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Saturday, July 26, 2014

Miao Yi Vegetarian Restaurant - Chinatown

Vegetarian dim sum!  Singapore has a great abundance and diversity when it comes to vegetarian food.  But one aspect of Chinese cooking that is noticeably lacking is dim sum.  Yes, I am aware that places like Ling Zhi are offering dim sum, but frankly I found the quality to be nothing short of awful.  So it is easy to see that Singapore is desperately crying out for a good vegetarian dim sum place - Xin Man Yuan may be the answer to those cries.  This traditional style vegetarian eatery opened its doors recently in Chinatown.  Don't be confused, this place is located at People's Park Centre, not People's Park Complex.










Miao Yi Vegetarian Restaurant
Location: #03-32, 101 Upper Cross St, People's Park Centre

Contact: 64380048
Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-10.00pm 

Update - Take note that Xin Man Yuan and Miao Yi are/were under the same owner.  Subsequently, Miao Yi shifted from their old location and merged together with Xin Man Yuan at the above location.  This eatery now goes by the name Miao Yi.

 
There are two options at Xin Man Yuan, you can either opt for the buffet spread, which costs $18.80++.  Or you can order from the a la carte menu.  Here is a look at the buffet spread.
If you're ordering the buffet spread, you can order dim sum, but only a limited amount.  Pictured left are the types you can order. 
The interior of Xin Man Yuan is nothing unusual.  If you've visited traditional Chinese eateries like Miao Yi and Lotus, then the vibe of this place will be very familiar.
Here is a look at the full dim sum menu.  There is an incredibly impressive array of selections, most priced at $4.50. 
The a la carte menu is quite extensive, but has the typical array of Chinese dishes.  Many of the dishes are quite mock meat heavy.
I won't deny that the main reason for my excitement to visit Xin Man Yuan was to try the dim sum.  My first selection was the Delicious Chestnuts Siew Mai.  Immediately upon sampling this dim sum, it was clear to me that it was miles ahead of any other dim sum I have tried in Singapore.  I have also had the pleasure of trying the supposed best vegetarian dim sum in Hong Kong (Three Virtues), and I would say this is even better.  The skin was soft and delicate, and the mixed mushroom filling was splendid.  Yes, I am sure for non-vegetarians this dish will be missing the taste of smell of pork, but for vegetarian siew mai, this is as good as you will find.

Price: $4.50.     8/10


The next dim sum I picked out was Steamed Veg. Shrimp Dumplings.  This can also otherwise be known as 'har gow' or more accurately put in Chinese 'xia jiao' 虾饺.  This is another synonymous dim sum in Hong Kong, which is a prerequisite 'must order' item.  This dish is basically a steamed Chinese dumpling with a prawn filling.  I loved the fresh taste and distinguishable prawn flavour of this dim sum, and I really had to restrain myself from ordering another 10 portions.

Price: $4.50.     9/10


In my aim to give a professional review of this place, I thought it would only be right if I ordered some items from the a la carte menu.  Overall the dishes I ordered from the menu were really underwhelming when compared with the dim sum.  Starting with the Special Indonesian Curry - 'Special' is certainly one word I wouldn't use to describe this dish.  To the contrary, the flavour of this curry was incredibly bland and flat.  It was almost as if the chef added oil, chilli, turmeric and coconut milk, and then forget to add anything else.  I also found the mock meat used in this curry to be particularly unpleasant.

Price: $10.00.     5/10


Another dish from the menu which fell a little flat with me was the Jin Du Special Ribs.  I've order many mock rib dishes in the past - When I saw this item of the menu it reminded me of the good old days when I would visit Loke Woh Yuen for their amazing mock ribs.  This dish was a far cry from those glory days.  The sweet and sour sauce was really forgettable.  The chef really needs to take lessons in making Cantonese style sauces to really improve this dish.  The mock meat used for the 'ribs' was quite interesting.  It comprised of tube-shaped beancurd.  Interesting choice, but didn't resemble ribs in the slightest.

Price: $10.00.     5/10

Conclusion - If you're looking for good vegetarian dim sum, then Xin Man Yuan is a place I would highly recommend.  Their dim sum is really exceptional, there is no doubting that.  In terms of the rest of the menu, I do think significant improvements need to be made.  But I would definitely return again just for the dim sum.

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

22 comments:

  1. Hi luke,

    we went to xin man yuan this week & did like almost all the 13 dim sum items we ordered except the deep fried taro is too oily. the rice in the lotus leave glutinuous rice is way too soggy while the veg seafood dumpling soup is tasty and salty.

    their friendly staff told us some of the dim sum items do contain Non-vegan margarine & eggs while the veggie curry & laksa in their buffet spread items do contain Non-vegan milk.

    we look fwd to try the other 7 dim sum items that are suitable for vegan but not available on that day. will also check out the buffet again as the buffet spread on that day dont look as appetizing as compared to those offered by lotus veg restn.

    grateful to xin man yuan for their good quality veg dim sum items n hope to visit as often as we can as it cost of 4 us almost S$100 (dim sum, tea, towels, service charges & gst) for a dim sum meal...haha...

    lastly, looking fwd once again to your review on LOVEinBREAD, a New vegan bakery located at No. 6 Raffles Boulevard #B1-18 Marina Square Singapore 039594. (Through Marina Link from Esplanade MRT Station).

    thanks,
    vegan family


    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey vegan family,

      It is a pity to hear that many of their dim sum and menu items are not vegan, hopefully they can make more of their items vegan in the future. But for these sort of traditional eateries, it is very difficult for them to break out of their dairy-loving habits.

      LOVEinBREAD I will be going to review next week! :)

      Luke

      Delete
  2. Wow, I missed ordering the 2 popular Dim Sum last round, must definitely return for them.
    Their buffet dishes certainly needs improvement to look more appetising and tasty for one to trial!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey Sunny,

      Yes I agree, and their menu items need similar improvement. I loved their dim sum though.

      Luke

      Delete
    2. Hi Luke, this restaurant is the sister reataurant of Miao Yi restaurant of coronation plaza. Just confirmed with the manager.

      Delete
    3. Hey Kudo,

      Oh, I didn't know that! Thanks for telling me.

      Luke

      Delete
  3. Hmm just visited with take-aways of the 2 steamed Dim Sum recommended.
    But the standard may not be as good as you had described either according to the chef's mood if it is hand-made and not frozen products found on market steamed or it is not advisable to pack steamed items as they tend to be soggy after travelling....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hey anonymous,

      Definitely I would not take-away dim sum, as it is something that really tastes much better fresh!

      Luke

      Delete
  4. the food n snacks at clover8 in high street was excellent..... the manager Patrick gave an execellent service.... would recommend patrons in high street to try.... no regrets....worth the money....

    ReplyDelete
  5. Love dim sum. Is this place still open?

    ReplyDelete
  6. Is the Dim Sum also include in the buffet?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I believe there are limited dim sum options available in the buffet, but it will be wiser to contact them directly to confirm this.

      Luke

      Delete
  7. Hi, may I know if the siew mai and har gow are vegan? Two most important things for dimsum! Wouldn't mind trying it even if I can't order other dimsum dishes. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Hey anonymous,

    For this, I recommend checking directly with the restaurant owner/manage. From what I know it should be vegan, but I can't say for 100% sure, so best to check directly with them.

    Thanks!
    Luke

    ReplyDelete
  9. I posted the same at VSS Group Facebook page....

    Raymond

    Went Xin Man Yuan over the weekend again, but sadly to say, that will likely be my last patronage of this restaurant.

    More than 1/2 of their dimsum menu items were not available, as they claimed they were "too busy for Chinese New Year". So Xin Man Yuan on that day was practically an air conditioned zi char place, with priced marked at restaurant level.

    Of the very limited dimsum choices we ordered, the siew mai taste almost the same as the instant type i can buy from the Friendly Vegetarian. The Har Gao skin was cold and hard. The lotus leave rice has practically no taste at all. Overall, a great disappointment to the food quality.

    Oh, one more thing. Upon examining the receipt at home, i realised they charged me for " peanuts", apart from the usual ah char and wet tissues. But there was no peanuts at all.

    All things sum up, it will take a lot of convincing for me to patronise this restaurant again.

    ReplyDelete
  10. ITS CLOSED FOR MIAO YI. Relocated to opposite bukit timah shopping centre, menu changed, shop size reduced. TBH, i didnt find this place better than Lotus vegetarian restaurant, or even Lao Di Fang. Well for LDF, it depends on which day u go, coz the chef does change quite often...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks anonymous, I have made the updates now. Take note that unfortunately LDF will also be closing down in September 2016.

      Luke

      Delete
  11. This place no longer serves Dim sum. What a disappointment!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Oh no, wish I had read Maya's comment before making the trip there yesterday! I specifically wanted to try vegetarian dim sum specialities, as never tried dishes like siew mai or har gao. I quite enjoyed the a la carte though.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Hi. I am a bit confused between these 3 vegetarian restaurants. Miao Yi, Miao Xin, and Xin Man Yuan. So does Xin Man yuan and miao yi still exist? Or have they all merged under Miao Xin at Bukit Timah?

    ReplyDelete
  14. Hi Mr. Luke, it's so sad to know that Miao Yi merged with Xin Man Yuan. Firstly I liked that it was close to my house in Bukit Timah, secondly Miao Yi had the most amazing sweet & sour pork ribs, as well as curry. But from the above blog, it's sad to hear it's changed so much... I'll have to try it though, maybe my taste is different from yours :-)

    Divina

    ReplyDelete

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