Ru Lai Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 24, Sin Ming Road, #01-51Opening Hours: Daily until 9.30pm (may randomly close so call ahead)
Contact: 96347670 or 64576143
Contact: 96347670 or 64576143
Here is a quick look at the menu. There is several pages of course, but I took a picture of this page as it highlights a problem with this stall, which is it is not non-Chinese speaking friendly. The menu here unless you can read characters you might not really be able to comprehend what you are ordering. For most Singaporeans reading Chinese will not be a problem, but for those who can't, you might struggle a little (or a lot) upon visiting Ru Lai. So get learning Chinese before coming here!
I had heard the oyster omelet from Ru Lai was one of their specialty dishes, so of course I had to try. On the menu it is cryptically titled Fried Vegtr Omelet, if you can't read Chinese characters you will not know this is the oyster omelet, haha. For most the dishes you can order it in big or small, all the dishes we got were small. The omelet is not too bad, with a strong wok hei flavour. What weighs this dish down is the texture of the omelet - It is too mushy/slimy, as traditionally it should be a little firmer and more chewy.
Price: $3.00 (S) $5.00 (L). 6/10
I wanted to try one of the rice dishes, the one that I opted for was Hei Jiao Lu Rou Fan, this is basically lamb meat rice. This dish was quite unspectacular really, and I don't have anything too profound to say about it. The mock meat comes in a basic dark sauce, which is rich, but not very flavourful. Capsicum, along with fresh tomato and cucumber can be found in this dish, along with the white rice. Clumsy presentation, which doesn't make it too appealing to eat, and flavour wise it was nothing remarkable.
Price: $3.50. 4/10
With Sambal Fish being one of my most cherish Chinese delicacies, I came into this dish with high expectations, especially as this is known as one of their signature dishes. This dish was a tragic disappointment. Let's start with the sambal sauce - The texture of the sauce was terrible, it was watery and clumpy in places, the taste of the sauce had little spice and no rich flavours, which I come to expect from sambal fish. The mock fish was so-so, I would rather it not be heavily deep fried, not only for the sake of my ever increasing waist line, but taste wise having it so greasy makes me queasy. It is critically over-priced for what is a lazy attempt at sambal fish. To be avoided.
Price: $8.00 (S) $12.00 (L). 3/10
Frankly the meal at Ru Lai was getting pretty depressing, with a myriad of disappointing dishes, then suddenly, beyond the smoke of the wok pan came a glimmer of hope - Veg Pork with Special Sauce was my savior. Well ok, maybe I over-exaggerated a tad, it wasn't amazing, but compared to the rest it was a marked improvement. The pieces of mock meat really achieved the flavour and (to a certain extent) the texture of what pork ribs should be. I would have loved a little more of the beautiful smokey flavoured sauce, but this is a minor gripe. Overall a fulfilling dish, and one that I would definitely consider ordering again.
Price: $7.00 (S) $10.00 (L). 8/10
Conclusion - After ordering four dishes from Ru Lai, having only one that I really enjoyed is a fitting summary to this stall. The menu that they have (whilst confusing) is quite vast, and maybe other dishes are better than those that I tried. I doubt so, however, as the ones I ordered are known as their 'specialty' dishes. The pork ribs are really nice, and I had no troubles wiping the plate clean. To some extent the omelet was also quite nice, but the remaining two dishes were a calamity, to be frank. A overhauled menu, and less salt, oil and grease in their cooking would all be steps in the right direction for improving this eatery.
Food - 5/10
Service - 4/10
Value - 6/10