Sunday, August 17, 2014

Ruyi Yuan Vegetarian - Toa Payoh

Whenever someone asks me where I can find the best vegetarian bee hoon in Singapore, there is always one stall I will certainly recommend - Ruyi Yuan.  Their HQ, which is in Redhill has been serving outstanding white bee hoon for decades, and without fail always have long queues, no matter what day of the week it is. What many people don't know, however, is that beside from their famous Redhill stall, Ruyi Yuan can actually be found in two other locations in Singapore.  Today I will feature their Toa Payoh outlet, which is actually run by the daughter (and her husband) of the original owner.

Ruyi Yuan Vegetarian
Location: Blk 78C Toa Payoh Central

Contact: None
Opening Hour: Daily 8.00am-1.00pm.  Closed Monday.

If you're interested, these are the other two locations for Ruyi Yuan.
There is nothing else to order at any of the Ruyi stalls except for White Bee Hoon and Dishes.  I will get straight into this, the bee hoon and dishes from this stall pales in comparison to the original Redhill outlet.  The bee hoon doesn't have that same wok hei intensity that the original outlet has.  The ingredients used inside are all identical to the original outlet, but didn't seem to have quite as much flavour as the original.  The biggest difference was definitely the bee hoon.  When compared with regular vegetarian bee hoon stalls, this would still rank as a pretty decent version - But when compared to her mother's stall, it didn't quite hit those levels.

Price: $3.00.     7/10

Conclusion - If you want the best vegetarian bee hoon experience in Singapore, then I can't emphaise enough how much you need to visit the original Ruyi Yuan stall.  Frankly, her daughters stall can't compete with the original, not to mention the daughter is incredibly 'kiam siap' when ordering, always trying to charge additional if you customize what items you do and don't want.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 4/10
Value - 7/10

Friday, August 15, 2014

33 Vegetarian Food - Ang Mo Kio

It never fails to excite me when I find out about a new vegetarian eatery opening up in Singapore.  I get even more excited, however, when the stall/restaurant seems to be doing something out of the box.  33 Vegetarian Food is a stall that is specialising in mock chicken - Almost all of their dishes involve mock chicken in one form of the other.  33 Vegetarian officially opened on the 13th August 2014, and their opening day (when I visited) was met by a long queue of eager customers.


33 Vegetarian Food
Location: #01-33 Blk 409 Ang Mo Kio Ave 10

Contact: None
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-8.00pm.  Closed Wednesday.

The uncle who runs this stall is Mr Sow, who has a really interesting story.  Mr Sow was previously selling real chicken rice at this same stall for 15 years.  His vegetarian epiphany came last year, when his wife started working in his chicken rice stall.  His wife was trying to become vegetarian (due to their devotion to Guan Yin) and didn't like chopping/killing of chickens.  Therefore, Mr Sow vowed to change his stall into vegetarian chicken rice, so he and his wife need not have to kill and chop chickens anymore.  Both Mr Sow and his wife became full time vegetarians in January 2014.
As I mentioned earlier, the menu has all sorts of different chicken dishes.  Not a place to consider visiting if you're someone opposed to the idea of mock meat.
We started our feast off with the Vegetarian Steamed Chicken Rice.  Before I start, I asked the auntie taking orders if the rice contains any margarine, butter or dairy products, she was adament the rice does not contain any of the aforementioned.  Mr Sow's rice was very good, the grains were firm, and flavourful.  However, the rice didn't quite manage to capture the same level of flavour that Mr Goh's Tanaka chicken rice does.  The steamed chicken 白鸡饭 was soft and doughy, which was not to my preference.  However, if anyone should be able to mimick real chicken, then Mr Sow should surely know how to.

Price: $3.00.     6/10
Along with steamed, 33 Vegetarian is also selling Vegetarian Roasted Chicken Rice.  This version is identical to the steamed chicken dish, with the only exception being the mock chicken used.  The fried layer beancurd sheets were tasty overall.  I certainly preferred this mock to the prior one, when combined with the rice it was really delicious.  One glaring omission in both the chicken rice dishes is the lack of any dark sauce.  For myself, no chicken rice is complete without the orange chilli and dark sauce.  Orange chilli was provided on the side, along with ginger.

Price: $3.00.     7/10
Sawadeecluck, the next chicken dish to our table was the Thai Vegetarian Chicken.  For this dish, the chicken is served on an oval plate, lying in a shallow puddle of Thai style sauce.  The chicken used is the same as the steamed chicken, but this time it is heavily deep fried.  The fried batter is very light, so I didn't feel that 'jialat' sensation, which I usualy get after eating fried food.  The soup and chicken were the highlights of the dish, but the let down was the Thai sauce.  The flavour of the sauce really didn't bare any similarity to Thai sauce, and seemed more like it came from a bottle.  A better sauce would have really propelled this dish to much higher levels.

Price: $3.00.     6/10
Vegetarian Chicken Curry Noodle was the next dish I sampled.  I was pleased that this dish didn't have any overwhelming spice level, and was thickened perfectly thanks to the coconut milk used.  Although this is branded as 'chicken curry' there is not really any noticable presence of chicken inside.  Instead, mock mutton mushroom style meat is used.  I loved how well the potatoes were cooked, and how they managed to absorb the magnificent flavour of the curry.  Definitely an above average dish, that I would order again.

Price: $3.50.     7/10
Lastly, we have the Vegetarian Chicken Burger with Fries.  This was probably the most disappointing dish I sampled from 33 Vegetarian.  The mock chicken burger was quite tasteless, and there was too much mayonesse inside.  Moreover, there was a lack of any real imagination or creativity in the burger - Definitely not a burger that will cause Vegan Burg to be quivering in their boots. 

Price: $3.50.      5/10

Conclusion - I felt like I was growing feathers after this overload of mock chicken.  Yes, the food is hardly healthy, but I was really moved by Mr Sow's heartwarming story of conversion to vegetarianism, so I really wish nothing but the best for his new vegetarian stall.  I can only hope more meat stalls have this same epiphany in the future.

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Kang Le Vegetarian Food - Serangoon

I may not be the best food blogger in Singapore, but one thing I can guarantee is that I will visit any vegetarian place that my dear readers ask me to visit.  Recently I received a recommendation from an anonymous reader, who suggested I venture to the Serangoon North industrial estate, to try a vegetarian stall named Kang Le.  This stall is located on level 6 of the east wing, of the Mapletree industrial property.  In Chinese 'kang' 康 means healthy and peaceful, while 'le' 乐 means happy.  With such a positive stall name, surely the food must be good!

Kang Le Vegetarian Food
Location: Level 6 Canteen, 6 Serangoon North Avenue 5 (Mapletree Industrial Property)

Contact: 98731180
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 6.00am-6.00pm.  Weekends Closed.

The stall is run by a husband and wife duo.  The wife is usually in the kitchen at the back, preparing the food.  While the husband is at the front of the stall serving the customers.  The husband was quite reserved and expressionless when we were talking with him, but his face light up when we asked if we could take a picture.  The wife is a cooking fanatic, and has attended several cooking courses, receiving several certificates for her cooking ability in the past.  Both are fully vegetarian, and launched this stall over two years ago.
Kang Le do have a number of made to order dishes, but it is their economic rice/bee hoon and dishes that really looked most attractive to me.  The vegetables looked fresh and vibrant.  Moreover, there was a surprisingly large array of dishes to choose from, considering this is just an industrial food court/canteen.
Here is a look at some of the Dishes that are available.  I especially loved the way the auntie cooked the bittergourd.  It was sliced thinly, and looked super fresh.  Moreover, it was combined with black bean, which is really a flavour match made in heaven.  The curry mock meat and potatoes were both coated in very nice sauces, it was only the long beans that I found to be lacking in aroma.  Really tasty and good quality dishes overall though.

Price: $2.50.     7/10

The only made to order dish that was available on this particular day was the Bak Kut Teh.  I was chatting with Henry Wang recently about the cost of Chinese herbs sky rocketing recently in Singapore. Due to that reason, dishes like bak kut teh now seldom have the wide range and depth in flavour, due to cutting corners on herbs.  This bak kut teh had a clean taste, but didn't have the potency and depth that a well made bak kut teh soup would have.  I did like the mushroom derived mock meat and the floating Chinese celery (one of my favourite ingredients), but the soup flavour could definitely be improved upon.  This dish is additionally served with brown rice and fried beancurd.

Price: $3.00.     6/10

Conclusion - Those who work in and around the Mapletree building should certainly consider themselves lucky to have such a nice little vegetarian stall available to them.  Due to the location and opening times, I doubt this will attract many of my readers to make the journey to visit this stall - But if you do, the fresh dishes are well worth it.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 8/10

Friday, August 8, 2014

Mei Jing Vegetarian Food - Tiong Bahru

I recently got a message from a long time HAM fan named Valerie, who suggested that I visit this stall, particular for their vegetable curry.  The stall is run by Ah Kiat, who opened this stall way back in 2007.  Ah Kiat (or Kit) became a vegetarian in 2004, and began learning to cook vegetarian food in Buddhist temples.  After which, he slowly became working part time in vegetarian stalls, before finally deciding (with great encouragement from his wife) to open his very own vegetarian stall.

Mei Jing Vegetarian Food
Location: Beo Cresent Market & Food Centre, 38A Beo Cresent

Contact: 94307692
Opening Hours: Daily 6.00am-2.00pm.  Closed Sunday.

If you don't feel like rice and dishes, then Mei Jing does have a number of special order dishes, all priced at $3.
Here is a look at the economic dishes that were available.  A lot of fried and mock dishes, but there were also a pleasing amount of vegetables to choose from.
When I was placing my Economic Brown Rice and Dishes order I kept a particular look out for Ah Kiat signature vegetable curry.  Along with the curry, I picked eggplant and potato.  The latter two dishes really were just cooked in the typical vegetarian hawker way, nothing special to note.  The vegetable curry was indeed delicious though.  The curry sauce was smooth and silky, with the vegetables soaking up all that sauce.  Definitely worth ordering the vegetable curry.

Price: $3.50.     7/10

As well as brown rice, we decided to sample one of the tze char dishes, which was the Fried Black Kway Teow.  It is difficult to find a really well cooked hor fun in Singapore, mainly cause the wok hei cannot quite get there.  This was one of those hor fun variants that didn't quite have the wok aroma that I was looking for.  I did like the freshly cut ingredients, and the flavour was improved when the fresh lime was sprinkled over the top. I've had better though.

Price: $3.00.     6/10

Conclusion - This is definitely a stall that is worth visiting, especially for the vegetable curry.  The service of the stall was definitely top notch, and I would be curious to visit again to try more of their tze char dishes. 

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 8/10
Value - 7/10

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Gui Pin Vegetarian Restaurant - Bukit Gombak

I return back to the West of Singapore, this time to review Gui Pin Vegetarian Restaurant.  This eatery was recommended to me a couple of times, so it was only fitting then I made my way down to check it out! Without further delay, let's further explore this restaurant...

Gui Pin Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: #01-126, Blk 376 Bukit Batok St 31

Contact: 90292443
Opening Hours: Daily 7.00am-9.00pm

The menu at Gui Pin is a little mock meat heavy, but it is difficult to blame vegetarian eateries for picking these dishes.  Although not healthy, it does help to glamorise the menu by having these replica meat items. 
First dish I selected was the Salted Fish Fried Rice.  Overall this dish was quite a disappointment.  The quality of the rice used was very poor, I could tell this by how horribly broken it was.  Moreover, the rice was overcooked.  To make matters worse, the fried rice didn't have any aroma at all, so the taste was really quite bland - I didn't detect any salted fish taste.  Not a dish that I would order again.

Price: $4.00.     4/10 

The second dish I ordered from Gui Pin was Fried Dong Fen.  This is quite an uncommon dish, that is seldom found available in vegetarian hawkers/restaurants, so I was definitely curious to try.  Unfortunately, this was another dish that ranked as a monumental disappointment.  It was a dish with literally no flavour at all, almost tantamount to eating plain white rice.  I was happy that they offered lime on the side, but even when drenched in lime juice, the dish still had almost no flavour at all.  One of the most forgettable dish I have eaten since running this site.

Price: $5.00.     3/10
Last dish of the evening was the Mamee Chicken.  This dish did bring me out of the depression that the previous two dishes caused, somewhat. The portion size was healthy and the mock meat was chewy and succulent.  The mock was nicely coated with the predominately sweet sauce, and even though the price was a little steep, the portion size made up for it.

Price: $8.00.     6/10

Conclusion - Nothing much to add about this eatery.  Overall it was a disappointing experience, and not a place that I would consider returning to again.  Their menu is quite vast, so perhaps there are some hidden gems there, but the dishes I ordered definitely didn't impress me.  The only positive is that the staff are open and friendly.

Overall Rating
Food - 4/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 7/10
Value - 5/10
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