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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Vegetarian Era - Eunos

Vegetarian Era continues its quest to take over the island of Singapore with the launch of its third outlet.  This outlet being just a stones throw away from Eunos MRT.  A brand new theme of nyonya/peranakan food is bestowed to this stall, with a total of 19 dishes on offer.  Peranakan can be explained simply as the fusion between Chinese and Malay cooking, with heavy reliance on rich coconut cream and distinct ingredients, such as galangal and tamarind.  The trademark black background of the stall welcomes customers.

Vegetarian Era
Location: Blk 7, Eunos Crescent

Contact: 96109123
Opening Hours: Daily 7.00am - 10.00pm See below

CLOSED DOWN - As of 01/01/2013

Upon gazing at the new menu, I was spoilt for choice.  Vegetarian Era is known for having only eight dishes at the Hougang and Ang Mo Kio outlets.  However, as peranakan cuisine is so vast and diverse, chef Henry decided to expand it to include many more specialties.  The first thing that should strike customers about this menu is the incredibly low prices.  As these are specialty restaurant-style dishes, it is outstanding that the most expensive dish on the menu is only $3.50.
The first credit worthy comment I have about Vegetarian Era, is that all the claypot dishes have the food actually cooked inside the claypot - Unlike most eateries that merely scoop the cooked food into the claypot then serve.  Due to this method, the flavour in dishes such as this Opar Goreng are really enhanced.  The richness of coconut cream is balanced perfectly in this dish, and I was pleased to discover that the spice level was very subtle.  The mock meat was charred nicely, and the shimmer of turmeric flavour inside kept me coming back for more and more.

Price: $3.50.     9/10

The next dish replicates the Taiwan classic chou dou fu (stinky tofu) - But without the chou (stink ).  Of course, Singapore restricts stalls from selling stinky tofu, nevertheless this Fragrant Tahu is delicious in its own right.  The tofu itself is marinated in a special sauce for two days prior to frying.  Due to this length of soaking, the flavour of the sauce really seeps deep into the tofu, which causes it to burst with flavour upon consuming - Delicious!  The cabbage and carrot pickle is identical to the type one would typically expect to accompany stinky tofu.  This dish is chef Henry's personal favourite.

Price: $3.00.     8/10

The dish I am predicting will be most popular at Vegetarian Era Eunos will certainly be the Pong Tahu Mee, this dish, which can also be referred to as prawn noodle, can be eaten dry or in a soup (pictured is the dry version).  Thankfully there are no horrid jelly textured mock prawns inside.  Instead, there are two mock meat balls.  This dish had a perfect amount of vinegar inside.  One interested element is the vegan 'pork lard', which is just like the real thing, it is made from dried soy and cabbage (to simulate fried shallots).  At only $2.80 you can't really go wrong with this dish.

Price: $2.80.     9/10

I saved my personal favourite for the last - This is the Rawan Rendang.  Two of the key ingredients in conventional rendang are shallots and garlic - Therefore I was amazed that the chef manage to replicate the flavour exactly, without using these two ingredients. The price of this dish is incredibly low.  Whole Earth, for example, sells a similar sized portion of rendang for a massive $15, and personally I think the quality of the rendang at Vegetarian Era is way better.  The mock meat is very authentic, the only downside being that it is derived from gluten, which is not the most healthy ingredient in the world.

Price: $3.50.     10/10

Conclusion - With prices of food seemingly ever increasing in Singapore, I find it sensational how reasonable the prices at Vegetarian Era are.  This is literally the best value eatery I have ever sampled in Singapore.  The dishes are almost perfect, perhaps a couple of dishes were a tad too heavy on salt, but other than that I can't think of any fault.  For anyone who loves food - You simply must visit this place.

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