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Friday, March 14, 2014

Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant - Hougang

I found myself scrolling through the older posts on my blog recently, and realised that it has been almost five years since I originally reviewed Divine Realm.  For those who have scanned through my Top 10 Vegetarian Eateries list, you will know that Divine Realm has been on that list for years.  People from near and far come to this eatery, which is nestled away in the Hougang heartland.  If you're visiting on weekends (or even worse - 1st & 15th) then be prepared to wait a while before being served.



Divine Realm Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: 501 Hougang Avenue 8, #01-630 

Contact: 63872058
Opening Hours: Daily 7:00am-9:30pm.  Closed Wednesday

IMPORTANT UPDATE (10/10/2016) - Divine Realm at Hougang no longer serve their famous tze char dishes.  They are now only serving handmade noodles and other dishes, due to complaints by residents in the above blocks.  However, Divine Realm have opened a second outlet under the name SHU VEGETARIAN at Jalan Kayu, which will sell all their famous tze char items.

Over the years, the menu has remained much the same.  There is an impressive selection of over 100 dishes to choose from - These include ramen, dim sum, Western and more.  This establishment has for years been known for their mesmerizing handmade noodle dishes.  Unfortunately, due to a change in their staff, the noodles are no longer handmade.  But the owners have assured me that they will do their best to bring back their signature handmade noodles in the future.  As a consolation, the noodle dishes are still excellent - Even if the noodles are not handmade.


If you're visiting Divine Realm, it is worth taking a peek at the signboards at the front of the eatery.  These posters highlight special dishes (which can't be found on the menu).
Here I am posing with the dedicated boss of Divine Realm.  Not only is he the owner, but I would regard him as one of the most naturally gifted chefs I've met in Singapore.

Fried rice is one of the most world renowned Chinese food items, yet it is one that takes specially acquired skill to master.  The Tom Yam Fried Rice from Divine Realm was certainly decent, with undertones of Thai tom yam flavour, with perfectly cooked rice.  I did, however, find it was lacking in that essential wok aroma, which should shimmer throughout any good fried rice.  By no means a poor dish though.

Price: $3.50.     7/10


After chatting away with the owner, I found out that sometimes customers request for specific dishes to be made, and usually these wishes are fulfilled.  This Sambal Petai with Eggplant is an example of one of those dishes which can't be found anywhere on the menu, but was simply request by a customer one day.  Amazingly, this was my favourite dish of the evening.  The eggplant, which was deskinned and fried prior, had a sensational slightly crisp outer structure, and a delightful creamy center.  The dish is not too spicy, and the textural firmness of the nutritious petai beans match well with the eggplant.  Any customer can specifically request for this dish, and I definitely recommend doing so - It is amazing.

Price: $10.00.     9/10
One of my personal favourite dishes, this is the Claypot Vinegar Pig Trotters.  Overall, this is one of the better versions of this classic confinement dish that I've tried.  I loved the black beans and fungus used, but I was less of a fan of the mock meat used to replicate the actual trotter.  The hero of the dish is the sauce though - Without question the best vinegar trotter sauce I've indulged in so far.  It was an ideal mixture of zesty sweetness and comforting warmth from the ginger.  Another dish I would highly recommend ordering.

Price: $10.00.     8/10


One of the signature dishes of Divine Realm is the Yam Basket.  Personally, I'm not a big fan of yam basket, and will never order when eating at Chinese restaurants.  But this version did allow me to learn to appreciate this dish a little more.  I loved the diversity of ingredients that could be found inside the basket - Carrots, capsicum, cashews, monkey head mushroom and shitake mushroom could all be found inside.  The yam was fried delicately, with the yam itself being creamy and slightly sweet.

Price: $15.00.     8/10












Here I am with the lady boss, and all the kind-hearted staff of Divine Realm.












Conclusion - Being a food blogger, it is a prerequisite that I travel around different eateries week in week out.  Due to nature of this aforementioned lifestyle, I seldom become a regular customer at any places.  Having said that, I have been eating regularly at Divine Realm for almost seven years now and always find myself returning here.  I would be willing to make the argument that Divine Realm serves the best Chinese food in Singapore - It is practically flawless.  If you haven't tried this place yet, don't deprive yourself of this gem for much longer.

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

8 comments:

  1. Hi Luke sorry for being blunt but I really think you have over graded their food. I went there a few times and the food is not even as good or value for money as other Divine veg family restaurant also located at hougang.as for their service, I think they treat you specially because I dont see that kind of warm friendly reception given to customers during the few times im there.

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    Replies
    1. Hey Laura,

      Thanks for sharing your opinion. In terms of treating me special, yes I admit the owners know who I am, and therefore always go the extra mile for me. Having said that, I have known some of these workers for years, before I even started blogging - Personally, I've always found them friendly to me. Of course everyone has a different opinion based on their experiences.

      Divine Family is a good place too. But personally I find Divine Realm to be superior in quality (just my opinion) - And if you see my FB page you will see many customers also wrote in agreement to my verdict on Divine Realm. Believe me, I don't get swayed by special treatment. I always speak as honestly as possible. Like I said in my post, I eat here literally all the time, so I've seen Divine Realm on good days and bad days - But I still maintain it's one of the best places for vegetarian food in Singapore. :)

      Luke

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  2. Hi luke, I agree with laura that the food is not that nice.

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  3. I think quite nice leh. Different people like different things ba.

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  4. Yeah agree this is personal preference man. Personally, I enjoy their food though.

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  5. service is pretty much off the charts awful with the exception of a couple of waiters.. never in your face rude but sort of passive aggressive..strange because it is not a big outfit and there always seems to be at least 5 staff about...good thing the food is good!

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  6. Totally agreed Divine Realm served one of the best vegetarian food, varieties n service are also top. Also agreed by all our vegetarian friends that frequently visited this special place. :-D

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