Monday, October 26, 2009

Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2009

I've blogged about the Phuket Vegetarian Festival 2 years back when I first embarked on the trip. I've been wanting to go again, so this time I went with my parents, together with my aunt and cousin as well. The phuket vegetarian festival is a really big event that's held during the 9th lunar month. For more info, you may click here.
During this period of 10 days, the devotees and those attending the rituals would have to observe vegetarianism diets. Hence it was a true treat for us as vegetarian food is available in almost corner of phuket town.
Im going to introduce the foods that I did not mention in my earlier post.

I did not recall 7-11 has all these set meals available back then. Hence I was very happy when I saw this poster. Loads of set meals and paos available for us! All you need is to heat up in the hotel microwave. We brought 2 sets to try.

Green Curry with Brown Rice Set 35BHT

I'm not a fan of green curry but my cousin who ate this said it wasnt too bad! The authetic taste was there. Comprises of eggplant and some mock meats. It really affordable.

Hong Kong Noodles 35BHT

Comprises of Mushrooms, Cabbage and carrots. Simple but tasty!

Vegetarian Bun 15 BHT
I brought this really last min.. as I wanted to try how the buns taste like. It was surprisingly not bad tasting, not spicy as well. Comprises of Mushrooms and veg.

Potato Snack 20BHT

I was still wondering how come so many people where queuing up to buy this, but I got blown away the moment i ate it. VERY crispy and tasty! It is basically potatoes thats sliced with a special machine into this spiral form, then dipped into some batter before deep-fried. Then topped with the various spice flavours available. We took the hot and spicy flavour. YummY~ Thats my dear cousin posing with the yummy potato.

Coconut Snack 20BHT

I have not idea what is the name of this snack but since its made of coconut fillings, i'm naming it the coconut snack. Tastes heavenly if you love coconuts. The exterior is just a very thin layer of flour, and baked with fresh creamy coconut milk.

Chicken Rice/ Char Siew Rice

I was very happy to find chicken rice and char siew rice too! The sauces made the rice tasty. However the char siew tastes very different from the ones we eat in SG, hence we didn't really like it.

Must buy - Vegetarian Instant Noodles (Tom Yum)

5 of us brought 3 boxes, which is a total of 90 pkts home. Its really good.

It is amazing to find more than 100 stalls selling vegetarian food. Ranging from the normal char kway tiao to noodles soup to mixed veg rice.. they have almost everything you yearn for. However, there are a lot of fried foods too, making it really unhealthy. Hence do CHOOSe wisely. Now that I am back, I gotta go on a detox mode due to the over-eating. My aunt was left very satisfied at the end of the trip and is dreaming about coming back again. I guess I can start organising a yearly vegetarian food tasting trip to Phuket real soon.

Diet: Vegan, no eggs and milk used in all foods sold during this season

Location: All over Phuket Town

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Wedding Review - Happy Restaurant (双喜楼) @ Paya Lebar

Just before I embark on my vegetarian festival Trip..I shall do 1 more post which was provided by my preggie sis, clare. My out-of-touch cousin was hosting his wedding dinner the same night as a close friend of mine.. So the rest of my family members went for his wedding dinner while I was at Swiss. Nonetheless, I reminded my sis to do the review.
No Menu on the table at Happy, so I will name them according to my understanding and experience. My parents were quite looking forward to this meal as it brought them some memories since they held their wedding dinner here 33 years ago too. But well, they were not vegetarians back then.

Cold Cuts Combination

It looked like a combination of my 1st and 3rd dish in a plate! Comprises of Mock Char Siew and Duck, Spring Roll and Crispy Goose. Seems like its missing in beehoon too. the crispy goose was better fried though. Everything is deep fried, so its definitely not suitable for the health enthusiast.

Sharks Fin Soup

Comprises of loads of ingredients like abalone mushrooms, enoki mushrooms and some mock meat. Mum said not too bad.

Golden Duck

Brought directly from the veg supplier, nothing can go wrong with the taste.

Brocolli with Mushrooms

Normal tasting, similar to those sold at tze char stall. The chefs (My mum and aunt) were still commenting that if they add abalone on top will be better.... until...


The next dish came.. and this was served separately.

Stir Fried Cauliflower

Seems to have the same sauce with brocolli earlier. The colour combi is not bad though.

Fei Cui Roll

Mum used to sell this at $3 per roll at her stall. This is one of the nicest mock meat I've tried so far. Easily found at most veg suppliers, but I think the best is from Xiang Xiang. Costs Ard $35 per big pack of 20 rolls I think. Easy to cook, just pan or deep fry will do. Tastes good with Sweet Sauce or Chili.


One of the better dish of the day... loads of veg, carrots and the taste was alright. However, noodles can be a little more dry.

All in all, aint too bad a meal since mostly are brought from the suppliers.

Location: 15 Tanjong Katong Road, Lion City Hotel

Monday, October 19, 2009

Le Cafe Confectionary

Was introduced by bubby (my boss's wife) when she brought this for us sometime back. Le Confectionary is so far the only shop i've known to sell this special tart!
Beancurd Tart $5 for 6 pcs

From the outlook, you may think that this is your usual "egg" tart. However, instead of the high-cholesterol egg, this filling here is actually beancurd (Tao Hway) instead! ALso, the colour is slightly lighter than the usual Yellow. The texture is smoother and softer than egg, doesnt taste too sweet and is encased in a delicious pastry. No pork/lard is used here. However, I believe there is butter or milk in the crust. Hence its not suitable for vegans.

Other than this beancurd tart, the confectionary sells your usual cakes and patries as well.

Diet: Vegetarian, may contain milk/butter.

1. 264 Middle Road Singapore 188990 ; Tel: +65 6337 2417

2. Blk 42 Cambridge Road #01-02 Singapore 210042; Tel : +65 6298 1477

3. Blk 637 Veerasamy Road #01-111 Singapore 200637; Tel: +65 6294 8813

Opening Hrs: Mondays to Saturdays10:30 am – 7:30 pm ; Sundays and Public Holidays10:30 am – 3:30 pm

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Zi Zai Vegetarian Stall @ Old Airport Road

Was working till 9 one night so thanks to boss for the ride! Anyway, this stall has been around for ages and has moved from the front row to the middle. I must say that this stall has no relation to the Zi Zai Vegetarian cafe at tampines definitely. However, seems like many vegetarian stalls have the same name in SG. The old airport road hawker centre comprises of more than 100 stalls and I think this is the only vegetarian stall available. The good thing is it operates till 11PM.

Carrot Cake $2.50

Used to like carrot cake and duck rice from this stall before I found the uncle's stall at aljunid. Anyway, still not too bad. The hokkien mee is much better though. *It only tastes good with EGGs definitely.

After a day's work, its perfect with my fav. sugarcane juice.

Other Recommendations: Char Kway Tiao, Hokkien Noodles, Fish Sliced Noodles, Duck Rice.

Diet: Lacto-Ovo Vegetarian, contains eggs for some dishes.

Location: 51 Old Airport Road, Old Airport Hawker Centre, Stall No. 01-24, opens daily, till 11PM.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Wedding Review - Swissotel @ Merchant Court

As mentioned earlier, this is the month best for marriages, hence I was simply overwhelmed by invitations. This is my 2nd review, which I attended at night on the same day of my 1st review. It must have been a good day as it was the F1 race too.

The Dinner Menu
A nice menu that was set up specially for me at the table. Even the waitress had to tell me where to sit! haha! Anyway, quite a typical setting again. I was quite looking forward to this place as I've been told the vegetarian option was not too bad, but was quite taken in for a surprise.
Deluxe Vegetarian Cold Cuts Combination

If you are into gluten, you will adore this, as it comprises of the normal char siew, mee suan prawn, spring rolls and mock duck. I guess the only thing missing was Bee Hoon, which could have completed a $3 breakfast. Tasted ok of cos, as everything is bought from the supplier direct.. but I personally think shouldn't be served in a top-notched hotel.

Double Boiled Mushroom Soup with Winter Melon

This was the dish that saved my 1st dish. Soup was tastefully brewed and I practically ate up everything (Mushrooms, winter melons, White Fungus, dried logans, goqizi). It wasn't too saltish and has the fully brewed sweetness of the winter melon. Perfect for a hot day. Most importantly, no mock meat!

Crispy Vegetarian Goose

Just as I was very satisfied with the soup, I missed my bee hoon again. This is widely adored by my non-veg friends as they love the crispy-ness of it. However, this wasn't crispy at all, and very oily too. But well, being a veg and this specially arranged, I had to finish the food. I still remember my parents selling this for $2 this size, nice and crispy.

Stir-Fried mixed veg with lotus roots in Yam Basket

Nicely decorated. Something I liked that didn't have any mock meat too. The lotus is very tasty as it was thinly sliced and still very crispy. The Yam basket was a little too hard. And here comes the Bee hoon (deep fried) , used as the decoration below the basket. Aint too bad.

Deep Fried Taro Fish in Sweet & Sour Sauce

As I was overwhelmed by taro-made dishes during the afternoon dinner, this didn't came as a surprise for me. However, the sauce saved the day. Simply made from tomato, cucumber and mango, has a blended taste of sweet and sour. I ate up all the taro slices and all the small little pieces of fresh mangoes. Taro tasted normal, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside.

Braised seasonal vegetables with black mushrooms

Seems like the veg in season was spinach as I had the same dish that afternoon. Normal tasting, both ingredients are fresh.

Fried Rice

Not too bad, but I was too full by the time this came. Serving was too big and I could only take a few mouthfuls. Not much ingredients, comprises of only the lettuce, and mixed frozen veg (peas, corns, carrots). But done quite nicely and wasn't too saltish.

I did not take the picture of the dessert as it was just the normal canned sea coconut. Most dishes served are suitable for vegans as eggs and other diary content are usually omitted.

All in all, it was a joyous event, with good ambience. And of cos' we understand that food shouldn't really matter. However, I felt that my newly wed pals are paying way too high (for vegetarians portions, its by per head in addition to the table!) for this meal. Of cos it wasnt the ang bao that matters, but the hotel is getting a big cut in this that could have been negotiated. Hence if you are going to have a wedding here (a six star hotel), do negotiate for better dishes. You may ask the real veg to vett thru' the menu first too!

Location: 20 Merchant Road, Singapore 058281

Friday, October 2, 2009

8 Treasures Vegetarian Restaurant (八宝素食馆)

It was to celebrate the World Vegetarian Day (1st Oct) and I was very honoured to be invited by Zenna the young owner of this restaurant. Started from a family business (18 Lohan), 8 treasures has since evolved into this 2-storeys restaurant today. It was definitely a pleasant experience having to meet other vegetarian bloggers like Crystal our creative Chef, Veggiebun, Halimah and Ganga the creators of Vegvibe Magazine. Thanks to Zenna again for her kind invitation!
The 2 levels of the restaurant offers different ambience. It occupies the 2nd and 3rd Story of the shophouse. On the 2nd floor, the setting is more towards modern contemporary style while the 3rd floor has a more oriental style that displays special ceiling lights in "bird cages".
That's Zenna posing outside the restaurant. Behind her is the picture of the 1st Floor. From the signboard outside, you would need to take the stairs to reach the restaurant. I do not see any lifts, hence may not be easily accessible for some.

The really beautiful and Unique Bird Cages Ceiling Lamps that hang in the 3rd Floor Ceilings.

I was looking forward to this meal when I received the email a "special" menu has been prepared for us to try. True enough, it was not just special, we were given a 10 course meal that can be compared to a wedding dinner! Luckily Zenna explained that portions would be small, if not, I wonder if we would need to ta bao home.

~Menu of the day~

Nicely done and placed on our tables. Most of the dishes are available in the ala carte menu. These were just specially planned for us.

Mini Pot Vegetarian Sharks Fin

Tastefully done as the ingredients (comprises of mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, veg ham, crabsticks, tao kee) are finely sliced and topped with abalone and konnyaku "shark's fins" that can be brought from most suppliers. The soup was nicely brewed with mushroom base and wasn't too saltish, tasted perfect with vinegar. I would recommend this as one of the best sharks fin I've had. *Serving originally is quite big*

Honey Sauce Mock Pork/ Broccoli with Vegetarian Scallops

The Honey Sauce Mock Pork was braised in a special honey mixed sauce. This mock pork is made from pure soy protein and the "fats" portion is actually made of Konnyaku. Hence is definitely healthy and guilt-free since this is zero chorlestrol.
The dish beside was the Broccoli with vegetarian scallops where by the veg are first steamed, then served with scallops in sweet sauce. The scallops tasted normal but goes quite well with rice.

Asparagus with Monkey Head Mushrooms

I liked the way this dish was presented. Definitely gorgeous in this finely wrapped "vermicelli" which is like a "bird's nest". However, it was too hard and tasteless to bite. The monkeyhead mushrooms were chewy and cooked in sweet and sour sauce. I would love it better if it was in "gong bao" style. I thought it was quite wasteful for the "nest" as we can't chew it and it would be discarded.

Marmite Willow Mushrooms

I have never tried marmite before so this was definitely new to me. Fresh willow musrooms are fried with some batter and then cooked int marmite sauce. Marmite is made from yeast extract and it provides a very distinctive and powerful flavour, which is comparable to our chinese soya sauce. In most vegetarian dishes, we do not usually use marmite in our cooking. Hence I was amazed by how tasty it was. It is basically a love-hate relationship as some people do not really like the taste of marmite. I thought there was a little bitter after-taste. Cant really eat the mushroom as the stem was too thin. Nonetheless, this style of cooking is not available in the menu , but you may make a special request.

Vegetarian Fragrant Peking Duck

If you are into Yam, this is the dish for you. Yam is firstly steamed then wrapped with mushrooms and mock duck and then fried on the outside. You may eat this dish wrapped with fresh lettuce and the restaurant's special sauce which was quite spicy. Didn't taste like duck as the yam taste was overpowering.

Nonya Style Mock Fish

A tad too sourish and not very spicy. It is one of the chef's recommendations. I liked it with the rice. You may want to let the chef know if you do not like it too sour. The rice is something that is worth trying as it comprises of brown rice, white rice and barley, which is a healthier alternative to white rice.

Eight Treasures Beancurd

I've always loved olive and didn't know it goes well with tofu. The beancurd is pan fried, then served with cooked olive, fresh spinach and enoki mushrooms. Most importantly, it is not oily, as compared to the normal canned olive veg that we buy off shelves.

Crispy Vegetarian Chicken with Fresh Fruit Salad

I was expecting mock meat again when I saw the name, but was pleasantly surprised when it is made with potatos, seaweed and beancurd sheets, and tasted just like mock meat. The skin was crispy but not oily and potatoes is well cooked. I liked it.

Desserts - White Fungus with Papaya and Apple/ Strawberry Sago

We were given 2 choices that day. White Fungus (hot) and the Strawberry Sago (cold). The white fungus was really soft and wasn't too sweet. It is good for complexion. As for the Strawberry Sago, it comes with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and fresh strawberries. It is not suitable for vegans as it comprises of milk. They serve different dessert everyday.

I did not include individual prices as it was not stated in our special menu. Took a peek into the main menu and found that the price of each dish is quite reasonable, starting from $8.

The overall experience was definitely an enjoyable one as I finally managed to meet face to face with bloggers i've known online! Most of the dishes are deep fried and there are quite a lot of mock meat used. Nonetheless, there are more than 120 dishes to choose from the menu. So there are still quite a lot of choices for vegans as well. They also serve set meals, starting from $99. I guess its strategic location has also helped 8 treasures increase client patronage.

Diet: Lacto Veg, some dishes contain milk.

The floggers finally met~ Names requested to be disclosed. So make your own guess who's who!

Location: 282A South Bridge Road Singapore 058831, Right beside the tooth relic temple

Tel: 65 65347727

Opening Hrs: 11am - 10am daily