Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Southern Palace Vegetarian Restaurant - Paya Lebar

Just when I think that I have discovered almost everything (vegetarian wise) in Singapore, out pops an eatery that has seemingly existed for years without my detection.  I'm not sure how many years exactly Southern Palace has been around for, but judging from the worn down menu and interior of the place, it has been there for a long time.  This Chinese shop house is quite large, with ample seating. 














Southern Palace Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 654 Geylang Road (off Lorong 40)

Contact: 68461773/68461772
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am-9.00pm.


Southern Palace had a list of six daily specials that were available.  These dishes change regularly.
If you don't feel like ordering their special made to order dishes, then economic rice/bee hoon and dishes are also available.
Before starting my main meal, I opted to pick out a sinful looking Curry Puff.  Priced only at $1, this larger than usual puff is definitely value for money.  Unfortunately I was quite disappointed by the quality of the pastry shell, it didn't have that crisp yet chewy texture.  Instead it was powdery and broke apart easily.  The potato stuffing was well spiced and cooked well, just not enough to make up for the poor pastry.

Price: $1.00.     5/10


For this review, I decided to focus more on the Southern Palace daily specials, therefore I selected their Sliced Fish Bee Hoon for consumption first.  By default this soup will come with milk added, so it is important for vegans to request for the milk to be omitted when cooking.  It was a cool (by Singapore standards) and rainy afternoon, so this dish went perfectly with the weather.  The mock fish and other ingredients were well done, and I particularly loved the additional seaweed on top, which was fried prior to adding into the soup.  Even without the milk, this was an excellent version of this dish.

Price: $4.00.     8/10
Lastly, we decided to order the Nasi Lemak.  Presentation wise, I liked how it arrived on the green banana leaf replica plate, visually it looked great.  The dish itself was a bit hit and miss.  The red chilli was quite unusual, the texture was almost like jam.  I also didn't understand why there were two separate mock meats, which were both almost exactly the same.  I enjoyed the peanuts and pickle, and the rice was acceptable, but lacking that delicious coconut aroma.

Price: $3.00.     6/10


Conclusion - Mixed feelings about the food from Southern Palace.  I would certainly recommend that this restaurant is worth visiting, especially for the fish bee hoon - The rest of the items that I sampled were quite forgettable though. 

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

Saturday, July 19, 2014

Ren Xiang Vegetarian Food - Tampines

I'm constantly captivated by finding famous vegetarian hawkers in Singapore, and for today's post I will share with you arguably the most famous veggie stall in Tampines.  If you're visiting Ren Xiang during peak timings, then expect there to be a long queue of customers waiting for their many offerings.  The aunties running this stall are very warm and friendly, not the mafia thug aunties that run most stalls.  So, without further delay, let's find out if the food at this stall is worth joining the queue for...












Ren Xiang Vegetarian Food
Location: #01-80, Blk 419 Tampines St 41

Contact: None
Opening Hours: Daily 6.00am-4.00pm.  Closed Tuesday 


Ren Xiang have a variety of different dishes available.  I asked the auntie owner which of her dishes does she consider the best, she replied 'all of them are good' - I love that confidence.
I heard a lot of good things about the Ren Xiang Nasi Lemak, so that was the first dish I decided to order.  This dish is vastly different to how we think of a traditional nasi lemak.  There are no mock ikan bilis, no peanuts, no hash brown, no cucumbers - This is essentially not a nasi lemak.  It more closely resembles economic rice and dishes.  The rice is infused with coconut and pandan, and the traditional red chilli paste is present though.  Although this dish may be stray away from convention, it is still an impressive mound of delicious food, which I fully enjoyed wolfing down.

Price: $2.50.     7/10


One of my all time favourite local dishes is certainly Lor Mee.  I love the thick strong tasting gravy (especially when huge amounts of vinegar is added).  The lor mee from Ren Xiang was definitely above average.  There was a wide variety of different beancurd, mock meat, tofu items all inside the bowl.  The gravy was thick and full of flavour, but I wish the auntie added more vinegar inside.  Yellow noodles are not a favourite of mine, but the awesome gravy more than made up for it.  Definitely a dish that I would order again.

Price: $2.50.     8/10


Conclusion - There is no doubt that Ren Xiang is a fantastic stall, and my only regret was not getting the chance to check out more of their dishes.  I was a little surprised about their version of nasi lemak, but it was delicious nontheless.  Certainly worth making the trip to Tampines to eat - Enjoy!

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

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Tanaka Vegetarian Food - Marsiling

If you look at vegetarian hawker/coffee shops in Singapore on a whole, I can't help be resign to the fact that most are selling the same dishes, cooked the same way - Boring.  There is however, once in a while, a vegetarian stall that really stands out as being special.  In 2013, Tanaka Vegetarian Food (Fajar) clearly stood out to me as being the best vegetarian hawker experience I have ever had.  Mr Goh, has recently been expanding the Tanaka name, with another outlet opening near to Marsiling MRT (this one opened by Mr Poh, a close friend of Mr Goh).  Woodlands and Marsiling are particularly pitiful places to be a vegetarian, with so few options around - So it is great that Tanaka can provide an option for those living in that area, especially as it opens in the evenings as well.






Tanaka Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 306A Woodland Street 31

Contact: None
Opening Hours: Daily 6.00am-9.00pm 


For those who have visited the Fajar outlet, the dishes on this menu will be familiar.  There are a variety of dishes available, but their mee rebus is particularly lauded for its quality.  For those who don't cosume egg, please make sure to specify when ordering, as Tanaka does have eggs in some of their dishes.
Here is a look at some of the dishes available.
Nasi Lemak, on appearance, would seem like one of the most simple dishes to make.  Chilli, rice, cucumber and then a number of mock meats usually make up the contents of the plate.  Simple it may seem, the key to any good nasi lemak lies in the chilli and coconut rice.  If those two aspects are sub par, then the entire dish is ruined.  Both those two aforementioned aspects were outstanding from Tanaka, and really brought the dish to life.  The red chilli paste is fragrant and smooth, and the rice was full of coconut flavour, without there being a compromise in the texture.  Really top notch nasi lemak.

Price: $2.50.      8/10


When visiting the original Tanaka, I was highly impressed with their Chicken Rice.  I loved how fragrant and full of flavour the rice was, without the usage of any animal products.  The chicken is made from beancurd sheets, and when combined with the red chilli and dark sauce, it really makes it superb.  Tanaka knows how to flavour rice perfectly, and the highlight of this dish is definitely the rice - It is beautifully infused, and I could happily eat it by itself.

Price: $3.00.     8/10


Conclusion - I really hope that Tanaka expand even more in Singapore, so that more people can enjoy the sensational dishes that Mr Goh concocts.  The dishes are what you would expect from a stall, but they are all made exceptionally well.  I can only think of Miao Shan, who might give Tanaka a run for their money in terms of best vegetarian stall in Singapore.  Definitely a must visit stall.

Overall Rating
Food - 8/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 9/10
Value - 8/10

Friday, July 11, 2014

The R.E.A.L Hut - Aljunied

The first half of 2014 has really seen a lot of new and exciting vegetarian eateries open up in Singapore.  The R.E.A.L Hut is one of those which have opened recently in 2014.  This restaurant abides by the motto 'relax, eat and love', which makes up the name of the restaurant - REAL.  






The R.E.A.L Hut
Location: #01-197, Blk 46 Sims Place
Contact: 68469976
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11.00am-9.00pm.  Closed Monday.


Here is a look at the menu.  Many of the dishes are Taiwanese influenced, but all sorts of cuisines can be found here.
I was feeling a little under the weather this particular evening, so I decided to pick the Immune Boost as our choice of beverage.  Inside this pot is a concoction of fennel seeds, cloves and orange peel. 

Price: $5.50.     6/10
We decided to commence our meal with a side dish named Vegetable Sushi Roll.  The concept of wrapping vegetables in nori roll is not revolutionary, but I've always liked this healthier way to eat sushi.  Unfortunately for this version, I found the combination of vegetables and nori to be way too dry.  It was really crying out for a zesty sauce, like the one at New Green Pasture (Fortune Centre).  Definitely a healthy choice, and the mayonnaise (which is vegan) does bring it to life somewhat.  But it really needs a textural moisture, which a good dressing would ultimately bring.

Price: $5.00.     6/10


R.E.A.L Hut have a number of dishes all from different culinary influences - A Korean style dish they have on their menu is the Kimchi Noodle.  Kimchi is a fermented vegetable preparation, usually consisting of radish, cabbage or even cucumber.  Shrimp paste is used in traditional kimchi, but is obviously omitted here.  This soup based noodle dish was quite flat taste wise.  Unless you literally bite onto the kimchi cabbage, it is really difficult to get that wonderful sweet and sour kimchi flavour onto one's palette.  The kimchi flavour was totally lost in the soup, which caused me to feel quite disappointed.  I like the use of seaweed and thin rectangular pieces of tofu inside, but the flavour of the dish really needs to be turned up.

Price: $8.90.     6/10
To finish the meal off, we selected a piece of Carrot Cake.  The desserts at R.E.A.L Hut can be seen at the point of sale area of the shop, and there can be found a limited range of vegan and non-vegan desserts to choose from.  The carrot cake is totally vegan.  This cake didn't have enough moisture, and could have done with another layer of 'cream' in the middle.  Also, the cake didn't have the right balance of spices (cinnamon, cardamon, ginger) inside.  I did like the orange rind that was sprinkled on top, but improvements in all other aspects need to be made.  Having said all that, vegan cakes are not easy to master, so we shouldn't be too hard on them.

Price: $5.50.     6/10


Conclusion - For the positives, I really enjoyed the polite and friendly attitude of the staff running R.E.A.L Hut.  The restaurant had a nice and peaceful atmosphere.  Unfortunately the disappointment came in the form of the food, which I all found to be totally forgettable.  On a brighter note, I am sure with a few tweaks here and there, the quality of the dishes can improve significantly.

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

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Bao Bao Vegetarian Food - Bedok

There are a handful of vegetarian stalls in Singapore that have become extremely well-known for selling only bee hoon.  In fact, if you ask any non-vegetarian what is the first thing he/she usually thinks of when they think of vegetarian food, probably it will be bee hoon and dishes.  Vegetarian food is so much more than that.  But for this review I will focus on the aforementioned stereotypical vegetarian meal.  Bao Bao could arguably be the most famous vegetarian bee hoon stall in all of Singapore, with there being ridiculously long queues for breakfast and lunch time.  Their bee hoon usually sells out totally by midday, so I would recommend you visit as early as possible to avoid disappointment.







Bao Bao Vegetarian Food
Location: #01-148, New Upper Changi Road Hawker Centre, Blk 58 New Upper Changi Road
Contact: None
Opening Hours: Daily 7.00am-1.00pm.  Closed Monday & Thursday


It is worth visiting this stall purely to watch the amazing speed in which the auntie produces a plate of Bee Hoon and Dishes.  She can assemble a plate of bee hoon literally within 5 seconds, it is quite a sight to behold.  This famous bee hoon is the white variety, which is my personal favourite. It is hard to argue with the quality of this classic dish.  The fried beancurd sheets are crispy, the bee hoon well flavoured, the mock char siew is sweet and chewy - It is a perfect breakfast meal. 

Price: $2.50.     8/10


Conclusion - If you're looking for one of the best vegetarian bee hoon in Singapore, then there is no doubt you should be paying a visit to Bao Bao.  This simple stall undoubtedly produces fine tasty bee hoon, which fits perfectly as a breakfast meal.  The queue is often frighteningly long, so it is a good thing the auntie works at the speed she does.

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