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Tuesday, December 31, 2013

2013 Vegetarian Food Round-up and Awards

2013 Vegetarian Food Round-up and Awards

2013 has been a very productive year at hungryangmo.com.  I am proud that I managed to maintain my dedication to the website, and churned out 112 posts in 2013, more than I have ever done.  2013 has been a sensational year for vegetarian food in Singapore.  Therefore, to round-up 2013, I have decided to give my own little awards to the best eateries in a number of different categories.

This is just my personal opinion based on the places I have reviewed in 2013.  If you have an opposing view point, I welcome your input in the comments section below.

Best Vegetarian Eatery
Winner - Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant
Gokul has improved massively in 2013.  With new decor, menu, and improved customer service. It is the closest to perfection I have seen in an eatery. 
Review: HERE

Best 100% Vegan Eatery
Winner - Veggie Cottage
Totally vegan eateries are still pretty hard to come by in Singapore, but Veggie Cottage is clearly as good gets for 2013.
Review: HERE 

Best Overseas (non-Singapore) Eatery
Winner - Tung Fong Siu Kee Yuen Vegetarian Restaurant (Hong Kong)
I've reviewed hundreds of vegetarian eateries all across the world, so for a place to 'wow' me, it takes a lot.  This restaurant has been around for over 100 years, and serves simply mind-blowing dishes.
Review: HERE

Best Vegetarian Dish
Winner - Laksa (YWQ Vegetarian Bistro)
Laksa is a dish you can find everywhere all over Singapore, but to find a truly outstanding laksa can be quite difficult.  The laksa at YWQ is easily the best I have ever tried.
Review: HERE


Best Vegetarian Hawker 
Winner - Tanaka Vegetarian Food
A dedicated husband and wife team, who are determined to serve the most affordable and high quality food to their customers is what sets Tanaka apart from the rest. 
Review: HERE

Best Value for Money
Winner - Loving Heart Cafe
This was probably the most difficult category to pick a winner for.  But looking back, Loving Heart Cafe offers high quality vegan food at affordable prices, so this eatery will be my pick for 2013.
Review: HERE

Best Newcomer
Winner -Bespoke Japanese Vegetarian Restaurant
2013 has been a brilliant year for many new vegetarian eateries opening up.  It was a tough choice, but Bespoke have been the most impressive newcomer, in my eyes.
Review: HERE 

Best Restaurant Ambiance
Winner - Veggie Cottage
Walk inside Veggie Cottage and for a moment you will forget you're in Little India, and think you are in a small side street cafe in France.  Peaceful and calming atmosphere.
Review: HERE

Best Service
Winner - Gokul Vegetarian Restaurant
I will be the first to admit that Gokul's service in the past did show room for improvement.  Now in 2013, they have arguably the most efficient, attentive and knowledgeable staff on the island.
Review: HERE

Most Inspirational Figure
Winner -  Beatrice Wee (CERA)
Avoiding the lure of materialism, and leaping into the vegetarian business at just 23 years old requires a lot of bravery and courage.  Read my full interview with her below.
Interview: HERE

Best Durian
Winner - Red Prawn (Muar)
2013 has been a year where I've indulged in a variety of weird and wonderful durian species.  But the highlight has to be Muar's red prawn durian, I am shivering just thinking about it.
Review: HERE

Best Durian Seller
Winner - Ah Seng
Honest, reliable, and easy to contact.  Steven aka 'Ah Seng' has built up a solid reputation over the years, and still remains the king of the king of fruits in Singapore.
Review: HERE

*Big thanks to Nat (rubbisheatrubbishgrow.wordpress.com) for this idea.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Ru Xiang Vegetarian Food - Ang Mo Kio

Although overall 2013 was a positive year for the vegetarian scene in Singapore, with many new and exciting eateries opening their doors.  There were inevitably some places that had to close, one of those being Vegetarian Era, which was a personal favourite of mine.  In October 2013, Vegetarian Era's final Ang Mo Kio stall closed down, and shortly after it was replaced with another vegetarian stall called Ru Xiang.  This stall has long opening hours and a reasonable variety of different dishes to order.  Can Ru Xiang succeed in this tricky neighbourhood?

Ru Xiang Vegetarian
Blk 122 Ang Mo Kio Ave 3
Contact: 91716000
Opening Hours: Daily 7.00am-9.00pm

CLOSED DOWN - As of 26/06/2014 (now been replaced with another vegetarian stall called Wang Wang Vegetarian)

One look at the menu, and you immediately see that Ru Xiang have decided to err on the side of caution, and picked out quite typical trite dishes.  I loved how Vegetarian Era was different and served out-of-the-box dishes.  But, I guess doing something different is more risky in the long run.  I was curious to try their spaghetti ($5) dish, but it was sold out.

If you're a vegetarian who does not consume eggs, be very careful at this stall.  The stall helper will automatically assume you can eat eggs, without asking you.  So for whatever items you order, make sure to take the initiative and tell them.  The Fried Rice at Ru Xiang is nicely presented on the plate, which is a refreshing change.  The contents consists of rice, deep fried beancurd sheets and green chili.  People often lament that fried rice just isn't the same without egg inside.  I would like to see more vegetarian eateries replace the egg with tofu (some places are already doing this), so that it fills that void somewhat.  The rice contained mushroom, carrot, mock meat and peas.  Not very fragrant, but not satisfying nonetheless.

Price: $3.00.     6/10

Being the glutton I am, I ordered another dish, which is named Fried Hong Kong Mee.  The portion size for this dish is pretty impressive, and I enjoyed the texture of the noodles.  Back in my home country, Chinese restaurants serve a dish named 炒面 (fried noodles), which I remember locals laughably mispronouncing as chow-maynee.  This noodle dish is very similar to that one, so perhaps Western taste buds may enjoy this dish.  One thing that needs to be removed is that horrid mock jelly seafood meat (zai liao) - Does anyone actually eat that vile stuff?  I feel like if I ate it, it would be lodged undigested in my intestines for the remainder of the my life.  Aside from the mock meat, this was quite a tasty dish.

Price: $3.50.     7/10

Conclusion - In terms of food quality, originality and skill - This stall is quite a distance behind Vegetarian Era.  With that being said, the food is not bad and the stall is seemingly getting steady stream of regular customers - Good for them.  

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

Friday, December 27, 2013

He Xi Vegetarian Restaurant - Tai Seng

Recently I gave quite a glowing review to a newly opened vegetarian stall by the name of Zhen Ji, in Potong Pasir. For today's review, I will be featuring another eatery which is owned by the same family - He Xi.  Unlike Zhen Ji, however, He Xi has been running for a long time.  It has been at its Joo Seng location for over eight years presently.  Incidentally, just a few doors down (#01-06) is a nice little vegetarian bread shop called Ya Te Vegetarian Confectionery House - Worth visiting as well, if you're in the area.  Let's not delay anymore, on with the review...

He Xi Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: #01-22, Blk 4 Upper Aljunied Road

Contact: 62890728
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 6.30am-3.30pm, 5.00pm-8.00pm. Sat 6.30am-3.00pm.  Closed Sunday.

He Xi have quite a large collection of dishes to choose from.  The main banner at the top shows the dishes that are available everyday.  While the smaller pink/purple banner shows the daily specials, which are often sold out by evening time.  He Xi is particularly famed for its laksa, which unfortunately was not available the day I visited.

Here is a look at the official menu, and the dishes that are available.  The pricing for all dishes are very reasonable.  Updates on new dishes can be found on their official facebook page.

First dish to be sampled was the Roasted Duck Rice.  Overall this was a pretty solid dish, consisting of plain white rice, mock duck, cucumber and chilli.  I really enjoyed the dark red chili paste, which was not too spicy and went well with the rice.  The mock meat resembled char siew more than duck, it was slightly sweet and firm in texture.  A pretty decent opening dish.

Price: $3.50.     7/10

I really love how all the fried noodle style dishes at He Xi arrive in the small silver wok, which really adds a tremendous visual appeal to the dish.  This Fried Hor Fun was cooked well overall, with a generous variety of vegetables used in the dish.  The wok aroma was present, but not as overwhelming as I would have hoped.  The vegetables were cooked perfectly, and still had a nice crunch to them.  Decent dish overall.

Price: $3.50.     8/10

The last dish we sampled was the Hokkien Noodle.  This dish was probably the most disappointing of the meal.  On the positive side, once again there was a generous amount of vegetables used.  However, I found this hokkien mee to be really lacking in any flavour at all.  It would have benefited greatly from a sprinkling of fresh lime (which should be prerequisite for any self-respecting hokkien mee).  By no means a disastrous dish, but it really needs a big enhancement (and diversity) in aroma and flavour.

Price: $3.50.     6/10

Conclusion -  I feel like I've just scratched the surface of what He Xi has to offer.  As the menu is quite large, it would really take two or three visits before one could truly know what this eatery is all about. From what I tasted, He Xi certainly warrants the praise given to it, by the many loyal customers it has.

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

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Tanaka Vegetarian Food - Bukit Panjang

Whenever I ask vegetarians who live in the West of Singapore, which vegetarian eatery they recommend the most - Usually the name 'Tanaka' comes up.  It is hard to think of another vegetarian stall in Singapore, which has such a loyal following.  There are two reasons for this devoted support.  1.  There are very little vegetarian options in the Bukit Panjang area.  2.  The food at Tanaka has a reputation for being sensational.  I want to extend a personal thank you to Lai Ling and Joyce for recommending this eatery to me.

Tanaka Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 445, Fajar Road, Fajar Shopping Centre

Contact: 90015798
Opening Hours: Tue-Sun 6.00am-8.30pm.  Monday 6.00am-1.00pm

Tanaka have a list of daily specials, which are available throughout the week.  Be warned, these specials sell out very fast.  If you're planning on visiting Tanaka after 11am, then it is possible they will be sold out.  This eatery does have egg in some dishes, so be careful when ordering.  Almost all dishes at Tanaka are $3 or less - Fantastic value.

The Tanaka Vegetarian stall is owned by Mr Goh.  This generous man has been working/owning vegetarian stalls for over 30 years in Singapore.  He currently has two other Tanaka outlets in Singapore (Teck Whye and Woodlands), with a fourth outlet opening in Choa Chu Kang Block 253 on the 7th March 2014.  Occasionally, Mr Goh will give out free food on certain days of the year to his customers.  After talking with Mr Goh for some time, I can conclude that he has an infectious smile, and a warm caring nature.  He is a perfectionist when it comes to the food he serves to his customers, not allowing any sub-standard food to be served.
Tanaka's stall is divided in two areas.  On the left hand side customers can order rice and dishes and other daily specials.  On the right hand side customers can buy an assortment of kueh items.  I picked out the Traditional Malay Kueh, which is essentially a glutinous rice disc, which is covered is dessicated coconut, and then smeared in gula melaka syrup. Sweet, sticky and soft, what more could a food reviewer ask for?

Price: $0.80.     7/10

One of Tanaka's most popular dishes is their Chicken Rice.  This dish is available on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday - Only in the mornings.  The most outstanding aspect of this dish is definitely the rice.  It is packed with flavour and cooked to perfection  I've eaten countless vegetarian chicken rice concoctions in Singapore, and this certainly ranks as one of the best.  The portion size is incredibly generous, too.

Price: $3.00.     8/10

The next dish I sampled was the Roasted Pork Rice.  This dish comprises of plain white rice, cucumber, mock char siew and gravy.  High quality sweet mock char siew is used in this dish, which is a refreshing change compared with the horrid doughy char siew that is usually used at vegetarian stalls.  Although the char siew is lovely, the real highlight is the dark gravy.  It is packed with flavour and matched perfectly with the char siew and rice.

Price: $3.00.     8/10

Conclusion - It is true that the West of Singapore has significantly lesser options compared to the East.  But with fantatic eateries like Hong Yi, Hua Jin, Jing Yi and Tanaka - Things are not all doom and gloom.  In fact, these four eateries represent some of the best hawker/coffee shop food in the entire island.  Although I live in Sengkang, I would still be willing to make the long journey to Bukit Panjang for Mr Goh's delicious food, and you should to!

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

Friday, December 20, 2013

GreenDot - Bedok

The name GreenDot may be unfamiliar to most, but it has actually been running actively since 2011, inside Singapore schools.  GreenDot has previously set up stalls in Temasek Polytechnic, Chung Chung Cheng High School and Tanjong Katong Girls' School.  Bringing vegetarian food to the Singapore school system is essential, as most schools have zero meat-free options in their canteens.  After achieving second place in the Young Entrepreneur Award for their work promoting meat-free food inside schools, they have now decided to graduate to a slightly more picky audience - Adults.

Location: #B2-27, 311 New Upper Changi Road, Bedok Mall

Contact: 67024139
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-10.00pm

GreenDot have decided to keep the menu very simple.  There are just four dishes available.  A small menu is not necessarily a bad thing, but it does mean that those four dishes must be good.  Although this is technically a vegetarian eatery, customers who consume diets void of dairy products or eggs may feel quite frustrated here.  Problems may occur as there is no signage that indicates dishes that contains egg and dairy - This is something I am getting increasingly tired of.  Can someone explain to me what is so difficult about putting on the menu 'this dish contains egg/cheese/milk' etc?  Moreover, everything on their menu can quite easily be made without egg and dairy, so it begs the question, why use these ingredients and voluntarily alienate yourself from a large proportion of potential customers?  Doesn't make any business sense to me.

The first dish, which is Sesame Rice in a Cup, is currently the only vegan (no egg or dairy) item on their Bedok Mall menu - Even their laksa, which was sold out that evening, contains egg and dairy. This dish is a twist on conventional vegetarian chicken rice.  The components to this dish are mostly all the same - Rice, cucumber, red chilli, tomato, beancurd sheets and another fried chicken style mock meat.  Taste wise there is nothing really wrong with this dish, but I was hoping for a larger portion size.  It is incredibly small, and couldn't possibly fill the stomach of any human being.  The amount of rice was particularly meager.  On the positive side, it was good they used two types of mock chicken and the taste of the rice was decent.

Price: $4.10.    6/10
The most impressive dish we tried at GreenDot was definitely the Black Pepper Burger.  Contrary to what is mentioned on the menu, this burger actually comes in two flavour options - Black pepper and tomato herb.  Overall there is not much to criticise with this burger.  I loved how the burger bun was toasted prior to stacking, and the soy burger patty was crispy and juicy.  The black pepper sauce used was flavourful and combined well with the patty.  Perhaps this burger doesn't have the originality of something from Vegan Burg, but it is still a stellar attempt nonetheless.  *Unfortunately, when contacting GreenDot after my review, I have found out that both egg and dairy are somehow in this burger - Disappointing.

Price: $4.10.     7/10

The final dish I selected was the Mr Saver Meal, which is essentially the typical economic rice and dishes (you can choose which dishes when ordering), but served in a bento box.  The great thing about eating in such close proximity to others (the tables are very cramped), is you can eavesdrop on what they think about the food.  The people eating around me all had the same thoughts as myself.  The biggest problem with this meal is portion size.  For the price, the portion is way too small.  For example, I selected eggplant as one of my dishes, which had a total of only five small pieces (which were also undercooked).  It is ironic this dish has the name 'mr saver', as personally I found it to be the least value dish out of them all.

Price: $5.00.     5/10   *$0.90 for wintermelon drink (Note as of 2015 the price of this set has increased to $6.90)

Conclusion - GreenDot is still new and finding its feet in the Singapore vegetarian scene, so it is important we have patience and allow them to grow and improve.  It is clear currently where the main problems lie - Pricing and portion size.  Not only that, there is too much unnecessary egg and dairy in their dishes.  The GreenDot staff informed me they are working to eliminate the animal products from their food, so let's hope significant changes can be made in the future.

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

Monday, December 16, 2013

Cai Gen Xiang 菜根香 Vegetarian Cuisine - Hougang

Life as a vegetarian can often seem quite grim for myself, being a proud resident of the glorious Sengkang area.  To me, Hougang is the closest place I get obtain above average vegetarian food.  Hougang Mall is just a two minute walk from the MRT of the same name.  This Kopitiam food court is located on level 4, and can be a little difficult to spot.

Cai Gen Xiang 菜根香 Vegetarian Cuisine
Location: Level 4, Kopitiam, Hougang Mall

Contact: Unknown
Opening Hours: Daily

As I mentioned recently on my facebook page, this stall is probably one of the most expensive I've been to - In terms of economical rice and dishes.  The word 'economical' is almost becoming a joke now.  I paid $4.70 for brown rice, mushroom, bittergourd and mock meat on a separate visit.  That is $1.20 more expensive than their cook to order dishes - Absolute insanity.

菜根香 has a separate poster advertising Laksa as their signature dish.  In terms of 2013, I feel privileged that I have eaten laksa at its very best at YWQ Vegetarian, which was one of the most impressive dishes I've eaten this year.  A consequence of this, however, is that every laksa I consume following this seems terribly ordinary.  It is like visiting Mount Everest and then going to Bukit Timah hill the next day.  To be fair, this is not a terrible laksa, and the paste used does seem to be made fresh (not from a packet like most places).  However, I didn't find that the laksa gravy had enough diversity in flavour.  Moreover, the bowl is riddled with noodles, but doesn't contain enough of the other ingredients.

Price: $3.50.     6/10

Conclusion - This vegetarian stall at Hougang Mall probably represents the most disappointing vegetarian eatery in the Hougang area.  For those visiting Hougang, I recommend visiting excellent eateries such as Divine Realm and Divine Vegetarian Family instead - You will find better quality and more affordable dishes at those eateries.

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

Friday, December 13, 2013

Bespoke Japanese Vegetarian Dining - Bugis

I often get asked where should I bring my family/friends/colleagues for guaranteed high quality vegetarian food.  Bespoke is one of those I always find myself recommending to people, mainly due to the novelty of it being a 100% vegetarian Japanese place.  Recently, Bespoke decided to increase the number of dishes on their menu, so I felt compelled to head down and let you all know what dishes to expect from the new menu.  So, here we go...

Bespoke Japanese Vegetarian Dining
Location: 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-50 Sunshine Plaza
Contact: 63377050
Opening Hours: Daily 11.30am-3.00pm & 5.30pm-10.00pm

Japanese Seaweed Fried Rice was the first dish to be assessed.  Overall this was a decent fried rice, with a glorious smokey aroma, which shimmered through every grain of rice.  The seaweed was also particularly delicious.  It was neither too fishy in taste, nor slimy in texture.  The portion size (like most dishes at Bespoke) is also quite generous, although some may still be a little deterred by the price tag.  An enjoyable fried rice dish.

Price: $8.00.     7/10

As I type this review, there is a tinge of humility that I feel come over me when reflecting on this Gai Lan Sesame Sauce side dish.  Honestly, I was reluctant to order this dish, as it is 'just vegetables' to me.  Believe it or not, this turned out to be the best dish we ordered all meal.  The kai lan itself is perfectly cooked.  I mean perfect.  You couldn't possibly cook this vegetable better.  It was fresh and crunchy, with zero annoying stringy fibre.  The sauce had delicious roasted sesame flavour (gomadare), matched with slight acidity (ponzu sauce) and salt from light sauce.  I felt like losing all social inhibitions and licking the sauce from the plate like gleeful golden retriever.  Simple is sometimes best.

Price: $4.00.     9/10
Another new dish to grace the menu is the Tomato Meat Sauce on Rice.  I was quite disappointed to discover upon sinking my spoon into the food, that a layer of melted cheese was nesdtled between the rice and sauce.  For vegetarians, I am sure this cheese will have you giggling with delight.  For vegans, it is a bit of an unwelcome surprise (especially as it is not indicated at all on the menu).  The flavour of the meat sauce is exactly like a stereotypical pasta sauce, which would have perhaps worked better as a baked rice.  Overall a good quality dish.

Price: $9.00.     7/10

Dumpling with Five Kind Vege was the next dish to arrive to our cramped table.  Presentation wise, there is not much to complain about.  The raging fire beneath a stone cube looked magnificent.  However, overall this was probably the most forgettable dish of the evening.  Bespoke still has salt problems in some of their dishes (which I've addressed in previous posts).  This dish is simply too salty, I would not be doing my duty as a food writer if I said otherwise. The dumpling skin is decent, but I found the filling to be too overwhelmed by the conglomeration of herbs used.  Definitely some significant improvements can be made to this dish.

Price: $10.00.     6/10
I always love ordering the Avocado Maki and Unagi Maki from Bespoke, both never fail to disappoint me.  As I'm vegan, I always request for the mayo (which is not vegan) to be excluded from the sushi - Although most of the time the staff forget and I ultimately have to get it sent back again.  It is difficult to pick a winner in this maki vs maki battle, but I would have to say unagi is my favourite.  Pluck one of these beauties from the plate, dip it liberally in wasabi infused light soy, slot it in your mouth and you will be in heaven.

Price: $12.00.     Avocado - 8/10, Unagi - 9/10

Lastly, we decided to order one of the new set meals, which was the Buta Shoga Set. The focal point of this dish is the mixed vegetable stir-fried pork style plate.  The mock pork used was pretty decent, although the overall salt levels were a little too high once again.  Most the set meals at Bespoke come with their delightful radish salad, which never fails to disappoint.  Rice, soup, soft tofu and pudding dessert are the other components to this set meal.  I still prefer the unagi don set and green tea soba set personally.

Price: $14.50.     6/10

Conclusion - I would happily pay $40 and order 10 plates of sesame kai lan, and munch away with joy on them. The kai lan is a must order, and was undoubtedly the highlight of the new menu.  The rest of the new dishes were a bit hit and miss for me, honestly.  I wish they would clearly indicate which dishes are vegan on the menu, otherwise Bespoke will inevitably end up feeling the wrath of vegans who order dishes that secretly have cheese or other animal products inside.  Bespoke is still one of the best vegetarian places in Singapore, with some really outstanding dishes.  If they could control their salt levels, it would rank even higher.

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

Monday, December 9, 2013

Rao He Night Market 饒河夜市 - Taiwan

Almost every tourist visiting Taiwan will inevitably be spending a few days in the capital city of Taipei.  Most of these tourist will definitely want to experience Taiwan's infamous night markets.  Rather mistakenly - In my opinion, at least - Tourists always flock to Shilin Night Market.  This is a huge night market, but bigger is not always better.  Rao He is one of the oldest night markets in Taiwan, and is still one of the best.  I will be reviewing a series of Taiwan night markets in the future, taking a look at what vegetarian offerings are available at each one.

View Larger Map
Rao He Night Market
Location: Raohe Street, Songshan District, Taipei City, Taiwan
Opening Hours: Daily from 6pm until late

As you first enter the night market you will see a pretty decent Smelly Tofu stall.  The texture of this tofu is nice and crisp, and the flavour is quite mild.  Although it definitely doesn't rank as one of the best smelly tofu's in Taiwan, it certainly makes for an enjoyable way to kick-off night market experience at Rao He. 

Price: NT40.00.     7/10 

One of the signature stalls at Rao He is definitely the BBQ King Oyster Mushroom stall.  Actually, there are two of these stalls both within Rao He.  When placing your order, you have the option of choosing a variety of flavours - Such as BBQ, tom yam, lime etc. These are (obviously) all written in Chinese, if you can't read or speak Chinese, then you are going to be left feeling very hungry and frustrated at Rao He.

Price: NT40.00.     8/10

Another interesting stall at Rao He is selling Peanut Ice Cream Wrap.  This is a 100% vegetarian stall, but the ice cream has milk, so not suitable for vegans.  Fresh coriander was used inside the wrap, and made for a captivating contrast, when merged with the peanut ice cream.

Price: NT40.00.     7/10

Desserts are plentiful also, this large stall on the corner of a side street is selling many varieties of Chilled Beancurd.  A good place to sit down and temporarily escape the bustle of the market.

Price: NT40.00.     6/10

Conclusion - Throughout my entire Taiwan stay, Rao He market was one of those that I really enjoyed.  I even returned back there for a second time.  The single road stretch is surprisingly long.  Like all night markets in Taiwan, it is better to get there early and avoid it on weekends.  My personal favourite is the grilled mushrooms!  


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Go Vegetarian - Choa Chu Kang

For those living in the West of Singapore - Yes, I know, I have been neglecting you.  I am doing my best to haul myself over to the West as much as I can, so that I can review new stalls in that area.  One place that was recommended to me a long time ago was this NTUC Foodfare food court stall at block 303.  Olive fried rice is one of the best sellers at this eggless vegetarian stall.  Let's see how this place fares...

Go Vegetarian
Location: #01-723, Blk 303 Choa Chu Kang Ave 4

Contact: Unknown
Opening Hours: Daily

Here is a look at some of the dishes on offer.  All dishes range from $3.00-$4.00.

Does anyone know anywhere that actually serves pineapple fried rice inside a pineapple, as pictured?  Anyway, here is a look at the other side of the menu.

Here is a look at the ready made dishes.  As it was around 1pm when I visited, most of the food had been sold.
Considering how this stall has a reputation for good Olive Fried Rice, I certainly had to try it for myself.  The portion size of this dish was not too bad, and it was certainly full of ingredients.  The let down for this dish was the hideous clumps of salt that could be found nestled in the rice.  This occasionally caused a gritty texture when chewing, and an excessive salt level in general.  I also would have liked a greater wok aroma from this fried rice.  Acceptable, but would have been far more enjoyable with a regulated salt level.

Price: $3.50.     6/10

Despite the potential embarrassment of sitting in bustling food court eating two dishes simultaneously by myself - I still went ahead and ordered Mee Goreng also.  Regrettably, this was quite a lackluster amateurish attempt at mee goreng.  Personally, it is an unforgivable sin to exclude any lime in mee goreng.  The acidity of the lime acts as a balancer to heat of the chilli.  Without the lime, the overall flavour is pretty one dimensional.  The ingredients (which were chopped as if done by a 5 year old) were acceptable, and the noodles bouncy.  But overall the flavour just wasn't there for me.

Price: $3.50.     5/10

Conclusion - Nothing special here really.  The olive fried rice could have been good, but unfortunately it was ruined by a salt-crazed chef.  The mee goreng has a lot of areas of improvement, before it can be considered a decent dish.  Not a stall I would return to again, unless I really had no other choice.

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