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Friday, February 28, 2014

Keat Lim Vegetarian Food - Ang Mo Kio

One of the eateries I've received most feedback urging me to visit over the last few months has definitely been Keat Lim.  I have Lixuan, Wuxin and a number of other anonymous readers to thank for this suggestion.  Keat Lim is one of those common general names given to vegetarian stalls.  Other Keat Lim stalls can be found in Kallang, Whampoa and Bedok - As far as I know only one is the same owner.  Which is at 4 Jalan Ayer.

Keat Lim Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 108 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 (new location as of June 2016
Contact: 96932138

Opening Hours: Daily 11.00am-9.45pm

First thing one notices about this stall is the sheer size of it.  Keat Lim occupies a huge area in this coffee shop.  It is so big they even have their own cashier counter.  Of course, it is mostly true that bigger is not always better.  But the size of their kitchen definitely helps them produce a large and varied menu (around 90 dishes in total).  This stall is feverishly popular with Ang Mo Kio residents.  If you're planning to visit this stall during the 1st & 15th of the Chinese lunar calendar, then you could realistically be waiting 30-40 minutes for your food to arrive.  We were there around 6pm (on a regular day) and waited about 20 minutes.
Here is a look at the front page of the menu.  For those opposed to mock meat, you may find that there are not enough pure vegetable dishes on the menu.  Keat Lim has a number of signature dishes - Customers rave most highly about their buttered frog legs, beancurd hotplate and claypot nyonya fish.
The reverse side of the menu.  All items are void of egg.
First dish to arrive was Keat Lim's famous Claypot Nyonya Mock Fish.  Overall it must be said, this is an outstanding dish, and probably the best claypot curry I've eaten in Singapore.  The fragrance of the curry sauce is wonderful, particularly elevated by the use of curry leaves.  The long beans, ladyfingers and eggplant were fried prior to being added into the curry, which ensured they were cooked well and had extra flavour.  The curry arrive bubbling hot, I even burnt my tongue slightly, as I couldn't resist slurping some of the fresh curry sauce.  Definitely a 'must order' dish. Note - Subsequently, I found this curry contains milk, vegans do not order.

Price: $8.00.     9/10

We then moved onto another of Keat Lim's signature dishes, the Hotplate Beancurd.  Once again, this dish arrives sizzling and bubbling violently, so customers really should wait 5-10 minutes before eating it.  Most of the cze char dishes at this eatery come in two sizes - Regular ($8) and large ($12).  The tofu in this dish is soft and melts in the mouth, whilst the vegetables (such as corn, peas, capsicum) are still nice and crunchy.  The sauce base was good, but nothing exceptional.  A good solid dish overall, but not equal to the sensational claypot curry.

Price: $8.00.     7/10
Lastly, we decided to pick one of their lesser known dishes, to get a more balanced opinion.  This is their Ee-Fu Noodle.  The chef in charge of preparing this job did an excellent job cooking the noodles.  They were bouncy and fresh and went well with the mushrooms and leafy vegetables.  Unfortunately, this dish falls short in lack of aroma.  On the plate it looked amazing, smelt amazing, but ultimately didn't have any smokey aroma whatsoever.  The quality of this dish is fair enough for the price, but not one that I would consider ordering again.

Price: $3.00.     6/10

Conclusion - In this humble food bloggers opinion, Ang Mo Kio ranks as one of the best vegetarian districts in Singapore (runner-up only to Bedok and Little India).  Keat Lim is a stall that would rank as one of AMK's best vegetarian stalls, with the claypot fish curry especially blowing my mind.  It is one of those stalls worth visiting numerous times, to allow yourself to sample more and more of the dishes from this heady menu.  Keat Lim has definitely won me over as a regular customer.

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

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Guest Recipe - Vegan Soft Pretzels

Hi, I’m Yishuai, a vegan for almost 5 years! Morethanveggies is a virtual space to share my food experiments and reviews. In real life I study landscape architecture – working with nature to design enjoyable spaces for all. Really happy to be featured on Hungry Ang Mo, I’m sharing a recipe for soft pretzels!

We all love baked goodies because it’s warm, soft, sweet or savoury. People often ask, ‘What baked foods can vegans eat without the butter, eggs and dairy?’ As a fan of baking I’d say we don’t need those, as there are vegan alternatives available! Here’s a basic soft pretzel recipe using vegan butter and healthier ingredients. The fun part is creating the flavours – sugar crusted, salty or herb-infused.. possibilities are endless!
Vegan soft pretzels – makes 8-10 pieces

2 ½ cups plain flour (2 cups if you want to use whole wheat flour)
2 ¼ teaspoon yeast
1 ½ tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup water, warmed to 35-40 C
¼ cup melted vegan butter, more for brushing (I used Nuttelex Olive. Same amount of olive oil can be used as healthier alternative) 

In a small bowl mix the water with sugar and yeast. Within a few minutes it should start becoming frothy. Leave it aside for now. In a large bowl, mix flour, sugar, salt. Add the yeast mixture with melted butter/oil in, mix until it forms a dough. (Picture 1)


Sprinkle a flat surface with flour and knead the dough until it springs back when pressed. Place dough in a large bowl, cover and let it rise for 30 to 90 minutes at room temperature. It will grow to about twice the original size. Now pinch a small handful of dough and shape into a 30-40cm long roll. (Pic 2)


Preheat oven to 210C. Place the ends together, overlap and twist them into a pretzel. Do this till all dough is used. Transfer them to a baking tray with baking paper/mat and brush the tops with butter/oil. Now it’s left with placing various flavours on top - you can get creative! Some flavours I tried here are garlic and mixed herbs, cumin and sea salt, salt and pepper, molasses, coconut and brown sugar. (If you like to make a batch with the same flavour, try kneading it into the dough to save time!) (Pic 3)

Bake at 210C for 10-15 minutes, until golden brown. Let cool on a cooling rack before serving. Leftovers can be stored in fridge for 5-7 days. (pic 4)


Thank you for reading and please visit www.morethanveggies.tumblr.com for more recipes! 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Ci Xin Vegetarian Food - Kovan

After receiving a request from one of my readers to head down to Defu Lane 10, I gladly obliged and went down to see what vegetarian stall could be lurking there.  Initially when I arrived at block 32 I suspected it might have all been a cruel prank (it has happened before), as it seemed like this industrial block couldn't possibly be hosting any coffee shop or eating house.  To my relief, after circumnavigating the block I finally found the place.  This eating house is incredibly old fashioned, and it really feels like stepping back in time.  Ci Xin has been existing at this address for over 16 years now.  The stall serves different daily specials everyday, in addition to rice/bee hoon and dishes.

Ci Xin Vegetarian Food
Location: Blk 32, Defu Lane 10, Soon Soon Lai Eating House
Contact: None

Opening Hours: Mon-Sat 6.00am-1.30pm.  Closed Sunday

The daily special for today was Mee Siam, and so that is what I ordered.  This was a well cooked mee siam overall, with a nice amount of ingredients inside (I particularly loved the cubes of tofu).  I thought that the soup/gravy base could have been a little thicker (it was very watery), but for just $2.50 it would be criminal to complain too much.  

Price: $2.50.     7/10

Conclusion - Ci Xin is a stall that has stood the test of time, and has a positive following from the workers and individuals living in the Defu Lane area.  This entire coffee shop is worth visiting, as this old design can barely be found in Singapore these days.  With Singapore so concerned with making everywhere so brand new and squeaky clean, it is nice to escape that pretentious falseness and head to a place like this, which has heart and identity.

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

Friday, February 21, 2014

Take Vege Vegetarian Garden - Ang Mo Kio

I've gotten to the stage now where hungryangmo.com has reviewed almost every vegetarian restaurant/shop house in Singapore.  Every now and then, however, places like Take Vege seemingly spring up from no where, out of the woodwork.  Perhaps the reason for Take Vege's stealthy existence is the geographical location.  It can be a somewhat tedious (by Singapore standards) journey to get to this eatery, with no MRT nearby.  On the plus side, it is near to Bishan Park, which can make for a nice romantic evening walk after dinner.

Take Vege Vegetarian Garden
Location: #01-1881, Blk 332 Ang Mo Kio Avenue 1
Contact: 83606038
Opening Hours: Daily 9.00am-3.00pm & 5.00pm-9.00pm

UPDATED 15/04/2014 - Moved to 865 Mountbatten Road, Katong Shopping Centre #01-41 Singapore 437844

Here is a look at the inside of the place.  It was completely empty when I visited.
The menu at Take Vege is huge.  There are countless pages, with almost every Chinese dish imaginable.  Definitely customers will have ample options to choose from.
The pages seemed to be never ending, which really caused me to struggle in terms of what to pick.  There is a black and white page, which has more affordable dishes.
I was in a noodle mood on this particular day, so I went for the Chicken Fried Hand Made Noodles.  As the noodles were handmade, the quality and texture was excellent.  However, I found this dish diferred greatly from what it looked like in the picture.  Especially in terms of the mock meat.  The picture showed several slices of mock chicken resting on top of the noodles.  In reality, the mock meat barely existed at all.  Having said that, the portion size is still pretty generous for just four bucks.

Price: $4.00.     7/10

The second dish I sampled was simply named Monkey Head Mushrooms.  What this dish lacks for in terms of name originality, it makes up for in presentation and taste.  The dish is beautifully presented, causing droplets of drool to almost slide out of the corners of my mouth.  The vegetables were fresh and crunchy, and the monkeyhead mushroom was juicy and chewy.  The sauce was mild, but matched well with the ingredients.  The biggest downside is the price - It is a small portion, and rightfully should be reduced by at least two dollars in price.

Price: $10.00.     6/10

Conclusion - With a menu this size, it is difficult for myself as a food reviewer to get an accurate gague on just how good or bad Take Vege is, as I only sampled two dishes.  This is an eatery which would require several visits, in order to get a more accurate opinion.  Out of the two dishes I tried, it definitely seems like a promising place.

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

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Ruyi Yuan Vegetarian - Redhill

I recently stumbled upon a few nice little vegetarian stalls at the Redhill area.  The stall that rises above the rest as the biggest fan favourite is definitely Ruyi.  This stall specialises in white bee hoon, but also sells other dishes on different days.  The staff are friendly and hard-working.  This is one of those stalls that has a daunting queue on 初一十五, so best to avoid then.  The opening times for this stall definitely suits early birds, as it opens even before sunrise.  So, let's see how good their famous white bee hoon really is...

Ruyi Yuan Vegetarian
Location: Stall 4, Blk 80 Redhill Lane

Contact: 97124621
Opening Hour: Daily 5.30am-12.00pm.  Off on alternate Mondays.

So here we have the famous Ruyi White Been Hoon and Dishes.  One thing I think everyone will love about this dish is the sheer variety of ingredients placed on the plate.  There is mock char siew, mock duck, different varieties of tofu, cabbage and fried beancurd sheets.  All of the ingredients merge perfectly together, and have top notch taste.  The bee hoon is firm and flavourful.  The enjoyment of this dish will be maximized by having pickled green chilli on the side.  One of the best bee hoon and dishes that I've had in Singapore.

Price: $3.00.     10/10

Conclusion - If you're someone on a quest to find awesome vegetarian bee hoon in Singapore, then Ruyi Yuan is definitely a stall you will want to consider paying a visit to.  Aside from bee hoon, this stall sells a handful of other dishes that customers can try.

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

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Vegan Chocolate Mousse

Vegan Chocolate Mousse Recipe

This chocolate mousse recipe is quick, simple and absolutely delicious.  The texture and taste of this mousse is just like the real thing.  It even has the small pockets of air inside the pudding!  Even though tofu is used to make this dessert, there is really no way of telling (both in terms of taste and texture) that it is made from tofu.  Anyone and everyone can make this, so give it a go!

Serves 2-3

Silken Tofu - 1 block (I used Unicurd organic silken tofu 300g)
Vegan Chocolate Chips* - 75g or 1/2 cup
Liquid of Choice - 1 TBS (water/soy milk/almond milk/liqueur)
Cocoa Powder - 2 TSP
Vanilla Extract - 1/2 TSP
Salt  - A dash (I highly recommend using Himalayan salt)

1.  Combine chocolate chips and liquid of choice into a bowl and microwave until chips are melted.
2.  Into a blender, add the chocolate mixture together with the rest of the ingredients and blend on high until the mixture is very smooth.
3.  Divide mixture into 2 to 3 ramekins and refrigerate for at least 30 minutes.

*Ghirardelli Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips is accidentally vegan.

Friday, February 14, 2014

My Vegetarian Way - Raffles Place

As Singapore is embroiled in the traditional of taking meals outside at hawker centres or other eating establishments - We are inevitably faced with quite a dilemma.  How can we access healthy food outside?  Unfortunately, outside food typically has more salt, oil, MSG and other harmful substances than what we would like.  My Vegetarian Way offers an escape from strong flavoured unhealthy food, and instead provides some of the healthiest vegan food that I've even seen inside a hawker centre.  My Vegetarian Way has been running at Golden Shoe for over six years now.

My Vegetarian Way
Location: #03-24, 50 Market Street (Golden Shoe Market & Food Centre)
Contact: 92385680
Opening Hours: Mon-Fri 8.00am-3.30pm.  Weekends closed. 

CLOSED DOWN - As of 09/12/2014 (Owner is planning to open again in a new location)

The My Vegetarian Way menu has different daily specials every day.  The stall prides itself on using no mock meats, no deep frying, and all natural ingredients (some of which are organic).  They also aim to use as little salt and oil as possible.  But the big question is, will this leave the food tasting too bland?  Let's find out...

The first dish that came to our table was the Brown Rice Porridge.  This porridge tasted...Healthy.  Ok, I admit it, Chinese porridge probably ranks bottom of my list of dishes that I crave for.  With that being said, this porridge manages to capture a quite delightful creamy texture (all the more impressive as it is vegan).  The taste is subtle, and may be considered bland by some.  But personally it was pretty enjoyable overall - That is saying a lot coming from me.

Price: $1.50.     7/10

Next dish sampled was the Fried Hor Fun.  No, don't adjust your screens, the picture is indeed fried hor fun. The chef at My Vegetarian Way has done their best to make this dish as healthy as conceivably possible.  It is not fried, and a great deal of fresh crunchy vegetables have been added inside.  This dish should be eaten immediately upon serving, when it is fresh.  It is another dish which has very subtle flavours, but it goes perfectly with the pumpkin chilli (see below), which customers can help themselves to at the front of the stall.

Price: $3.50.     7/10

Customers who find the food too bland are urged to add this pumpkin chilli to their food.  This chilli paste is really delicious.
Lastly, we have the Lei Cha.  This Hakka dish, also known as 'thunder tea rice' is by default extremely healthy.  It is a dish that allows the natural flavour of the ingredients to shine.  Rather than relying on salt, MSG and other harmful flavour enhancers.  Lei cha is one of my girlfriends favourite dishes, so I'm often coaxed into ordering it when out and about.  I've slowly started to gain a greater appreciation for this dish.  But irregardless of taste, this is a dish we should all be eating on a regular basis, to increase our overall health and longevity.

Price: $4.00.     7/10

Conclusion - It is important that customers who visit My Vegetarian Way adjust their expectations.  Yes, the food may seem bland to many of us - Because we have been brought up our entire lives eating strong tasting foods.  We need to go back to simplicity, and this stall is a great example of how to do that.  If every typical bee hoon/rice and dishes vegetarian stall in Singapore was replaced with stalls like My Vegetarian Way, the country would definitely be a healthier and better place.

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

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Miao Shan Vegetarian - Serangoon

Regular readers of my website will know that I often whinge about the lack of vegetarian options at NEX shopping centre (Serangoon).  Recently, one of my readers educated me on some of the vegetarian options available close to NEX.  Miao Shan is geographically the closest to NEX (just a 5 minute walk), so it can really be a valuable option for hungry vegetarians at NEX.  Not only is it close by, but the food pricing is wonderfully cheap.  The only negative is that the stall closes at 1.30pm.  So if you're in the Serangoon area in the evening, this stall will be closed.  The other vegetarian stall (called Su Shi Piao Xiang, which is open morning, noon and night) in close proximity to NEX is at block 2 Lor Liew Lian, that will take you 10 minutes to walk to, though.

Miao Shan Vegetarian
Location: Blk 262 Serangoon Central Drive,
#01-89 (L.A KOPI coffee shop)
Contact: None
Opening Hours: Daily 6.00am-1.30pm

Honestly, I wasn't expecting much from this stall, but after chatting with the friendly husband and wife duo who run this shop, I left with a totally different opinion.  Customers who are visiting Miao Shan should immediately focus their attention on the 'Today Special' signboard on the left hand side.  This stall has daily specials, which change every day.  This stall has been running at block 262 for almost four years now.  On the 1st and 15th of the month (Chinese calendar) the stall owner has many more special dishes for customers to try.
I decided to select the Char Siew Rice to try first.  This dish comes with plain rice, cabbage mixed vegetable, char siew and orange chilli.  The mock char siew is thinly sliced and deliciously sweet and smokey in flavour.  The texture of the rice was perfectly done, especially as I am someone who prefers harder rice.  A really delicious dish overall, especially after smearing the orange chilli sauce all over the ingredients.

Price: $3.00.     8/10

On my second visit they had Lor Mee as one of their daily specialsWhat I love about this stall is the owner asks questions to determine the customers preference.  Restaurant/stall owners pay attention to this - For this dish, the stall owner asked me - Would you like chilli?  How much?  Would you like vinegar?  Do you want it more/less salty?  Which type of noodle would you like?  This allows the customer to get the dish they personally prefer.  Instead of some eateries who ignorantly serve egg/onion/garlic/spicy/milk dishes to customers without bothering to ask questionsThis lor mee is exceptional, I asked for extra vinegar, which really took this dish to another level.  The gravy is thick and starchy, and the amount of ingredients are diverse and delicious.  For $2.50, what is there left to do but stand up and applaud.

Price: $2.50.     9/10

The next time I visited Miao Shan was on a Tuesday, and their daily specials were fried rice and Mee Siam. Again, this was another good quality dish.  I can honestly say all of the dishes from Miao Shan are great.  Some of the ingredients in this dish are similar to the lor mee.  The mee rebus gravy is thick and moreish.  Pieces of cubed fried tofu act as a good replacement to the more traditional boiled egg.

Price: $2.50.     7/10

Another day, another daily special.  This time it was the Chicken Rice.  Once again, this dish had perfectly cooked rice, which is both flavourful and firm in texture.  The mock chicken is derived from beancurd sheets.  This dish bears a lot of similarities to the char siew rice, as many of the components are the same.

Price: $3.00.     7/10

Conclusion - For my food reviews, I almost always visit the stall/restaurant just once, write my review and then that is that.  For Miao Shan, I visited this stall on four occasions - I hope that can emphasise how highly I rate this stall.  This stall has two important qualities which make it so exceptional - Fantastic quality food and stall owners who genuinely care about their customers and the food they serve. 

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

Friday, February 7, 2014

Cafe Salivation - Farrer Park

Cafe Salivation is an eatery I've praised very highly on my blog for a number of years now.  I've always loved the creative Western menu, and the fresh and colourful interior design of the place.  Recently, Cafe Salivation moved from its old home at Syed Alwi Road, and switched to 176 Race Course Road.  Although this new location is technically closer to the Farrer Park MRT (just a two minute walk from Exit D), it is on a pretty deserted section of Race Course Road, which doesn't get many passersby.  Frankly, I feel like their old location was much better.  My last reviews of Cafe Salivation were back in 2009 and 2011.  So, let's see how Cafe Salivation has evolved in 2014...

Cafe Salivation
176 Race Course Road
Contact: 62981412
Opening Hours: Daily 10am-10:30pm

Even though the location has changed, the funky 70's style interior design has remained almost the same.  Cafe Salivation is one of those restaurants which really excels in ambiance.  It is an ideal place to host a birthday party or other similar sorts of gatherings.
Another look at the splendid interior design of Cafe Salivation.  It should be worth noting the menu is an absolute nightmare for vegans.  Almost every dish contains dairy.
Cafe Salivation have a number of interesting burgers to order, but I was most curious to try their Middle Eastern Burger.  From the menu description, it promised to have raisins and tahini inside.  Unfortunately, I couldn't detect any sweetness from raisins, and I didn't taste any tahini inside either.  The portion size is pretty small for the price, and the burger is almost impossible to eat.  The burger patty slides around way too much, and the bottom of the burger was very soggy.  The only highlight of this dish were the fluffy chips.  The burger itself (vegans make sure to ask for cheese to be removed) I found incredibly mundane.

Price: $9.50.     5/10

Next dish we tried was the Desi Sandwich.  This is truly a fusion sandwich, with Indian green chilli chutney used as a spread.  Once again, vegans be careful - You must request this dish to be void of cheese.  Inside this sandwich is potato, tomato and cucumber.  Overall the flavour of this sandwich was really flat, with the spiciness of the chilli being the only real flavour coming out.  The bread was toasted very well, but it really needed more flavours to leap out from it.  Slightly more appetising than the burger, but not by much.  Once again, a steep price to pay.

Price: $9.00.     6/10

Conclusion - It is really disappointing to see the standards have dropped at Cafe Salivation.   A once great restaurant, which is a shell of its former self now.  Although the ambiance of this eatery is still terrific, the restaurant is ultimately struggling to get customers, due to the location change.  The new location, combined with a significant dip in the food standard means there is real concern for the future of Cafe Salivation.

Overall Rating
Food - 5/10
Ambiance- 9/10
Service - 6/10
Value - 5/10

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Vegan Budae Jjigae (Korean Army Stew) Recipe

Korean Army Stew Recipe (Budae Jjigae)

I received quite an overwhelming number of 'likes' on the Hungry Ang Mo Facebook recently, when I posted a picture of the Korean kimchi hotpot stew, which we enjoyed for our Chinese New Year reunion dinner.  This broth really captures sensational flavours.  Moreover, it is incredibly simple to make, so no matter what your skill level in the kitchen, you will be able to make this dish.

The ingredients list and instructions below.  Enjoy!

Korean Hot Pepper Paste (Gochujang) - 4 TBS
Miso Paste - 2 TBS
Nutritional Yeast (optional) - 2 TBS
Sliced Onion (optional) - 1 large
Vegetarian Kimchi* - 1/2 cup or 250g
Vinegar (any type - optional) - 1/2 TBS
Sesame Oil - 2 TSP

Mock Meats (luncheon meat, sausages etc)
Wombok - 1/2
Firm Tofu (sliced) - 1 block
Enoki Mushrooms - 1 to 2 packets
Korean Ramen Packet - 1 to 2 packets
Baked Beans - 1 tin
Rice Cakes (optional)

1.  Start by layering the sliced onions at the bottom of the hotpot.
2.  Combine hot pepper paste, miso, nutritional yeast, sesame oil and vinegar and place it in the pot.
3.  Layer the rest of the ingredients on top (excluding ramen) and put enough water to cover it all.
4.  Bring it to a boil.
5.  Serve, whilst letting it simmer on low in the hotpot.
6.  Add the ramen halfway through (you may need to add more water, as it does absorb a lot of the soup).
7.  Done

*You may buy bottled vegetarian kimchi at any health food stores (such as Yes Natural).  It is saltier and less tart than regular non-vegetarian kimchi, so you may want to compensate for the lack of tartness by adding some vinegar into the broth.

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