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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Mycofarm - Jalan Kayu

One thing Singapore can be certainly guilty of, is having very little locally grown fresh produce.  This is understandable, due to the limited land space.  However, hidden underneath the characterless soulless capitalist concrete slabs are small locally run farms.  Most of which can be found in the Lim Chu Kang district, but for todays adventure we go to a mushroom farm, in the Seletar farmway area, which is at the back of Jalan Kayu.  Not so long ago, these farmway roads were peaceful and pleasurable to walk and cycle on - Now unfortunately they have been ruined by more mindless development, which sees huge trucks constantly bulldozing down the thin roads - What a pity.

Location: 9 Seletar West Farmway 5

Contact: 67730377
Opening Hours: Daily until 5.30pm

As well as being able to purchase mushrooms from Mycofarm, you are also able to tour around the growing areas.  There is the option to take a free tour, which is quite basic.  Or, you can take a paid tour, which is apparently much more detailed.  There are several shed like buildings, which house these mushrooms.  Pictured are the Grey & White Oyster Mushrooms, which apparently take only a few days to fully grow.
Here is the shed which houses the King Oyster Mushroom, this thick stemmed fungus is a personal favourite of mine.  The sheds are fully air conditioned, to suit the mushrooms ideal living temperature of 15-20 degrees celsius. 
Inside the office area is a small shop, which have a variety of fresh mushrooms, dried mushrooms and packeted mushroom soup (not suitable for vegans).  I was slightly stunned by the price tags on some of the mushrooms.  For example, the Bai Ling mushroom can be purchased from NTUC for $2.80, here it is being sold at $5.00 (same size).  Other fresh mushrooms on sale were portobello, king oyster and shitake.  All looked fresh and delicious, but didn't have the prices I was hoping for.

Conclusion - Considering that I don' live very far from Seletar, visiting Mycofarm was merely a cycle ride away for me.  If you're debating whether it is worth traveling longer distances to visit, however, I would say unless you're fascinated by mushrooms, then it is not worth it.  The area is small, and there is not much to see.  Moreover, the price of the mushrooms were much more expensive than I was expecting.

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

Monday, June 11, 2012

Tian En Vegetarian Food - Aljunied

With it being June, durian season is in full swing - So inevitably I found myself in the Geylang area parading around the side streets examining the various durian stalls.  After this exhausting procession was complete, I chowed down at Tian En, a humble vegetarian stall, which is a stones throw away from Aljunied MRT.  Packeting the food is the favoured option for most, as the seating area of this small hawker is extremely limited.  If you come during a peak eating time, expect to struggle to find somewhere to sit.

Tian En Vegetarian Food
Location: 88 Lorong 25A Geylang

Contact: 97668199
Opening Hours: Unknown

Brown/White Rice and Dishes is the most common selection by most customers, although it is not exactly cheap.  The eggplants were cooked to perfection, mushy and creamy just how a good eggplant should be - But were let down by a lack of flavouring.  The side dish that gets most attention from customers is the curry meat and potato.  This dry lemon grass infused curry dish was definitely the highlight for me.  Those with hawk eyes will also spot, at the back, that I ordered a curry puff too.  This curry puff was quite uninspiring, the crust was powdery, and almost uncooked, with the filling being somewhat bland also.

Price: $4.30.     6/10

To get a balanced assessment of this stall, I also order one of their zi char dishes, Fried Hor Fun.  The dish had a heady amount of bean sprouts inside, which were still half-raw.  This may not be to everyones liking, but I didn't mind it.  The noodles had a nice paper thin texture, and the dish did have an undertone of wok hei (smoke) flavour.  As regular readers will know, just a little bit of wok hei isn't enough for me.  I prefer it to have a thick and strong wok hei aroma, ala Lin Lin.

Price: $3.50.     7/10

Conclusion - No complaints overall, this is a pretty solid eatery that serves tasty food.  The cramped little corner street hawker isn't an ideal location, and hardly makes for a peaceful eating experience, but nevertheless a good choice for those packeting food.

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

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Delcie's Desserts & Cakes - Kovan

Having recently made the conversion to a vegan lifestyle, one of the things I naturally assumed I would have to sacrifice was desserts.  So often we rely on butter, milk and eggs as the staple for making cakes and other such sweet treats.  Now, I myself don't really have an overwhelming sweet tooth, therefore it was a sacrifice I was willing to make - Yet, when I heard about an establishment creating totally vegan desserts in Singapore, I felt obliged to go there and see what this place was all about.

Delcie's Desserts & Cakes
Location: 951 Upper Serangoon Road

Contact: 97892309
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 11am-8pm.  Closed on Monday.

This outlet is easily within walking distance of Kovan MRT, you will want to take Exit B, and just walk straight for 3-4 minutes.  Once entering Delcie's you will surely notice there are no seats or tables.  This outlet acts more of a pick up source for customers that order birthday cakes and what not. There are slices of cakes, brownies, muffins etc that can be purchased fresh in the store, though.
I must admit, upon scanning the refrigerators of goodies, I was tempted to test out how they tasted, especially to see if they had the same texture as non-vegan desserts.  Prior to this review, I also did a video interview with Delcie herself.  Unfortunately there was some problem with the camera and it didn't turn out.  I do hope to bring you all a video interview with her soon though.
As mentioned earlier, there is no where to actually eat the desserts within the shop.  Therefore I brought them home and took the pictures in the comfort of my living room.  First up, we have the Fudge Brownie.  For the price, it is quite a small square of chocolatey goodness.  However, the brownie is delectably rich, with the chopped walnuts on top adding a welcome added flavour.  The texture was also almost identical to that of a 'normal' brownie, so full marks for authenticity.  Only downside is the price.

Price: $3.20.     7/10

Sticking with the theme of chocolate - Here we have the Mud Fudge Slice.  Admittedly, I have never been a big fan of chocolate cake, so will this slice convert me?  Not quite, but it certainly was tasty.  Usually chocolate cake is too overly rich for my liking, this one certainly didn't fall victim of that, though.  It was packed with chocolate flavour, yet was still light.  I am not entirely sure where the fudge element comes into this cake, but nevertheless highly enjoyable.

Price: $7.80.     7/10

Arguably one of the desserts that attracts most attention is the Molten Choc Cupcake.  As is the case with a number of the desserts at Delcie's, the customer can heat this cupcake up for a completely different experience or eat it cold.  On this occasion, I decided to eat it cold.  For me, this cake certainly lived up to the hype.  The highlight was the hard chocolate centre, which contrasted expertly with the outer sponge layer.  On top is frightfully authentic cream, topped with broken chocolate pieces.  Delicious!

Price: $6.80.     8/10

Unquestionably, the desserts I had the biggest itch to sample was the Blue Forest Cake.  Once again, Delcie achieves a practically identical incarnation of the classic and traditional black forest cake.  The jam on top has sufficient tartness, the mock cream has great texture, and the sponge layers were light.  Apart from the molten choc cake, this would certainly rank as my personal favourite.

Price: $7.80.     8/10

Conclusion - Having celebrated my birthday back in March, I was at a loss as from where to source my birthday cake (yet still maintain my vegan diet).  It is outstanding that there is somewhere like Delcie's that caters to vegans who still want to enjoy delicious desserts, without the harmful animal products inside.  Quality wise, there is no arguing that these cakes are superb, most of the time it is difficult to distinguish between them and their non-vegan counterparts.  Nevertheless, you must be prepared to pay big bucks for them.

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