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Thursday, September 30, 2010

Yin Futt Kuok Vegetarian Restaurant - Kuala Lumpur

There were actually many more vegetarian places I wanted to try in KL, regrettably this was the final one that I sampled, though. This place has recently relocated from its old dwelling grounds of Jalan Hang Lekiu to Jalan Tun H.S. Lee. For those looking for catering or other such things, this establishment also can provide those services. It's a modest looking restaurant, but as we know, the simplest places can often serve up the most mighty dishes.

Yin Futt Kuok Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 60 Jalan Tun Perak, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: (03)20707468
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am-9:00pm

A quite enthralling dish opens up our review, this is the Beancurd Mongolian Style, which was luring me to sample it as soon as I saw it on the menu. It's a pricy dish, there is no doubt about that. The best was to describe the style of this dish is conventional Chinese sweet & sour meets Thai tom yam. it has the flavours and basic fundamentals of a sweet & sour, but the strong chili really packs a punch, and has that burning sensation, which you come to expect from tom yam. The beancurd is the soft style, which is not exactly my favourite, but with the sauces and flavours, it was not a burden to eat. The dish also includes a heady amount of french beans, as well as corriander on top. An enjoyable dish, but might not be considered worth of such a formidable price.

Price: RM12.00 (small), RM25.00 (large). 7/10

Next up I requested the Yang Zhou Fried Rice. First thing that struck me about this dish was the masterful charring of the sliced long beans that were inside. These are simply delectable to me, and it's something so many chefs get wrong when cooking fried rice. Other than long beans, additional ingredients included carrots, shitake mushrooms and tofu. The overall flavour of the rice was very commendable, with it having an intense wok hei (smokey) flavour, just how I like it!

Price: RM5.00. 8/10

Probably the most unfulfilling dish sampled, here we have the Stewed Yee Mee. The focal point of this dish was the beautifully bouncy and springy noodles. I thought that the dish overall was lacking vigor, and abundance of ingredients was too sparse. The flavours in the dish were a little dull, and I found myself going back to the fried rice far more frequently. Not a disastrous dish, but didn't have anything that stood out either.

Price: RM5.00. 6/10

Conclusion - Good food and friendly staff are the brighter points to this restaurant. It actually has competition from another vegetarian establishment across the road from it. This battle seems to be being won by Yin Futt Kuok, as when we were there they had considerably more customers. The food menu is ample and the quality quite good also, I wouldn't categorize the food as spectacular, but certainly above average and a place I would recommend paying a visit, if you're in the city of Kuala Lumpur.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 9/10
Value - 6/10

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Vegan Burg - Eunos

Vegan Burg has certainly stirred excitement and anticipation among the vegetarian community in Singapore. And rightly so, this is a unique and novel concept! For those curious to know what McDonald's would look like if it decided to have a moral conscience - Vegan Burg. As the name would suggest, this place is 100% vegan, using no products at all that come from animals. It is only a 5 minute walk from Eunos MRT. Of course, a n establishment needs more than a novel concept to succeed and balancing out price with quality is crucial. Does Vegan Burg triumph in that regard?

Vegan Burg
Location: 44 Jalan Eunos
Contact: 68446868
Opening Hours: Daily 10:00am-11:00pm

Vegan Burg has a choice between ordering the burgers as a set (fried and drink will be included) or just as an individual burger. First up, we have the Tangy Tartar Burger Set. Tartar is a sauce that I really love, so I was pleased this burger was on the menu. The hero of this dish, however, was the actual burger patty. It was flavoured heavily of fish, but not too overpowering. I was hearing rumours that the burgers were huge in size from Vegan Burg, that is not the case. But they're not small either. As part of the set, as you can see, fries accompany the burger. I think a few more fries should have been added, especially with the significant price difference between the set and the regular burger.

Price: $9.85. 8/10

Next burger was the Smokey BBQ Burger Set. Once again, this was ordered as a set. The burger in this meal really had a wonderful smokey flavour to it, which was much more prominent than I was expecting. The patty was derived from mushroom stem mock meat, which always provides a very authentic meat texture. As was the case in all burgers, the bread was exceptional.

Price: $10.85. 7/10

The third and final burger that was sampled was the Cracked Pepper Mayo Burger. The bread in this burger was somewhat unusual, with it having a strong cinnamom flavour immersed inside it, which I couldn't quite decide if I liked or not. The patty I have no objections about, and overall it as another quite fulfilling burger. One thing perhaps I would have preferred is for none of these burgers to be sliced in half. Perhaps I'm somewhat of a traditionalist, but a burger cut in half irks me a little. Good overall though.

Price: $5.85. 7/10

Conclusion - As you can tell by the number of burgers I had to order to fill me, the portion is not as big as initially reported. But I have no real complaints about the size, it was average to me. The quality of the burgers is very good, especially when it comes to the quality of the bread and the burger patty. The menu is still not fully complete yet, and I'm sure there are other teething issues that the staff need to work out, overall though I love the restaurant and love the concept. How successful will it be? It's hard to say, and I suppose only time will tell. Anyone vegan or vegetarian in Singapore should definitely go and pay this place a visit though. They also have a delivery service.

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

For my second Vegan Burg review from 2011, please click HERE

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Vege Good Restaurant - Kuala Lumpur

The Bukit Bintang area is filled with luxurious shopping centres that have a real Singaporean feel to them. This particular vegan establishment is located of the lower ground floor of the Low Yat Plaza. I'm not someone who particular likes to shopping centres, nor likes the monotony of going around them. However, I did make a particular exception so that I could visit this place. Online the reviews seemed quite positive for this place, so let's see how it went.

Vege Good Restaurant
Location: LG Floor, Low Yat Plaza Building, lot 13-15, Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: (03)23833809
Opening Hours: Daily 7:30am-9:30pm

Before we get onto the food, this is probably one of my favourite drinks. Roselle juice, known in this restaurant as Rosselly Flower Juice is typically a slightly bitter and slightly sweet juice drink derived from roselle flowers. It is known to be very healthy. The presentation of this drink is really nice, with real roselle flowers swimming in the jug. However, it was too sweet and lacked the bitterness of the roselle flower. Even when I ate the flowers inside, they were quite flavourless.

Price: RM4.50. 5/10

As a nice starter, I opted for the Vert Crab Stick Siew Mai. I am not someone that really can appreciate dim sum, but if it is very good then I am able to enjoy it. This dish was not good at all, though. The main problem you can see in the picture - There was only three dismally small pieces of dim sum. For the price I found it quite startling. The skin was too slimy for my liking and the pieces had a strong wheat taste to them. It is not something that I would even remotely entertain ordering again.

Price: RM3.80. 3/10

One to the main courses, here we have the Roasted Soy Meat & Goose Rice. The 'goose' in this dish (which you can see is a golden brown colour) was not very impressive. It was quite flavourless overall and very greasy. It is derived from bean curd sheets. The other mock meat on offer is gluten based, and tasted not too bad. But generally I am not a great fan of gluten mock meat. The sauce that accompanied the meat was a little plain. Rice texture was OK, but not well flavoured.

Price: RM6.90. 5/10

This dish struck me as being very resplendent when I saw it on the menu, this is the Soy Sauce Soy Codfish (Oat Fiber). A very high priced dish that was a mixture of pro's and con's for me. Starting off with what was good - The black beans that were in this dish created beautiful aromatic flavours, which wafted throughout the dish. The dish had a lot of components, such as capsicum, ginger, sliced mushrooms and chili. Another plus point was there was a mock bone in the centre of the fish (made from sugar cane I suspect) to add authenticity. Negative points was overall I was left underwhelmed by the dish. This 'oat fiber' tasted just like regular soy mock meat to me. The flavours of the dish, while nice, were nothing outstanding and for the price I expected more.

Price: RM15.90. 6/10

Conclusion - All in all I was quite disappointed with the dishes sampled from Vege Good. The look and feel of the restaurant was not bad at all, and upon browsing through the menu, I was expecting good things from this place. Overall, the food left me feeling quite flat, and caused extreme agony to my wallet. Kuala Lumpur is a great place to go for vegans and vegetarians, with a multitude of establishments to choose from, Vege Good however wouldn't be one which I recommend to anyone who is visiting this city.

Overall Rating
Food - 5/10
Ambiance- 6/10
Service - 5/10
Value - 3/10

Lakshmi Vilas Superior Vegetarian Restaurant - Kuala Lumpur

As you can see by the picture, this place is right next to Bakti Woodlands! Lakshmi Vilas is another primarily South Indian establishment, this time having a more traditional feel to it. It seems to get good business, as we struggled to find a seat upon coming here for a dosai breakfast. So many people must mean great food, right? Let's see...

Lakshmi Vilas Superior Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 57 Leboh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: (03)20722166
Opening Hours: Daily 7:30am-9:30pm

I've received some feedback from some of my viewers wanting to see menus of the places that I go to. Well, here we go. This establishment has no official menu, therefore you must peer onto the board on the wall to select what you want. As you can see the prices are very affordable here, but, no matter how cheap a place is, it is the quality that counts!

First and foremost is the classic Indian dosai, this one is the Rava Dosai. The overall crispness of the dosai was not bad at all. Unfortunately, I found it a little too thick in some places, and there is nothing worse than a thick and non-crisp dosai. A lot of green chili was inside (a common theme in South Indian places in KL), which is not something I particularly love. For the price though, this is real good value. The overall texture is not too bad and the taste was good.

Price: RM1.40. 6/10

Of course, I just had to try the classic Masala Dosai too. The masala inside this dish tasted good, however I was a little disappointed by the high amount of onion inside and the severe lack of potato used. A typical masala should have more potatoes inside. Again, like the rava dosai, it was a little too thick in some places. Affordability wise I have no complaints at all.

Price: RM2.50. 7/10

Conclusion - The atmosphere in this place is just great! I love it! It is bustling with customers flowing in and out. The experience of eating here is definitely worth while. Not only that, this is a really affordable place, morever the food quality is not bad. It would be wrong to say the quality of the food is superb, nevertheless if I came back to KL I would definitely go back to this place!

Overall Rating
Food - 6/10
Ambiance- 9/10
Service - 6/10
Value - 9/10

Monday, September 20, 2010

Bakti Woodlands Vegetarian Food Cafe - Kuala Lumpur

We stumbled upon this Indian eatery whilst wandering the streets of Kuala Lumpur. This section of the Leboh Ampang street actually has a few vegetarian establishments, this one caught my eye mainly due to the air conditioning. The menu is quite varied, yet it's strong suit would be South Indian food. It was reasonably well populated with customers, both Indians and ang mo. Like all Indian eateries, you should really eat with your hand, to really galvanize your eating experience.

Bakti Woodlands Vegetarian Food Cafe
Location: 55 Leboh Ampang, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: (03)20342399
Opening Hours: Daily 7:30am-9:30pm

Dear, oh dear. No this is not a chapati. This Plain Naan (yes, that is not a typo) was completely wrong, and almost laughably inaccurate. The bread was flat and soft just like the South Indian chapati, a good naan bread should be crispy and multi-layered. This bread was completely lifeless and really must rank as one of the poorest reincarnations of the traditional naan bread that I have ever tried.

Price: RM2.00. 2/10

Next up was a dry vegetable based curry dish. This is the Bendi Fry. A mixture of pro's and con's from this dish. It did have some good flavours seeping from it. Ladysfingers, which is the core ingredient in this curry, brought out some interesting and indifferent flavours to this curry. The low point was the brashness of the spices. I felt it was quite one dimensional, and seemed to have too many green chilies inside. Green chilies are fine to add spice, but too many of them give the dish a pugnacious feel to it, which detracts from the eating enjoyment.

Price: RM6.50. 6/10

Last up, we decided to sample the Paneer Tikka Masala. A true favourite among ang mo's that frequent Indian eateries, therefore I felt a compulsion to review this dish. Sadly, the same error from the previous curry was present here. The amount of green chili inside made it feel like I was getting a constant attack of one dimensional spice. Not only that, the curry was way too salted, to the point I was gasping for water. The paneer was flat and didn't have any of the beautiful paneer flavour packed inside. A real amateur attempt on what is a fairly simple dish, I wouldn't recommend this.

Price: RM7.00. 4/10

Conclusion - The old adage among Indians is never eat North Indian food in a South Indian eatery and vice versa - There is a lot of truth in that. Yet, I can't sugar coat the review based on that. If they have these dishes available on the menu, whether they are South or North Indian, then a certain standard should be expected. The dishes that I tried were in general below average. It may be that their South Indian food is very reputable, and I would have liked the opportunity to try it, but from what I tried on this occasion I was hardly impressed.

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

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Blue Boy Vegetarian Food Centre - Kuala Lumpur

For vegetarians who find themselves in KL at any point, then Blue Boy is a must go to. It has gained quite a heady following and reputation as a hidden gem within KL for great vegetarian food. This hidden gem is hardly as hidden anymore, and as one knows, when places get more popular the quality tends to get lower and the price higher, has that happened to Blue Boy? We'll see. What is unique about this place is it is a vegetarian food centre. All stalls are vegetarian. Originally there were 10 stalls inside, but over time some have closed down or are only partially open. Just an warning - This place is a horrible location to find, can it can take hours to find.

Blue Boy Vegetarian Food Centre

Location: 6001 Blue Boy Mansion, Jalan Tong Shin (at Jalan Pudu Lama), Kuala Lumpur
Contact: (03)21449011
Opening Hours: Daily 7:30am-9:30pm

The gentleman that runs this Fried Kwey Teow stall only serves this dish, so you think he would be a master at it by now, right? The positives of this dish are the flavour. The taste is really good, with it capturing the bite and spice of the chili fused together with the delightful smokey flavour that shimmers through the noodles. Speaking of the noodles, unfortunately this is the low point. The kwey teow noodles were so mushy and gooey, and virtually broken apart when my chop sticks touched them. I am not sure if this is the style this chef opts for, but it's certainly not what I look for in fried kwey teow. Full marks for flavour though.

Price: RM4.00. 6/10

From a different stall this time, I got the Chicken Rice. The rice from this dish was good, it had a strong flavour, the rice grains were good, maybe a tad too soft though. The dish came with a variety of mock meats next to it, not just mock chicken. My personal favourite was the lemongrass fish style mock meat. It was dry and had a powdery outer layer, this was divinely done and made me want more. The others (primarily gluten based) were also not too shabby. Fulfilling overall, but the price may be considered a little steep for what is essentially a simple hawker centre dish.

Price: RM5.00. 7/10

Conclusion - Perhaps Blue Boy has indeed fallen victim to its own fame. I recall visiting this vegetarian food centre for the first time over a year ago, the variety was much greater and more importantly the prices were much more affordable. The quality of the food on offer is still certainly not bad, however, the price now makes it no longer worth it to make that long and arduous journey to get to this frightfully hidden location. The concept of a completely vegetarian hawker centre is something novel, and those that have yet to go may consider it worth a visit. I can't see myself going again next time I am in KL, though.

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

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Vinni Jeyaa Banana Leaf Curry House - Kuala Lumpur

Coming up over the next few weeks will be a series of reviews from KL and Penang, where I recently traveled to on a food trip. Of course, these two locations are very popular among Singaporeans, therefore I am sure my bloggings of vegetarian food in those locations will be of some use. First up, one of the most famous dishes in Malaysia - Roti Canai. Needless to say, the canai/prata from Malaysia is way better than that in Singapore. This place I actually frequented over a year ago on a previous trip, and was happy to return there again for their delicious roti canai.

Vinni Jeyaa Banana Leaf Curry House
Location: No 80, Ground Floor Jalan Hang Kasturi, Kuala Lumpur
Contact: (03)20700563
Opening Hours: Daily 7:30am-12:00am

WARNING - This place is not 100% vegetarian!!!

The original Roti Canai (Plain). The texture of this roti canai is light, fluffy and almost melts in your mouth - Just perfect. What is so much more superior about the Malaysian roti canai is significantly less oil is used, which gives the canai more body. It is light and has many thin layers, which are a joy to devour. This roti canai was not as wonderful as I remember it though. It seems to have lost its flavour (perhaps they are no longer using ghee?) and therefore it was somewhat tasteless. Nevertheless, it was still an enjoyable dish, I only wish Singapore can make roti prata like this!

Price: RM1.00. 8/10

Next up is the Roti Canai (Egg). This canai really blew me away when I had it for the first time in Malaysia over a year ago. Again, it was not as superb as I once remember, but great nonetheless. This fell victim to the same flaw as the plain canai - It was a tad flavourless. The egg was distributed well inside the canai, though. Even the egg canai is much better texture wise than what you will find in Singapore. So I urge you all to sample roti canai/prata in Malaysia!

Price: RM1.80. 7/10

Conclusion - Although this is not a 100% vegetarian eatery, it does have a section especially for vegetarians, therefore the choices at this place are not too shabby. The roti canai (my only reason for going to this place) was not as good as I once remembered it. However, it is still cooked way better than those found in Singapore. Of course, for those that love roti prata/canai I am sure you can wander around all of Malaysia and find some that are even better than this. Aside to vegetarians, of course, make sure to ask for daal or vegetarian curry to accompany your roti canai.

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

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Ci Yin Vegetarian House - Serangoon

I want to give a quick shout-out to Victor, a follower of my blog who recommended this place and several others for me to try and review. Serangoon is a place with numerous good quality vegetarian eateries. This particular place is in the block next to the famous vegetarian chicken rice stall (Li Wei). I was slightly surprised how I had never heard of this place previously. So, let's find out how it went, was it good? Was it bad? These questions shall be answered!

Ci Yin Vegetarian House
Location: #01-336, Blk 152, Serangoon North Avenue 1
Contact: 98639602 or 92296490
Opening Hours: Daily 7am-8:30pm. Closed between 2:30pm-4:30pm

 Note - Restaurant has now relocated to 532 Macpherson Road

What is 'dudu'? Well, this is the Dudu Claypot Rice, my curiosity was tickled enough to try and see exactly what might be unique about this claypot. In summary, nothing is really too different to a traditional claypot rice. However, this was a very scrumptious, well flavoured and divinely textured dish. Immediately this dish had a soft spot with me, as it arrived sizzling and smoking, this creates an enhanced authenticity with the dish, and just makes it more of a treat in general. The rice texture is hard. The amount of ingredients is laudable, there is no whole mock meats inside, however various diced mocked meats can be found. The whole dish is bursting with charred flavour, which made it very moreish. A top notch dish overall.

Price: $4.80. 9/10

This is probably one of the most popular Chinese dishes among ang mo. Caucasians simply love sweet and sour, I must almost reluctantly confess I am the same, and therefore this Sweet & Sour Spare Rib Rice was teasing my taste buds on the menu. Although this was not as grandiose as the other dishes we tried, I still was quite pleased with what I got. Portion size is good, and I was relieved to see a generous serving of the sauce. The mock 'rib' is derived from gluten, which is not my favourite derivative. Nevertheless, I didn't hesitate in gobbling them down. The rice that came with it was also nice and hard. Good portion size, and a nice dish overall.

Price: $4.50. 7/10

Last but not least, one of my favourite Chinese dishes of all time. This is the Spicy Sambal Fish. The positives in this dish far outweigh the negatives, but it is not without flaw. The criticisms I have are the lack of spice in the sambal. Judging by its title and the warning the worker gave issued us with, I was expecting a very hot sambal. In actual fact, this was somewhat mild. It veers quite sharply away from how a traditional sambal fish should look and taste, which is not always a bad thing. The finer qualities of this dish is the cheer personality of it. It is a dish with good character.

The inside of this dish looks like this. Quite different to how a traditional mock fish would look, and I'm presuming this was home made by the chefs. The crusty black out layer is, of course, seaweed. I liked how it was crusty on the outskirts, yet softer in the middle. I was (and still am) somewhat baffled as to what the components are that make up this mock 'fish'. I can definitely detect some sort of scrambled soy and mushrooms, but other than that it rendered me a tad mystified. Well, who needs my descriptions, the best way is to go try this quirky little dish for yourself!

Price: $10.00. 9/10

Conclusion - I would like to think of myself as quite an upfront and frank food reviewer, I never want to gloss over a restaurant or stall that is simply not good. Therefore, when I do give an establishment high praise, you can rest assured it is truly deserved. And this is the case for Ci Yin. This is a very good hidden gem. The dishes that we tried were not only tasty, good sized and well textured - But most importantly they had heart and character, which is a unique commodity. Both the claypot and sambal fish dishes were extraordinary, and I do have the itch to try more of the dishes that they have on offer from here, unfortunately there is only so much food I can put in my stomach at one go! I urge those that live in the East of Singapore to go give this place a try, I am sure like me, you won't be disappointed.

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

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Rice House Vegetarian - Aljunied

I was fascinated to try this place upon hearing that it was a sister company of North South East West (NSEW), one of my most favourite vegetarian establishments in Singapore. Contrary to what I had been told, the choices on offer here are exactly the same as NSEW. However, there is some discrepancy in the pricing, and quality, as I will elaborate more on shortly. This place is actually situated in the middle of Paya Lebar and Aljunied. Therefore, you can alight at either of those stations and it is around a 6-7 minute walk.

Rice House Vegetarian
Location: Blk 129, Geylang East Avenue 2, #01-129

Opening Hours: Closed Monday. 10:30am-10:00pm
Contact: 67473739

First up was the most disappointing dish that we tried. This is the Minced Basil Mushroom Noodle. I found this dish very plain and lacking flavour in general. The mock meats that were inside did have good flavour, but the rest of the dish was very plain to me. Contrary to the title of the dish, there was actually no basil (that I could see or taste) at all, which makes me questions - Why even give it that name? I am not a big fan of the thick yellow noodles, but nevertheless, it was a poor and forgettable dish, one to avoid if going to Rice House.

Price: $4.50. 4/10

Those that appreciate the subtlety of flavours may like this dish. This is the Steamed Snow Fish with Rice. Probably the most credible of the dishes we tried, the strong fish taste entwined with the delicate herbal flavours really match up well. The mock fish not only looks very authentic, but the taste reeks of fish, which I adored. The low point for the dish was it did not arrive hot. This is essential for a soup based dish like that, and really hampered my enjoyment of the meal overall. A real pity.

Price: $4.50. 6/10

Visually this Duck Rice was presented superbly, as you can see by the picture. Unfortunately the taste didn't match the pleasant appearance. The main negative point to this dish is again, it arrived very fast, yet merely lukewarm. This is quite unacceptable. The rice was too mushy. The 'duck' was made from mushroom stems, in a mushroom flavoured sauce. Actually, combined with the rice it tastes identical to mushroom dumplings (zong zi). The pickled vegetables that accompany it are nice, but the focal points of the dish (rice and duck) were sub-standard.

Price: $3.50. 4/10

Conclusion - Yes, it is impressive when hungry customers get the food delivered to them in double quick timing. And I am always in awe of restaurants that are able to produce fine dishes in such short time. However, I would rather wait longer for my food and have it arrive hot, than (as is the case with Rice House) have it arrive very fast, yet barely warm. This is really not acceptable for even a simple hawker centre stall. The dishes were not at the level of the sister company North South East West, so I can't foresee myself returning here again. The ambiance of this place is not bad. But the food is a real let down.

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