POWr Multi Slider

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Ah Seng Durian - Tawa, Gang Hai

Ah Seng is smiling gleefully in this picture, and so am I.  The reason we are both smiling is very simple - The lesser known second season for durians has just begun in Singapore.  Most Singaporeans who have limited knowledge of durians will simply think there is one season, which usually ranges from June to August, and the rest of the time the durians are lousy - This mentality is not true at all.  The second season, which ranges between November to January has durians that are just as fanastic in quality, compared with the main season.  For the second season, the durians are coming mainly from Muar and Segamat area, as those regions really hit their prime at the end of the year.  The Muar durians are especially well-known for being delicious.

Ah Seng Durian
Location: Blk 20 Ghim Moh Market, #01-197
Contact: 94656160

Gang Hai is one of those durians that tends to drift in and out of season.  Staying for a few weeks and then suddenly disappearing again.  Ah Seng describes gang hai as a 'beginners durian' - For those who are not used to the strong pungent flavours of durian, then gang hai acts as a perfect introduction to the world of durians.  The flavour is very mild, the texture is clotted and creamy and the seeds are reasonable small, and have a unique teardrop shape.  Nutty flavour and an undertone of sweetness can be detected in this durian.  It is mild, but not mild in the sense of D24 (tastes of nothing), which is probably the most overrated durian on the planet.  Structure wise, this durian has a similar physiological shape to red prawn, as many of the husks have a thin 'tail' at the rear. 

Price: $7.00/kg.     6/10
My whole purpose for visiting Ah Seng on this occasion was to test out the elusive Tawa durian.  This durian can be found only during the second season, and usually only sticks around for 2-3 weeks, before disappearing again. The sheer mystery surrounding this durian made me eager for the second season to arrive, as I have never previously sampled tawa durian.  Tawa is a pale fleshed bitter durian.  The flesh has a certain milky flavour, not too disimilar to XO.  However, the flesh of tawa is silky smooth, without any clumps.  The seed is small, long and thin in shape.  The overall shape of this durian can differ - But, it can be said the thorns on this durian are similar to MSW, and the durian is long in structure.

Here is another example of a tawa durian, but this one is much larger.  We can see that the durian has a much more pronounced elongated shape, similar to black pearl.  Although this is a mysterious durian, which comes in very low quantities, the price is pretty reasonable.  In summary, I guess the biggest question would be is it worth seeking out this winter visitor?  Flavour wise, I didn't find it to be anything too special.  But, it is a durian that has small seeds and therefore is great value for money.

Price: $7.00/kg.     7/10

Conclusion - Ah Seng is one of the few places where customers can pick up tawa durian.  As the popular saying goes - 'Time Tawa durian waits for no man'.  So, if you're entertaining the idea of testing out this durian, then you must act fast, as it does not hang around for long.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Pita & Olives - Tanjong Pagar

A couple of weeks ago I received an interesting comment from an Israeli-born reader named Eran.  He suggested that I visit Pita & Olives, as it serves the best quality Mediterranean food in Singapore, in his opinion.  Now, this place is not 100% vegetarian - As I type that I can hear the 'no Hungry Ang Mo, no!  Don't betray us!' chants.  Don't worry, this review is, of course, a vegan perspective of dining at Pita & Olives.  As vegetarians/vegans, we are sometimes unavoidably put in a situation where we need to find a non-vegetarian eatery to please stubborn flesh-feasting family members or friends.  So I do believe this review will be useful, especially for those sort of invidious scenarios.

Pita and Olives
Location: #03-10, 100 Tras Street, 100AM
Contact: 90112312
Opening Hours: Daily 10.00am-9.00pm

WARNING - This place is not 100% vegetarian
The menu at Pita & Olives is very vegetarian friendly, and somewhat vegan friend.  Although meat does feature in many Mediterranean dishes, it definitely is not the focal point.  Upon scanning through the menu, customers will find that at least 50% of the dishes are vegetarian - With one page dedicated to meat-free dishes.
Aviv Zafrir, the director of Pita & Olives, takes particular pride in the high quality ingredients used in his dishes, and the traditional way in which they are made.  The Pita Bread being one of those items he is particularly proud of.  Upon sampling the pita, it certainly was better than most pita bread I have eaten in the past.  The bread is warm and fresh - Slightly crunchy on the outside, and fluffy and light on the inside.

Most of the main meals come with a side of pita bread.  However, customers can also opt to have stuffed (filled) pitas.  The one we opted for was the Sabich Half Pita.  This dish does come with a boiled egg inside by default, but as I don't consume eggs, I asked for this to be excluded.  The name 'sabich' is translated form the Arabic word (صباح), which means 'morning'.  But it is Israel where this dish has become most synonymous.  The eggplants are creamy, and contrast perfectly with the fresh uncooked cucumber and tomato.  Even without the boiled egg, I still found this to be a highly enjoyable dish.

Price: $5.90.     7/10

After tasting the delicious half pita, we then graduated onto the main courses, starting with the Falafel.  All the main course dishes are served with one pita bread (which I discussed above) and salad.  The humus that is served in this dish is quite mind-blowing.  It is a silky, sticky, creamy, gooey, smooth mixture, which I simply couldn't stop shoveling up with the pita.  The humus was so creamy, I almost suspected dairy was used inside - But the owner assured me no animal products were used.  For the falafel, I also found they were quite tasty, but the humus was what I had my eye on the entire meal.

Price: $11.90.     8/10

Next dish selected was the Stuffed Vine Leaves.  This dish, also known elsewhere was dolma, consists of a splattering of humus, salad and the wrapped vine leaves.  Inside the leaves are a mixture of rice and herbs (no meat or dairy).  The vine leaves themselves are quite sour, and make for a delectable contrast with the rice.  This was my first time sampling such a dish, and I must say I loved it.  Once again the humus was outstanding and the salad nice and fresh.

Price: $11.90.     8/10

Conclusion - For those who don't like the idea of eating at a non-vegetarian place, but still want to enjoy the flavours of Mediterranean food, then you only have one option - Pita Pan.  But for those who are a little more flexible, then Pita & Olives definitely offers a large selection of vegetarian and vegan delights to choose from.

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

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Hometown Vegetarian - Whampoa

Whampoa is well known among Singaporeans as being one of the prime locations to find cheap, good quality food.  But what can vegetarians expect?  Whampoa does actually have a lot of pretty good vegetarian options for those on a meat-free diet - The only problem is, most of them close by 1pm.  For those visiting Whampoa in the evening or weekends, you will not find many open vegetarian eateries in the area.  For today's post, I will be doing a quick review on Hometown Vegetarian.  This is a very simple stall, which specialise in their bee hoon and dishes.

Homeland Vegetarian
Location: Blk 81 Whampoa Drive
Contact: Unknown
Opening Hours: Unknown

I know a lot of people are sometimes a little critical of my blog because I feature a lot of mock meat dishes.  But, believe it or not, my usual meals from hawker centres and coffee shops (like this one) just consist of vegetables.  For this Bee Hoon and Dishes meal I opted for their eggplant, mushroom and bittergourd dishes.  The quality of the bee hoon is pretty good, not too soft and pretty fresh.  The dishes that I selected were pretty typical.  Nothing flavour wise stood out as being out of the ordinary. 

Price: $2.80.     6/10

Conclusion - The problem with vegetarian stalls in hawker centres or coffee shops is that the food is too similar.  There is only a small percentage stalls that leap out as being something unique or special.  Hometown Vegetarian is one of those stalls selling the typical average tasting trite fare.  Decent in taste.

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

Friday, October 18, 2013

ROTI - Alka's Kitchen - Clementi

In the increasingly competitive Singaporean food scene, thinking outside the box is becoming a prerequisite in order to ensure one's business survives.  ROTI-Alka's Kitchen is an exciting new 100% vegetarian restaurant, which opened up on the 21st August 2013, specializing in Indian-style deli-wraps.  It is certainly refreshing to have a new Indian option available for those poor souls living in the West of Singapore. 

ROTI - Alka's Kitchen
Location: #B1-22/23, 154 West Coast Road, West Coast Plaza
Contact: 67740422
Opening Hours: Daily 10.00am-10.00pm

CLOSED DOWN - As of 21/06/2015, owners are looking for a better location and will open again elsewhere soon.
Before I chat about the food quality, I simply must mention the staff.  This restaurant is run by Madam Alka C Mehta, and her husband.  Madam Alka has a wealth of cooking experience, which includes a masters degree in Food Science & Nutrition. This is coupled with 23 years experience in the kitchen, and even featuring in cooking contests, such as the 2012 Family Food Legacy cooking competition (which she won), and the 2011 Mama Lemon cooking competition.  Chef Alka prides herself on serving fresh and authentic dishes to her customers.  Because of this, the dishes will not arrive within 15 seconds like most eateries in Singapore.  Customers will have to wait a little longer, but the food and freshness is worth the wait.
ROTI-Alka's is one of those restaurant (like Gokul) where you don't need to be a lover of Indian food to visit.  Unfortunately, Indian food often gets a pretty bad reputation in Singapore, from people who really don't know anything about it.  This restaurant does have a lot of authentic Indian dishes (North Indian in origins), but the main selling point is certainly the roti wraps.  Pictured on the left are the customization options for ordering the wraps.  In terms of other dietary requirements - I was really delighted by how well educated Madam Alka and her husband are on vegan food.  As soon as I mentioned the word 'vegan' to them, they instantly understood, and reassured me that they will not use any animal products in any of the dishes they serve to me.  Additionally, for those unable to take onion and garlic, Madam Alka can make most dishes without those ingredients, but a longer waiting time will be needed, as she will have to prepare it fresh.

So let's start with the star dish, the Roti Wrap.  For my customization, I chose a mock meat daily special, on a whole wheat spinach wrap, with smokey roast sauce.  The roi wraps are currently on promotion (usual price is $6.90), so right now they are tremendous value for money.  As the roti wrap is a key selling point to this restaurant, the standard really has to back this up - And it did.  These are truly outstanding wraps, which were a joy to eat.  As this is an Indian fusion wrap, there are certainly undertones of Indian spices inside.  But, none of these spices overwhelm the wrap, and there is very little chilli heat.  The roti bread is exquistly charred, yet not too tough in texture.  The roasted sauce was delectably smokey, and the vegetables inside were crispy and fresh.  

Price: $5.00.     8/10

In terms of bread, ROTI-Alka's Kitchen pride themselves specifically on the preparation method of their Taava Chapatti.  They use the traditional method of preparing chapatti (this method is common in India, but rarely implemented in Singapore).  The result of this process is a nice light and delicate chapatti, which is slightly crisp on the outside, yet has a pleasing elastic texture.  Fantastic chapatti.

Price: $1.00/pc.     8/10

Next dish to the table was Briyani of the Day.  I like how this dish changes each day, so that regular customers can expect something new each time they order it.  Personally, I would have liked the basmati rice texture to be a little firmer, and less salt in the dish overall.  Also, I am not a big fan of whole garam masala in dishes, as it becomes quite irksome having to pick it out, and occasionally accidentally chewing a piece.  Although I can appreciate that using whole garam masala (opposed to powder) does heighten the flavour of any dish.  Not a bad briyani overall, and went nicely with the other dishes ordered.

Price: $6.50.     6/10

I couldn't resist ordering a couple of curries to go along with the other dishes.  First one I selected was Baigan Ka Bharta.  This Indian dish is a personal favourite of mine, and basically consists of mashed smoked eggplants with a myriad of delightful non-spicy Indian masalas - Almost like an Indian style baba ganoush.  There are literally hundreds of different versions of this dish in India, but I was surprised to find the eggplant skin was inside the dish (usually the skin is discarded after the smoking process).  I quizzed Madam Alka on the reason why, and she explained that keeping the skin on allows her to make the eggplant fresh every time.  I must say, the skin was not too tough, and added extra flavour.  A tremendous dish.

Price: $8.00.     9/10

The second curry I ordered was the Chicken Masala.  It is unusual that an Indian restaurant would use mock meats (Gokul is the only other one I know of), but I'm glad, as mock meat really combines well with Indian curries.  This dish was made without cream (which would otherwise be included) but still tasted delicious.  There is a distinct difference in taste between a curry that has just been flung together using pre made sauces, and a curry that has been made with greater love and attention.  This curry definitely belongs to the latter category, and the result is a well-balanced deletable curry, which went perfectly with the chapatti.

Price: $8.00.     8/10

Conclusion - I challenge anyone to visit Alka's Kitchen and not leave with a smile on your face.  This restaurant has probably the most humble and endearing owners you will likely find.  The food is fantastic, and you can tell the best ingredient of all has been added into every dish - Love.  One of the best places I've visited this year, and one I will return to over and over again in the future.

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

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Greenzilla - Buona Vista

Vegan Burg watch out!  There is a new burger joint in town.  Vegan Burg has been incredibly successful in its quest for meat-free supremacy, so I knew it would only be a matter of time before other similar eateries would crop up in Singapore, and attempt to emulate Vegan Burg's success.  Greenzilla ticks all the right boxes - Catchy name, delivery service, modern look and unique marketable burgers.  So far, 2013 has been a fantastic year for vegetarian food in Singapore, with many new vegetarian eateries with original concepts opening up - Long may it continue...

Location: Unit B1-43, 1 Vista Green Exchange (Star Vista)
Contact: 97190893
Opening Hours: Daily 10.00am-9.30pm

CLOSED DOWN - As of 17/7/2014.  

Greenzilla currently have two locations in Singapore.  The one most customers will inevitably flock to will be the Star Vista outlet, which is where I went for this review.  This outlet is incredibly small, with only four seats for customers.  If you're going to this eatery during busy periods, don't expect to get a seat.  Instead, it may be wiser to take away.  Everything at the Star Vista outlet is vegan - There is no dairy, egg or meat in any of the food (no onion or garlic either).  Their other (original) outlet, which is located at Blk 221 Jurong East Street 21 has some additional dishes, such as pasta - Which are not vegan.  The burgers can be bought alone, or purchased as a set meal ($11.90) - The set meal comes with a side of salad and an organic drink.
Just like with Vegan Burg, Greenzilla have launched a number of interesting side dishes, which can accompany the burgers.  We selected the Pumpkin Pops, which I found pretty reasonable for the price.  Taste wise, the pops had a nice crunchy outer layer, and a soft fluffy pumpkin centre.  The sweetness of pumpkin was not really present, and I didn't really detect any other flavour, making it a little one dimensional and flavourless.  Salt, in particular, was lacking.

Price: $2.90.     6/10

A perfect meal for kids is the Minizilla Set.  This set comes with three mini-sized burgers and a side of coleslaw - Or at least it was supposed to come with a side of coleslaw.  After all our food arrived, the coleslaw was not to be seen.  I asked the staff 'shouldn't the minizilla set come with coleslaw?' - To which he abruptly replied 'no' - Even though it clearly states it comes with coleslaw. Confused, I returned back to my seat.  A couple of minutes later the staff gave us a side of salad, not coleslaw.  I'm still perplexed as to what went on exactly with the coleslaw.  Other than the weird coleslaw incident, this set meal is pretty decent.  Having a selection of mini burgers is great for those wanting to sample the different kinds, without getting too full.  The three types of burger are tofu fusion, herbshrooms, and royal mushroom.  The royal mushroom stood out as being the best burger I tried at Greenzilla, really outstanding.

Price: $6.90.     7/10

I was recommended by a few readers to definitely check out the Herbshrooms Burger.  Overall this was a pretty satisfying burger.  The burger bun has strong herb flavour, which gives the burger almost an Italian feel to it.  The mushroom patty is juicy and flavourful, and perhaps a little pasty in texture.  One thing I usually despise about ordering burgers in Singapore is the rancid (almost rotten) state of the lettuce and tomato used.  One big positive about Greenzilla is that their ingredients are definitely fresh, which makes a huge difference for me. Not only are all the ingredients fresh, but everything (bun, patties, sauces etc) at Greenzilla is painstakingly handmade, which is really refreshing.

Price: $5.90.     7/10

I am guessing the burger that will attracted most attention at Greenzilla is the Tofu Fusion Burger.  This is mainly due to the distinctive black appearance.  The blackness in the burger bun comes from charcoal, which doesn't really taste of anything, but certainly makes it look unique.  The highlight of this burger was the tofu patty.  The tofu has been marinated in a dark sauce, which really penetrated into the tofu, making it nice and flavourful.  The tofu texture was perfect too, neither too soft nor too tough.  What I didn't like about this burger was the sheer messiness of it.  After one bite, the tofu patty will start sliding around like an ice hockey puck.  Also, the BBQ sauce used is too diluted and watery.  This causes the sauce to soak into the burger bun - Eating soggy bread doesn't appeal to me.  Thicken up the sauces, and this burger will be a winner.

Price: $5.90.     6/10

Conclusion - So I know the question you all want to ask me - Vegan Burg vs Greenzilla?  Which is better?  I don't want to dodge this question, but it is important to note that Greenzilla is only a few months old.  If Greenzilla can continue to grow, and learn from the things that Vegan Burg do well, and capitalise on the things Vegan Burg do poorly, then I foresee Greenzilla being capable of surpassing Vegan Burg.  I'll be interested to see how Greenzilla evolves in the future.

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


Monday, October 14, 2013

Life Style Veggie - Penang

It has been three years since I first visited Life Style Veggie, during my first visit to Penang.  Back in 2010, this restaurant was newly opened, so I was pleased to see that it still has survived after these few years.  It does seem that there has been a change of management over the years, with recent changes in the menu and cooking style. This restaurant is located in the centre of Georgetown, along the busy Jalan Macalister stretch.

Life Style Veggie
Location: 50 Jalan Macalister, Georgetown, Penang
Contact: (04)0165559054
Opening Hours: Daily 8.30am-2.30pm, 5.00pm-9.00pm.  Closed Tuesday

We kicked off our meal with the Vegetarian Chicken Rice.  Don't be fooled by the name, this is not a Singapore style chicken rice.  Instead, this meal is served in a bento set.  The components to this dish are plain rice, pumpkin, stir-fried tofu with long beans, and beancurd mock chicken.  The pumpkin was nice and fresh and I enjoyed the tofu.  The mock chicken was swimming in a very salty broth, but overall it was enjoyable.  The real let down was the quality of the white rice, which was incredibly poor.  I have said this many times on my blog - The difference between using good quality and bad quality rice is huge.  Satisfying meal overall.

Price: RM6.80.     6/10

Back in 2010, the dish that impressed me the most from Life Style Veggie was definitely the Char Kway Teow.  Upon visiting again, I simply couldn't resist ordering it.  To my disappointment, the quality of this dish has really taken a turn for the worse.  Firstly, the portion size seems to have shrunk by almost 50% compared to my first visit (this is coupled with a RM1.00 increase in price).  It would probably take three separate portions to come close to filling my stomach.  Secondly, it seems like the aroma and taste of this dish has also become lost over the years.  If you're visiting Penang, and want to sample great tasting vegetarian char kway teow, I recommend visiting Happy Realm instead.

Price: RM5.00.     5/10

Conclusion - It was nice to visit Life Style Veggie once again, and I'm glad to see that it is still around.  Unfortunately, I was not overly impressed with the dishes - In particular the char kway teow.  Hopefully some adjustments can be made in the future.

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

Friday, October 11, 2013

Piore Organic Vegetarian Cafe - Farrer Road

It is not often a vegetarian place can be around for five years without the Hungry Ang Mo knowing about it.  But, inexplicably, Piore Organic Vegetarian Cafe has managed to fly under the radar in the vegetarian scene for many years.  One reason for this may be the isolation of the location, which is nestled on the second level of a very old HDB block.  However, with the Farrer Road MRT recently being built a few years ago, now this eatery is just a stone's throw away from the MRT, making things a lot more accessible for potential customers.

Piore Organic Vegetarian Cafe
Location: Blk 3 Queen's Road, #02-163
Contact: 64744047
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 10.30am-7.30pm (Friday currently closes at 3.30pm).  Sunday closed.

The ambiance at Piore is one of the best in Singapore.  This is a peaceful, calming, cosy little cafe.  There are only a few tables, and a comfortable sofa in the corner.  I loved the old-fashioned feel that this place has.  Menu wise, there are many daily specials, which have a habit of selling out very fast.  Customers are advised to call in advance and 'reserve' dishes.  All customers get a complimentary wintermelon drink, upon sitting down.  We also ordered the Avocado Drink, which was thick and creamy, with just the right amount of sweetness.

Price: $3.50.     6/10

We kicked our meal off with the Fried Black Pepper Udon.  Personally, if I had to pick between rice and noodles, I will always pick rice.  Thick udon or yellow noodles are the ones I dislike the most, as they are often too soft and starchy.  These udon noodles were fresh and bouncy, and really impressed me.  Not only were the udon noodles great, but I also loved the ingredients that were used.  Monkey head mushroom, corn, carrot and green capsicum could be found inside.  Monkey head mushroom is probably one my most beloved ingredients, so put them in any dish and I will be a happy boy.  The wonderful fresh ingredients, matched with the black pepper grains equated to a excellent tasting dish.

Price: $5.50.     7/10

People often lament that one of the drawbacks to eating at organic vegetarian/vegan eateries is that the food is too bland.  I guess we grow up in a culture where reckless usage of oil, salt, spice and MSG is the norm - So when these items are removed, inevitably the taste is going to be different.  The Fried Noodles (Tom Yam) dish is a perfect example of how a dish can still be packed with flavour, without using an abundance of toxic ingredients.   The slightly sour and spicy flavour of the tom yam really came out in this dish, and the organic ingredients were bursting with flavour.  I'm usually not a fan of tom yam, but I was licking the plate clean with this particular dish.  The fried noodles also have another two varieties to choose from - 'Sesame' and 'normal'.

Price: $5.50.     8/10

Thunder Tea Rice, otherwise know as lei cha 擂茶 is one of those dishes you either love or hate.  Out of every Chinese dish ever concocted, I would be willing to bet this is the most healthy of them all.  Eating lei cha (which literally means 'pounded tea') just feels good for your body.  The main ingredients are rice, tofu, nuts and green vegetables.  I was particularly delighted that 四脚豆 was used, as it's one of my favourite vegetables.  These ingredients are cooked in minimal oil and salt (almost none).  It is the bright green tea infused soup, however, that packs the most nutritional value.  This soup is usually comprised of tea leaves, basil, coriander and mint.  Lei cha is a dish that everyone would benefit from eating more often.  Personally, I don't find it to be the most enjoyable dish on the planet - But it is comforting to know it is doing my body good!

Price: $6.50.     7/10

Conclusion - It is time for the rest of Singapore to know about Piore!  Serving healthy and organic food always scores brownie points with me, especially when the price is affordable.  Piore is an ideal eatery for those wanting to chill out and enjoy great food, without any health consequences!

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

Friday, October 4, 2013

YWQ Vegetarian Bistro - Bendemeer

YWQ Vegetarian Bistro is a brand new vegetarian eatery that has recently opened its doors at the newly constructed CT Hub building.  Right now, this building is absolutely dead.  Almost no one is inside, and I'm unsure what the plans are for this building in the future.  Whatever the case, this isolation is likely making business hard to come by for YWQ, so let us do our best to support them.  YWQ, which stands for Yuan Wei Quan, is not exactly a new eatery.  The YWQ vegetarian brand has been existing for 31 years in Singapore.  Another eatery under the same name can be found at Toa Payoh Hub.

YWQ Vegetarian Bistro
Location: 2 Kallang Avenue, CT Hub, #01-07
Contact: 96878535
Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 11.00am-9.00pm.  Sunday Closed.

YWQ have a wide range of options available, mainly specialising in Asian and Western cuisine, with a plethora of captivating daily specials.  We kicked things off with a Mango Mojito.  This was a refreshing accompaniment to the food, but some may find the price a little harsh just for a drink.  Additionally, I was a little disappointed to find the mint leaves swimming inside were quite black (not fresh).  This is a slightly fizzy drink, with nice coolness - Ideal for a scorching Singapore day, I just wish the price was a little more affordable.

Price: $4.50.     6/10

Get ready for a statement that may shock you - The Laksa at YWQ could be the best vegetarian laksa in Singapore!  Most laksa you buy from vegetarian eateries just use a very generic laksa paste, and often it is difficult to differentiate one laksa from another.  The YWQ laksa was the closest to perfection that I have experienced for a laksa.  I could quite happily pour the laksa gravy into a cup and drink it.  The gravy is delectably rich, not too spicy and slightly powdery from the freshly crushed spices.  Ingredients inside included beancurd, sliced mock fish ball, mock chicken etc.  One of the best dishes I've eaten this year, a truly outstanding dish.

Price: $4.50.     9/10

The next dish we selected was from the Western section of the menu, and goes by the name Teriyaki Chicken Burger.  I love how many of the dishes at YWQ are presented on a long rectangular plate.  It really enhances the visual appeal of the dishes.  This burger was regrettably the most forgettable of the dishes we ordered.  Finding a top-quality vegetarian burger in Singapore is a difficult task - Most are either lacking in flavour, too messy, or lacking in any originality at all.  The YWQ burger was definitely not the worst I've sampled, but ultimately it didn't have enough flavour.  Places like Vegan Burg and Greenzilla have set out the blueprint on how to make original and successful vegan/vegetarian burgers, it is time more places start to emulate this winning formula.

Price: $8.00.     6/10
Sticking with the teriyaki theme, we next went for the Teriyaki Fish with Rice.  The mock 'fish' is made out of beancurd sheets and seaweed, and is completely homemade.  This is quite refreshing, as most mock meat in Singapore is still merely coming out of a packet.  Therefore, it is nice to see an eatery go the extra mile, and not rely on store bought/packaged items.  Speaking of the 'fish', it was definitely the highlight of this dish.  The seaweed flavour is particularly strong, and the beancurd sheets nice and chewy.  The low point was the rice, which was low quality and flavourless.  When I first came to Singapore, rice was just rice - It was all the same to me.  Only over the years have I learnt that the difference between good and bad quality rice is so influencial in a dish.  Not a bad dish, but better quality rice would have elevated it even higher.

Price: $5.50.     7/10

Conclusion - If you're wanting to partake in the best vegetarian laksa in Singapore, then YWQ is without question the number one place I would recommend you visit.  On a whole, perhaps YWQ has more work to do, in order to raise the standard of the rest of their dishes.  I am sure the rest of the menu will improve over time, but irregardless, it is worth visiting just for the laksa - Order 10 bowls of it!  I promise you will want more and more.

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

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Laksania - Serangoon

Considering NEX Shopping Centre (Serangoon) is one of the largest shopping centres in Singapore, it is really a travesty that not one vegetarian eatery is present in the entire vicinity.  This is mostly due to the fact that Food Republic owns the food court at NEX.  Food Republic might as well change their name to 'Meat Republic', as they are undoubtedly the most vegetarian unfriendly food provider in Singapore - Almost none of their food courts contain any vegetarian options for customers - Feel free to write in and complain. 

Location: 23 Serangoon Central, #B1-08, NEX Shopping Centre
Contact: 66342645

Opening Hours: Daily 10.30am-10.30pm

Warning - This eatery is NOT 100% vegetarian

CLOSED DOWN - As of 01/11/2014

Laksania is renowned for adding a laksa-style theme to stereotypical dishes.  Starting with the French Fries with Laksa Dip, this side dish was not part of the 'vegetarian' menu, and after asking further questions, I found out the dipping sauce unfortunately contains meat (shrimp I think).  The fries overall were nice and fluffy, but it is a shame they couldn't make the sauce vegetarian friendly.

Price: $3.80.     6/10

Next dish up was the Vegetarian Laksa.  For vegans, laksa is one of those dishes that you must be very cautious of.  Sometimes, it is known to contain cows milk instead of coconut milk, and therefore is not vegan-friendly.  For vegans visiting Laksania, you don't need to worry, as coconut milk is definitely used.  Overall this was a pretty decent laksa.  It didn't have the true authentic homemade feel that a superb laksa should have.  Therefore, it did feel a little generic.  But I was pleased that the soup base was nice and creamy, and not too diluted.

Price: $6.50.     6/10

The highlight of the meal was definitely the Laksa Goreng.  For those who have more specific dietary requirements, you will have to instruct the staff to omit onion, garlic and egg from this dish - Otherwise by default it will have those ingredients.  This dish was surprisingly packed with flavour, due to the fantastic charring of the vegetables.  I was also pleasantly surprised to see a non-vegetarian restaurant using mock meat - To me, it proved that at least some thought was put into making this dish appetising for vegetarians.  Instead of just simply making the same dish, but excluding the meat.  Definitely a dish I would order again if at Laksania.

Price: $7.50.     8/10

Conclusion - 99% of the time, the food I eat is from eateries that are selling only vegetarian food.  Therefore, when I visit non-vegetarian establishments, I tend to have quite low expectations of what the food will be like.  Laksania definitely exceeded my expectations, and certainly provided sufficient options for vegans and vegetarians that might be dining there.  I am still hoping that NEX realises the error of their ways, and opens up something vegetarian.  But until that day comes, Laksania definitely succeeds in providing somewhere vegetarians can fill their stomachs.

Overall Rating
Food - 7/10
Ambiance- 7/10
Service - 6/10
Value - 6/10
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...