, and is generally pretty quiet most the time.  They have both an a la carte menu and a buffet.  It is the buffet I often choose, which is pretty good value for money.  The staff are incredible friendly and knowledgeable, and it is one of the few eateries on this list not using onion and garlic in their cooking.

Onion/Garlic?
No
 Indian awesomeness
6/10
FULL REVIEW

Gopal's Vegetarian Restaurant
Location:
517 Serangoon Rd
Contact:
98533353
Opening Hours:
Mon - Sun, 6pm to late (call ahead as times are unpredictable)


8th Balaji Bhawan Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
Raj Kachori ($5.50)
Balaji Bhawan is located along the famous Syed Alwi Road (home of Mustafa shopping centre and countless famous restaurants).  Having first opened in March 2011, Balaji has a wide variety of menu items, served in the 'Indian fast food' style of serving, similar to Ananda Bhavan etc.  If you're a lover of chaats, then I highly recommend their raj kachori.

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
7/10
FULL REVIEW

Balaji Bhawan Indian Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 114 Syed Alwi Road
Contact: 63417797
Opening Hours: Daily, 10am - 12am


7th Raj Prime Vegetarian Restaurant
Daal Pakora ($2.40)
Originating from Calcutta, the Raj brand has been successfully running in Singapore quite a while now.  They even opened a Western-Indian vegetarian fusion restaurant called Cafe Salivation.  The original Raj restaurant has a number of unique dishes.  But my personal favourite is the daal pakora snack item.

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
7/10
FULL REVIEW

Raj Prime Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 76 Syed Alwi Road
Contact: 62971716
Opening Hours: Sun-Thur 11am-10:30pm. Fri-Sat 11am-11pm.


6th Kailash Parbat
Sabz Kheema Matar ($9.50)
 Established in 1952, Kailash Parbat is one of the big players in high-end vegetarian dining in Singapore.  Kailash Parbat had humble beginnings, with the original founders beginning their business simply selling pani puri on the roadside in Karachi.  In 60 years, it has since expanded into 18 restaurants, including one in UK, USA and Singapore.  It is an eatery known historically for its chaat items, but you can find a whole host of excellent and diverse Indian dishes on their menu.  However, it is their Punjabi food which they take most pride in.

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
7/10
FULL REVIEW

Kailash Parbat Restaurant
Location: 3 Belilios Road
Contact:
68365545
Opening Hours: Mon - Fri,
11:30am-3:30pm, 6:30pm-10:30pm


5th Mavalli Tiffin Room
Bisibele Bhath ($5.00)
 MTR's reputation speaks for itself.  Since opening their first branch in Singapore back in 2013, MTR has received quite a large amount of praise.  It is currently (as of writing this) ranked 5th on Trip Advisor's best eateries in Singapore, which is the highest for any vegetarian eatery on the island.  The brand first began in Bangalore, India in 1924 and over 80 years expanded into one of the most well known brands in India.  The brand was reportedly sold in 2007 for a whooping $80 million.  Their signatures are dosai with incredible quality ghee, I also adore their khara bhath and bisibele bhath.

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
9/10
FULL REVIEW
HERE 

Mavalli Tiffin Room
Location: 438 Serangoon Road
Contact: 62965800

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 8am-11.30am, 12pm-3pm, 5pm-9pm.  Closed Monday


4th Sri Rajya Lakshmi Naarasimhan Vegetarian
Andhra Meal ($10.40)
 This restaurant, whose name is so long I don't even want to type again, specializes in typical South Indian cuisine, but more centered around the Andhra region - You can find the signature Andhra 'gunpowder' (more commonly known as kandi podi or karve pakku podi) in many of their dishes, which adds an amazing kick to the food.  The Andhra thali and spicy dosai are my personal favourites, they are both simply astonishing.  I love the spiciness and perfect texture of their dosai, and their thali is an Indian carnival on a plate.  They serve amazing chapati, too.

Onion/Garlic?
No (except 'Andhra' dishes)
 Indian awesomeness
9/10
FULL REVIEW
HERE 

Sri Rajya Lakshmi Narasimhan Vegetarian
Location: 436 Serangoon Road
Contact: 90516326
Opening Hours: Daily 8.00am-3.00pm & 6.00pm-10.00pm.  Closed Wednesday


3rd Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant
Bhattura ($4.20)
Say the words 'Indian food' to anyone on the streets of Singapore and the first eatery that will always pop into their heads is Komala Vilas.  Komala Vilas is now officially the oldest (still existing) vegetarian eatery in all of Singapore, having first opened their doors in 1947.  Since opening the original outlet on Serangoon Road, there have been two others open (on Buffalo Road and Race Course Road) - All three are often packed!  South Indian food is the signature of Komala's, and I highly recommend their bhattura (the picture doesn't accurately articulate how huge this thing is), South Indian thali meal and dosai - Their medhu vadai makes for a good starter also.  

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
9/10
FULL REVIEW
HERE 

Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 76 Serangoon Road (original outlet)
Contact: 62943294
Opening Hours:
Mon–Sun: 7am – 10.30pm


2nd Murugan Idli Shop
Masala Dosai ($4.70)
Murugan was first conceptualized 45 years ago (then under the name Murugan Coffee Nilayam) in Mandurai, India selling coffee and snacks.  Subsequently, 20 years later the owners son S. Manoharan took over the business (in 1991) and expanded.  They now have 15 outlets in Chennai alone.  Another three in Mandurai, one in Vellore and three in Singapore.  In my humble opinion, this eatery is home to the greatest dosai I have ever eaten.  The dosai batter has the ideal texture, with small bubbles from the extra fermentation.  The masala has the texture of mashed potatoes, but the most divine intense mashed potatoes one could ever hope to eat.  Needless to say, their idli is also top notch (if you're non-vegan I recommend the ghee podi idli).  One of the most delicious Indian experiences you will likely find in Singapore.

Onion/Garlic?
Yes
 Indian awesomeness
10/10
FULL REVIEW

Murugan Idli Shop
Location: 81 Syed Alwi Road
Contact: 62980858
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am - 11.00pm


1st Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant
Claypot Fish Curry ($10.00)
For those who have followed my blog over the years, it probably won't surprise you which eatery is coming 1st.  I often get a little annoyed when people categorized Gokul as simply 'Indian food' - This immense restaurant has over 500 dishes, ranging from Malay food to local food.  With that being said, Gokul is still home to some of the most incredible Indian food.  What is more incredible is, all these dishes are made without onion and garlic, which are typical two vital ingredients in Indian cooking.  Gokul may not be the most authentic Indian experience, for example, many of their dishes contain mock meat, which doesn't exist in traditional Indian food.  However, the food is just simply astonishing.  I don't even need to recommend specific dishes, because I haven't eaten anything at Gokul that wasn't great.  I have seen Gokul improve and grow since the first time I visited them back in 2007, and it has remained my favourite restaurant in Singapore for almost 10 years now.

Onion/Garlic?
No
 Indian awesomeness
10/10
FULL REVIEW

Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 19 Upper Dickson Road
Contact: 63967769
Opening Hours: Daily 8.00am-10.30pm.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Top 10 Vegetarian Breakfasts in Singapore

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day - If you believe in that saying, then this will be the ultimate vegetarian guide for your time in Singapore.  The little red dot is home to some of the best vegetarian food in the world, but often foreigners struggle to comprehend/adapt to what the locals are eating for breakfast.  Therefore, this post aims to explore some of the best vegetarian breakfast options that one can find in Singapore, whether you are a local or a foreigner.  Let's go!

10th Gan Lao Mian 干捞面 - Rong Yuan Vegetarian (Woodlands)

Woodlands residents, I feel your pain, I really do.  The large area of Woodlands has long been known as vegetarian hell, with very little options available.  For breakfast, though, you have one pretty solid option in the form of Rong Yuan's stunning dry noodle.  Dry noodle (in Chinese 干捞面) is not too dissimilar to wanton mee, but instead of wanton it is typically served with zai er and other ingredients.  Definitely a great breakfast choice!

Cost:
$2.50

Best Breakfast Score:
8/10

Rong Yuan Vegetarian
Location: #01-07, Blk 371A, Woodlands Avenue 1

Contact: 98254782
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 7.00am-7.00pm.  Weekends 7.00am-3.00pm
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE


9th Idli - Murugan Idli Shop (Farrer Park)

Indian cuisine has a number of excellent breakfast items.  While idli can be eaten any time of the day, I believe it is a perfect breakfast treat.  It is not as heavy and packed with flavour like most Indian food, and is actually healthy.  Yes, an Indian dish that is actually healthy!  Murugan is famous for their idli, and it comes accompanied with some mouth-watering chutneys.

Cost:
$1.75/pc

Best Breakfast Score:
8/10
Murugan Idli Shop
Location: 81 Syed Alwi Road
Contact: 62980858
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am - 11.00pm
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE 


8th Roti Prata - Merit Vegetarian (Jurong West)

In my opinion, roti prata is the ultimate Singapore breakfast item.  I remember when I first came to Singapore eight years ago, I used to eat two kosong (plain) and one egg prata every single day for breakfast.  Thankfully for the sake of my arteries, I managed to get out of that destructive routine.  But, every once in a while I will get that craving for prata again, and Merit Vegetarian, in my opinion, serves up the best prata in Singapore.

Cost:
$1.00/pc

Best Breakfast Score:
9/10
Merit Vegetarian 
Location: #01-149, Blk 491 Jurong West Avenue 1

Contact: 90233672
Opening Hours: Daily 8.00am-9.00pm
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE 


7th Nasi Biryani - Tanaka Vegetarian (Fajar)

Let me just say this right off the bat, if this dish was part of their regular menu, it would easily make it to the number one spot.  Unfortunately, the culinary genius behind Tanaka (Mr Goh) only serves this dish once every few months, but trust me when I say it is absolutely amazing.  Most probably, the best hawker dish I have ever eaten in Singapore.  For updates on when it is available, you can follow their Facebook page.  Every time I eat this masterpiece I am speechless.

Cost:
$4.00

Best Breakfast Score:
10/10
Tanaka Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 445, Fajar Road, Fajar Shopping Centre

Contact: None
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 6.00am-8.30pm.  Monday 6.00am-1.00pm
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE 


6th Masala Dosai - Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant (Little India)

Dosai may well be the most famous South Indian food and for good reason.  At Komala Vilas, you can get several varieties of dosai, and also a dosai set meal (if you have a larger appetite).  Komala Vilas have three branches in total, all within walking distance of each other.  The dosai is crispy and salty, and filled with extraordinarily flavourful dry potato masala.  An assault to the senses is the best possible way to describe this magnificent meal.

Cost:
$3.50

Best Breakfast Score:
9/10
 Komala Vilas Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 12 Buffalo Road
Contact:
62933664
Opening Hours:
Mon–Sun: 7am – 10.30pm 
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE


5th Mee Pok - Delicious Vegetarian Food (Serangoon)

Serangoon often gets a bad rap for not having enough vegetarian food, and I would agree wholeheartedly if you're looking to have dinner there.  But if you want breakfast or lunch, there are several famous (half day) vegetarian stalls in that area.  Delicious Vegetarian is located at the synonymous Serangoon Gardens Hawker Centre, and has an incredible mee pok (their lor mee is excellent too).  The auntie working there is quite a formidable figure, but your reward for conquering her death stare is some pretty sensational dishes. 

Cost:
$2.50

Best Breakfast Score:
8/10
Delicious Vegetarian Food
Location: 49A Serangoon Gardens Way, #01-06
Contact: 62852989
Opening Hours: Daily 7.00am-2.30pm.
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE 

4th Lor Mee - Miao Shan Vegetarian (Serangoon)

Serangoon once again, this time closer to the MRT and NEX Shopping Centre.  Once again, this is another stall that is only open half day.  Their menu changes daily, ranging from a number of local specialties.  This place used to be my regular haunt, and almost everything I tried is well above average.  The auntie and uncle running this stall are such sweethearts, too.  Their lor mee is thick, packed with flavour and very addictive. 

Cost:
$2.50

Best Breakfast Score:
9/10
Miao Shan Vegetarian
Location: Blk 262 Serangoon Central Drive,
#01-89 (L.A KOPI coffee shop)
Contact: None
Opening Hours: Daily 6.00am-1.30pm
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE 


3rd Kway Chap - Tian Yi Vegetarian (Ang Mo Kio)

Ang Mo Kio has a ton of vegetarian options, most of which are pretty lousy quality in my opinion.  The clear standout in AMK is Tian Yi, which has been serving their famous kway chap for decades at the Cheng San hawker centre now.  I must honestly say 9 out of 10 times vegetarian kway chap is so inferior to the real thing, it is not even funny.  But at Tian Yi, you are going to get the best possible version of kway chap in vegetarian form (and there is a constant long queue to prove it).  The kway is soft and delicate, and their plate of assorted goodies are outstanding, I particularly love their mei cai. 

 Cost:
$2.50

Best Breakfast Score:
9/10

 Tian Yi Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 527 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, #01-143
Contact: 96163119
Opening Hours: Wed-Sun 6am–1pm. Closed Monday & Tuesday.
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE


2nd Chicken Rice - Li Wei Vegetarian (Serangoon)
Over the many years Li Wei has been successfully running in Singapore, it has built up a reputation for two things - Firstly, having the best vegetarian chicken rice in Singapore.  Secondly, having some of the most formidable aunties that one would ever want to encounter.  Yes, it is true, the service here - to put it mildly - takes some getting used to.  But, the chicken rice is worth it.  You can choose either fried chicken rice or steamed chicken rice (just like the real thing!), both of which are incredible.  Get there fast, cause they are known to sell out quickly.
Cost:
$3.50

Best Breakfast Score:
9/10

Li Wei Vegetarian
Location: Blk 151 Serangoon North Ave 1 #01-41
Contact:
97864741
Opening Hours: 8am - 8pm. Except Thursday which they're only open until 12pm.

FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE 


1st Bee Hoon - Ru Yi Yuan Vegetarian (Redhill)

I can think of literally nothing better than a plate of this glorious white fluffy bee hoon and a hot glass of teh-o for breakfast.  That to me is breakfast nirvana in Singapore.  I suggest reaching this stall early to avoid the long daily queue that customers are often faced with.  Although a little on the oily side, this is an incredible plate of food with several varieties of beancurd and vegetables, but it is the smokey white been hoon that really brings this to another level.  Ruyi Yuan have a few outlets, but you must go to the Redhill location (see below), which is where the original auntie is still plying her trade.

Cost:
$3.00

Best Breakfast Score:
10/10

Ruyi Yuan Vegetarian
Location: Stall 4, Blk 80 Redhill Lane

Contact: 97124621
Opening Hour: Daily 5.30am-12.00pm.  Off on alternate Mondays.
FULL REVIEW CLICK HERE

Sunday, January 10, 2016

Genesis Vegan Restaurant - Farrer Park

In the many years of covering the vegetarian/vegan scene in Singapore, I've come across countless vegetarian eateries that have opened and shortly failed, and only a few that have truly flourished.  Genesis Vegan Restaurant is indeed one of those few meatless eateries which have thrived in Singapore, remembered most fondly from their Clarke Quay location, which was consistently packed to the brim every lunch time, with a loyal fan-base of primarily office workers, who frequented that area.  A few months back, the landlord of their old location decided to claim back the shop-house, and they have now moved to their new location, which is near to Farrer Park MRT.


 




Genesis Vegan Restaurant
Location: 115 Owen Road

Contact: 64387118
Opening Hours: Mon-Thur & Sun 9.30am-9pm, Friday 9.30am-3pm. Closed Saturday.

 
I must say, their new location is incredibly isolated.  By isolated, I mean it makes Tuas look like Orchard Road.  It is on a small side street, which is primarily used almost as a mini industrial area, with a lot of abandoned buildings and car workshops.
One thing I loved from Genesis is their Mint Tea.  If I were to describe it in one word it would be intense.  They use a dried fresh organic mint leaf from Japan, which has a very strong full bodied mint flavour.  Upon drinking, you will immediately feel that almost overwhelming cooling mint flavour travel down your throat.  I love it.  They also sell large packets of this mint tea for $20.

Price: $3.00.     7/10
Genesis have built up a big following for their Chinese New Year goodies, I was at the shop during this particular period and watched the staff in the process of packing them.  Needless to say, all the cookies (and everything at Genesis) is vegan, so a great option for those who don't take eggs and dairy.
I was first served a plate of samples of some of the snack dishes at Genesis.  On the left we have the Yuba Roll and on the right we have the Dumplings.  I thought the dumplings were cooked well overall and I really enjoyed the filling inside.  Same can be said about the yuba roll, which had a nice crisp outer skin, with a generous amount of green vegetables in the middle.  However, it was the red capsicum dipping sauce (which accompanies both these dishes) that won my heart the most, I think I could literally drink that sauce.

*half portions of each are pictured.

Price: Yuba Roll $5.50.     7/10
Dumplings $6.00.     7/10


One of the more Chinese orientated dishes at Genesis is their Fish Head Vermicelli.  Unlike most vegetarian eateries, Genesis actually go to the effort of making their own mock meats.  This is good as it will mean that it doesn't have MSG and other harmful chemicals that processed packaged mock meat certainly has.  The mock fish texture was very good, and the vermicelli was cooked well.  The major thing lacking for me was the lack of flavour of the broth, however.  It was very plain, and needed a lot more salt and extra seaweed for a more fishy taste.  For those with very light tastebuds, then this would definitely be a dish I recommend.  If you have heavier tastebuds, then this dish may leave you feeling somewhat underwhelmed.

Price: $6.90.     6/10
One of the best sellers at Genesis is their 7 Layer Haystack.  As the name would suggest, this dish consists of seven layers (including a couple of sauces) all stacked on top of each other.  The bottom layer is a flavoured (almost Mexican style) rice, with beans on top.  The other layers are salads and I particularly liked the sweet element of the fresh pineapple layer.  For my tastebuds, the bean and rice layer needed significantly more salt, especially when eaten in combination with the salad.  Stronger spices (such as cumin, ras el hanout) could have been added to the rice and beans also, which would have elevated the taste.  Overall though, the ingredients were fresh, and went together very well.

Price: $8.90.     7/10
I was given another sample plate of two different pasta dishes that Genesis offer.  Starting first, with the green pasta closest to the camera, this is the Brazil Nut Cilantro Pasta.  I like the usage of brazil nuts, which give the pasta a very cloying milky taste, with the spaghetti is perfectly coated in this rich sauce.  I did find that the salt level was a little low for me, and I am sure typical Singaporeans will bemoan the lack of 'liao' (ingredients) inside.  I found the Sundried Tomato Pasta to be better balanced in terms of salt, and had a much more robust multi-dimensional flavour, so overall that one was my favourite.

Price: $8.90.     7/10 (green), 8/10 (red)

*half portions of each are pictured.
What better way to finish off the meal that a slice of Tofu Cheesecake.  I've always loved cheesecake, and is something that constantly pains me not being able to eat, after turning vegan.  Vegan cheesecake won't be the same as the real thing, but I still loved the creamy dense texture that the tofu was able to achieve.  The base (crust) was moist, and went well with the filling.  To make it more authentic, more salt and lemon could have been added, but overall this was an excellent way to end the meal.

Price: $4.50.     8/10


Conclusion - The standard of the food at Genesis is as strong as ever, and most of the dishes I thoroughly enjoyed.  I must say that the location is probably the worst I have ever seen for a restaurant in Singapore, which is really a pity as the food doesn't deserve to be hidden away in some abandoned side street.  Even with the bad location, there were a number of tables occupied over the lunch period when I visited, which is a testament to the back history of good service and food quality that Genesis has accumulated over the years.  Lets be proactive and head down to support them at this new location.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 8/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Jing Yi Vegetarian - Bukit Gombak

It has been almost three years since I originally featured Jing Yi Vegetarian on Hungry Ang Mo, I featured them predominantly due to the glowing feedback that I was receiving about their now famous dry hor fun.  For those poor souls living in the West of Singapore, it is indeed difficult to find good vegetarian food.  But for today's review, I do believe I will be reviewing one of the (if not the) best vegetarian stall in the West.  This review will not just be featuring their signature hor fun, but it will be a review of their entire menu.  Are they just a one hit wonder?  Or is their food of an excellent standard across the entire menu?  Lets find out!









Jing Yi Vegetarian
Location: Block 359, Bukit Batok West Avenue 5
Contact: 91811413/90669185

Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 2pm-9pm.  Closed Monday.


Here is a look at the first portion of the menu...
...Second part of the menu.
















One crucial skill in the world of Chinese cuisine is the ability of the chef to control the wok.  Not only in terms of temperature management, but the ability to transfer the aroma of the wok into the food that is being cooked inside.  This skill is more commonly known as 'wok hei'.  This skill should not be confused with burning or charring the ingredients.  The chef at Jing Yi is one of only a handful of individuals in Singapore who have mastered this skill.  I still rank the Cantonese auntie at Lin Lin to be the best at this, although she recently retired from the kitchen and now it is a foreign cook (with a vast difference in ability) who is now cooking there.  So considering the Lin Lin auntie has retired, the Jing Yi chef by default is probably the best in Singapore now.  Just look at all that smoke in the picture.
This time around I was keen to test out the chefs ability for other dishes, besides hor fun.  Firstly, we picked out the Xiang Chun Fried Rice.  Xiang chun (香椿) is a paste made from the leaves of the toona sinensis deciduous tree, and is one of my all time favourite ingredients in Chinese cooking.  This fried rice was very well cooked overall - The xiang chun paste was evenly coating every grain of rice, and the overall wok aroma was above average.  The portion size was huge, and there was a generous heap of mock pork floss sprinkled on top.

Price: $4.50.     7/10 
On to the famous Fried Dried Hor Fun.  I have always been of the belief that if you want to taste wok hei in hor fun at its best, then it must be the dry version.  I've had many wet hor fun variations before, and never enjoyed it the same as its dry counterpart.  The wok hei is excellent in this dish, there is no denying that.  Every ingredient on the plate has that amazing smokey aroma, without any of them being charred or burnt.  I liked the addition of the lime, which matches nicely with the ingredients.  For hor fun, this is really as good as it gets.

Price: $4.00.     9/10
Green leafy vegetables are seldom something I crave, but I decided to give these Stir Fried Sweet Potato Leaves a shot.  Once again, it seems like anything coming from this chefs wok have that awesome smokey flavour, and this dish was no exception.  The vegetables were cooked to perfection, I particularly love the creamy texture of the leaves of this vegetable.

Price: $6.50.     7/10













Conclusion - If you want some of the best Chinese vegetarian tze char in Singapore, then Jing Yi would rank up there as some of the best.  I love the food at Jing Yi, and it is great that we have a good quality vegetarian stall like this in the West of Singapore.  It is best to avoid going during common eating times (especially on weekends) when the waiting time can be up to one hour.

Overall Rating
Food - 8/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 8/10
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