Type of Eatery: Vegetarian

Address: Raffles City, 252 North Bridge Road, #02-19, Singapore 179103
Tel: +65 6333 5338
Website: http://www.sufood.com.sg; Facebook

Opening Hours: 11:30am – 3.30pm (last order at 2pm); 5.30pm – 10pm (last order at 9pm)

Overall: 7.9/10

SufoodSufoodSufood, which is owned by Taiwan’s largest restaurant chain, has been making waves since opening in Singapore earlier in May. Sufood fills a sizeable space on the second floor of Raffles City with its bright, inviting and playful decor. Options are fairly extensive, and you may order ala carte if you wish, but most would opt for the “8-course” set meal – $25 will get you a starter, bread, vinegar, salad, soup, main, dessert and a drink (the last 5 of which can be chosen from the whole range of options in the menu). Sufood markets itself as serving Italian-inspired vegetarian cuisine, but if you’re a purist like me, you’ll have to manage your expectations – the menu is more accurately described as typical Western fare, with a focus on simple “Italian” mains, and scattered with a few Chinese options. The ingredients used were minimally processed and the vegan dishes I tried were mostly light and healthy. Dishes containing milk, eggs and garlic/onion are also clearly marked out. Service was prompt and helpful, although they seemed to have been in a rush to serve each course more quickly than they should have. And now for a review of all the dishes I tried in each course –

Starter

SufoodI would recommend you move your way along the SUFOOD Appetizer from right to left – the tiny columns of poached Japanese yuca root were refreshing and slightly creamy, but its character was rather overwhelmed by the sugary blueberry coulis. The adjacent stack of white water snowflake greens were light in flavour and had a pleasant crunch. A savoury cherry tomato jelly surrounding a dried (you guessed it) cherry tomato and spiked with a hint of vinegar rounded it off.

Bread / Vinegar

SufoodThe Rosemary Breadsticks were essentially crunchy batons that were dry, bland and devoid of texture within. You would get to choose from the mustard dip (not vegan) or the blueberry dip, which was similar to the blueberry coulis used in the appetizer – both were too sweet and tasted processed.

The rose-coloured Mulberry Vinegar was pleasant in flavour but also fairly sweet, and probably had added sugar to tame its natural acidity.

Salad

SufoodThe simple, balsamic-glazed Mushroom Salad might actually have been my favourite course of the meal – fresh, plump button mushrooms and shitake mushrooms were accompanied by lightly steamed, and still slightly crunchy, broccoli florets, sweet cherry tomatoes and Japanese cucumber.

Soup

SufoodThin slices of lotus root and burdock root, as well as soft cashews and gingko nuts, formed part of the savoury stew in the Root Soup. This would still be my pick despite it having been a tad too salty.

SufoodNext in line was the Mushroom & Pea Pottage. Button, shitake and king oyster mushrooms lent a strong earthy flavour to the creamy, and slightly chunky, base of blended sweet peas.

SufoodThe Cream of Pumpkin Soup used soymilk to great effect in achieving a creamy texture without being dense, but it missed the natural sweetness of pumpkin and turned out bland.

Main

SufoodAnd finally, just as one begins to feel stuffed, the main course arrives. To get to the crux of the Wild Mushroom Charcoal Tagliatelle, which came recommended – the charcoal tagliatelle, while fragrant, were nothing close to al dente. They were soft and tended to clump together, but they were pleasant enough if you were to regard them as regular noodles. I enjoyed the tender yet substantial rings of king oyster mushrooms, which were sauteed in light olive oil and vinegar, as well as very generous doses of garlic, onion and pepper. Fresh green leaves and cherry tomatoes served as a contrast to the more robust ingredients. All in all, the dish was unexceptional in terms of taste and texture (the amount of pepper used was overpowering), but it did use interesting ingredients and served as an adequate main dish. I also liked the serving size, which was far more manageable than the cheese-laden vegetarian mains my counterparts were having.

Dessert / Drinks

SufoodThe meal was concluded with a light, mildly sweet Osmanthus Flower Jelly speckled with chrysanthemum flowers, and a Chamomile Tea with a hint of yuzu flavour and tiny, sweet chunks of yuzu.

Conclusion: More than the quality of its food in terms of taste and texture (which was average), Sufood banks on the variety, presentation and wholesomeness of their dishes. Coupled with fun vibes and great service, Sufood was on the whole an enjoyable experience, particularly for the veg-inclined.

Address: 9 Raffles Boulevard, #01-11/12/13, Millenia Walk, Singapore 039596
Tel: +65 6338 8583
Website: http://kezhan.sg

Opening Hours: Mon – Fri 12pm – 12am (last order 11pm), Sat – Sun 3pm – 10.30pm (last order 10pm), closed on public holidays

Overall: 3.5/10

Ke ZhanRecently opened in January 2014, Ke Zhan serves up Sichuan- and Guangdong-influenced Chinese dishes in a faux traditional Chinese inn (“客棧”) setting. The Cantopop and Korean pop KTV playing on big-screen TVs at the entrance and in the restaurant was a slightly baffling but amusing contrast. Aside from the typical dishes found in a Chinese restaurant, a selection of grilled skewers (more than 10 of which are vegan) is available from 6pm till late. Dishes came in decent portion sizes and were well presented. Booze options included wine, whiskey, shochu, sake and Chinese wine. Service was generally acceptable though the Chinese female servers tended to be slightly grumpy.

Skewers

Ke ZhanThe grilled French beans, which came recommended, were sweet and crunchy, while the grilled WaWa vegetable (or Napa cabbage) had thick, subtly flavoured leaves. Both were drizzled with cumin salt and white sesame seeds for extra flavour. ($4 for the French beans, $3.50 for the WaWa vegetable)

Sweet Spicy Fragrant Eggplant

Ke ZhanTender and fleshy slices of eggplant, with their glistening deep purple skins intact, were fried in sweet and slightly tangy chilli sauce. A small amount of French beans lent a crunchy texture and refreshing sweetness. This is best eaten while hot as the sauce became sticky and mildly cloying over time. ($15.80)

Mapo Tofu

Ke ZhanThe Mapo Tofu was a let-down – it was too salty and not spicy in the least. This usually comes with beef so veg*ns would have to advise the waitresses accordingly. ($14.80)

Mushroom in Thicken Gravy

Ke ZhanEnoki mushrooms, sliced shitake and medallions of king oyster mushrooms were fried and served in a lightly flavoured vegetable broth. ($14.80)

Stir Fry Bitter Gourd

Ke ZhanA simple garlic stir-fry pairing soft, flat slices of bitter gourd with chewy black fungus mushrooms. The bitter gourd was cooked well and was only mildly bitter, but it would have been better if there were other ingredients to complement its flavour. ($12.80)

Conclusion: I love simple Chinese cuisine when it’s done well, but the vegan options here were too pricey for the overall mediocre experience.

Type of Institution: Mostly-vegan (with the exception of honey in the desserts), emphasis on raw food

Address: 24 Keong Saik Road, Singapore 089131
Tel: +65 6224 8921
Website: Facebook

Opening Hours: Mon – Sat 11.30 am – 11 pm

Overall: 7.4/10

Afterglow

AfterglowAfterglow, the mostly-raw and mostly-vegan deli/retailer/bar that opened at Keong Saik in March, has been garnering a lot of love from the media for its unapologetically hipster vibe, industrial chic décor and farm-to-table raw food. Unlike most veg eateries in Singapore, there’s reason to linger after your meal in the evening since it also offers a small selection of wines and craft beer. I’ll certainly be back as I’ve only managed to scrape the surface of the decently sized menu that incorporates many raw interpretations of western and Asian dishes (not to mention plans to open a cocktail bar have been set in motion), but here’s a preliminary impression of the food –

Clear Tom Yum Soup

AfterglowThe tom yum soup was very light in flavor and mildly spicy, and slightly warmed so that the broccoli and shitake were almost cooked. I would imagine that the temperature of the soup did not go beyond 40 or so degrees Celsius so it would probably qualify as raw. I prefer my tom yum to be traditionally Thai, i.e. supremely hot and sour, but this might work for you if you prefer a toned down Western version. ($14)

Deconstructed Sushi Bowl with Avocado and Miso Dressing

AfterglowThe sushi-in-a-bowl was a hearty portion of chewy black rice with shredded carrot, edamame, and slices of shitake and avocado. This was topped with sesame seeds, nori and refreshing, lightly pickled cucumber rounds. While the sushi bowl had a pleasant concept, the potential of the dish was not maximized as the miso dressing was not flavourful and the avocado should have been left to ripen for a bit longer. ($16)

Raw Zucchini ‘Linguine’ with Corri. Tomato Sauce & Homemade Pesto

AfterglowThin yellow zucchini spirals with an ideal level of ripeness were the star of this classic raw main dish. The tomato sauce and pesto, however, could do with a richer flavor. ($16)

Conclusion: Loving the fact that Afterglow is turning raw food and vegan food into trendier options in Singapore and that it pays attention to where their food is sourced from. The menu is certainly promising but more work needs to be done to fine-tune the dishes.

Type of Institution: Vegetarian (a couple of dishes use cheese and butter)

Address: 57 Lor 27 Geylang, Singapore 388184
Tel: +65 6741 1580
Website: http://www.yesnatural.biz/restaurant-c-118.html

Opening Hours: Daily 11 am – 2.30 pm, 5 pm – 9 pm

Overall: 8.4/10

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant) seems to have a strange, unnecessarily long name for a restaurant but I suppose that’s their rather awkward way of differentiating between the different parts of their business – aside from running a restaurant, Yes Natural also has a groceries shop and a bakery next door. The groceries shop sells what you would typically expect – lots of healthy and organic goodies – and I was, to say the least, extremely excited to find that they have the Chocolate flavour of Silk organic soy milk for just $5.00 (the regular flavour normally retails for nearly $6.00 at Cold Storage). Also got some agave nectar (honey is evil – click here to find out more). I was hoping to pick up some stuff from the bakery as well but at the time of visit, they used butter in every product except their olive oil bread.

Anyway, back to the restaurant. Like most Chinese restaurants in Singapore, it is very simply furnished. The restaurant aims to use “ingredients [that] are as far as possible to be organic, natural ingredients, less oil, salt and sugar, high fibers and no added MSG”. The menu is quite extensive, and includes a range of ala carte Chinese cuisine, simple soups, a series of organic brown rice dishes, a couple of Western dishes made with vegetarian cheese, a series of “healthy noodle” dishes (like brown rice bee hoon), other side dishes, dessert (including soy yoghurt), and health-promoting drinks like oat milkshakes. I love restaurants that use healthy ingredients and cooking methods! In Yes Natural’s case, I even learnt something new as certain items on the menu (“roselle”  and “coralline nest”) necessitated a quick Google search on my phone.

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)One thing I love about Yes Natural is their wonderfully hearty portion sizes – this was one of the few times I’ve worried about being able to finish the food at a restaurant (and I really can eat an awful lot). You definitely wouldn’t have to order the side dishes here to feel full.

FYI there was a 7% GST charge but no service charge.

Stone Pot Rice

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)The stone pot rice comprised of extremelywell-cooked brown rice (not an easy feat), fresh shitake mushrooms and leafy greens beautifully complemented by slices of sweet mango, served in a fragrant and sizzling hot stone pot. The flavours of all the different ingredients melded together perfectly; I particularly loved the addition of the mango. Mix all the ingredients together immediately once your dish is served so that the rice doesn’t burn! Recommended. ($6.50)

Fresh Veggie Noodles in Almond Sauce

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)Beneath the heaping tower of fresh green leaf sprouts and shredded carrot and lettuce, the generous portion of thick noodles covered with creamy and slightly sweet almond sauce were so satisfying, they could easily be eaten on their own. Recommended. ($6.50)

Chilli Paste Noodle

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)The chilli paste noodle was a gigantic portion of well-cooked noodles in a chunky chilli paste broth, made of mushrooms, mock fish cake/mock lobster ball, and mock meat. The chunkiness of all the ingredients was the highlight of the dish and made it very enjoyable to eat. Despite the name of the dish, the broth wasn’t very spicy. Thechilli paste broth wasn’t too rich or overwhelming, so one could easily finish the whole bowl of noodles, which was huge. ($5.50)

Pocket Salad

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)Two pockets of thin, chewy pita bread were stuffed with fresh green leaf sprouts, alfafa sprouts, tomato and vegetarian ham. The original version came with mayonnaise sauce (as seen on the right in the first picture), but the vegan substitute came with a sweet and refreshing tomato sauce. Recommended. ($6.00)

Vegan Cod Fish

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)The vegan cod fish was a new item on the menu and was both delicious and creative. It came with two slices of “cod fish” that had one of the best textures of mock fish I have ever tried. These were topped with herbs and tofu and mushrooms, and immersed in a flavourful broth with hints of vinegar and tomato. ($10.00 for small portion with two slices of “fish”)

Hand-made Thai Style Bean Curd

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)Blocks of tofu mashed with shredded carrot were deep fried and served with a spicy and sweet red chilli sauce. The tofu was pretty bland when eaten on its own without the sauce. As with most of their dishes, this came topped with fresh vegetables – in this case, shredded carrot, cucumber and lettuce. ($25)

Home-made Dumplings (Boiled)

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)Simple, regular dumplings stuffed with mushrooms and spring onions, served with vinegar. ($10.80)

Seaweed Tofu Soup

YES Natural F&B Pte Ltd (Restaurant)The seaweed tofu soup, as expected, was a lightly flavoured soup though not bland. Although it looked quite boring when it was first served (as the picture above shows), the soup actually contained more than meets the eye – there was seaweed, shredded carrot, cubes of tofu and mock lobster/prawn balls, mushroom, and mock meat. While the soup was nice, it wasn’t anything special. ($6.00)

Conclusion: YES Natural serves an extensive variety of wonderfully healthy and delicious food with great portion sizes and at a reasonable price. Definitely recommended!

Posters at City Hall MRT station pair a pet and a farmed animal, and ask commuters, “Why Love One But Eat the Other?”

Hello everyone! If you happen to be boarding and alighting from trains at City Hall MRT station you’ll notice something different over the next 2 weeks – instead of the dreary commercial advertising we are used to seeing (and ignoring) all the time, you’ll find thought provoking posters on all 96 of the interchange station’s train doors over the next 2 weeks. From 27 March to 9 April, 2014, the posters will encourage riders to question their meat eating habit.

The basic structure of each of the three different posters consists of a large photo pairing two animals: one whom we care for as a pet and the other whom we eat as food. The three pairs are: puppy and calf, kitten and chick, and puppy and piglet. Above the photos is the question: Why Love One But Eat The Other?

The campaign is being run by Vegetarian Society (Singapore), a local charity founded in 1999 and devoted to reducing meat consumption. VSS President Clarence Tan explained, “This campaign originally ran on the subways in Toronto, Canada. We saw the impact that the posters had there, and we are confident that also here in Singapore, the posters’ message will encourage people to examine their own eating habits”.

VSS Treasurer, Heng Guan Hou, described the fund raising necessary to pay the almost $50,000 for the posters’ two-week run. “We began raising funds in late 2013, and last week we finally met our target, thanks to donations from hundreds of people”.

Ashley Chow, the VSS Education Officer, explained the thinking behind the posters, “People in Singapore do care about animals. We see this, for example, in the love people lavish on their pets and in the government’s tougher measures to combat abuse of animals”.

One of the more interesting occurrences in the lead up to the campaign launch was when SMRT, at the behest of LTA, requested the removal of photos showing the horrors that farmed animals endure on factory farms. In the end, we reached a compromise; the potentially discomforting photos were covered, with an explanation, “Censored: These photos were deemed too graphic and may upset the public. For the full posters, please visit http://www.loveustoo.sg”.VSS Communications Officer, Ganga Sudhan, stated, “We sincerely appreciate the willingness of LTA and SMRT to reach a constructive compromise on this matter”.

Support for the poster campaign has come from many individuals and organisations. Dr Ho Soon Lye, MD, addressed the issue of whether meat eating is necessary for health, “Vegetarians can easily stay healthy on a daily vegetarian diet of carbohydrate, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals, which can be easily obtained from our local markets or from neighbourhood vegetarian food-stalls or restaurants. In general, throughout their lives, committed vegetarians tend to have less health events and live longer life-spans with quieter, happier and more contented lives”.

Louis Ng, Chief Executive of ACRES, a local organisation well known for its defence of wild animals, stated, “ACRES wholeheartedly supports this important campaign which will highlight the plight of farm animals. If animals don’t have a say in their treatment, then it is up to all caring human beings to give them a voice, speak up on their behalf and end the cruelty. We hope that more people will support this campaign and join us in fostering compassion and respect for all animals.”

Another animal welfare leader, Veron Lau, President of Cat Welfare Society, added, “Loving our pets yet eating animals does often pose a dilemma for many animal lovers. We ask ourselves if we cared to save and prevent one from suffering, should we not do the same for the other. Whether we are animal lovers or not, we should make it a priority to live mindfully and that includes thinking about where our food or pets come from because we are part of a consuming chain and have the collective power to affect ethical change through our choices.”

Last, but not least, Ann Lek, Education Officer at the SPCA, stated “’Why love one but eat the other?’ It’s thought-provoking, and gets us thinking about the love we have for our companion animals. Many of us are passionate about helping our canine and feline friends. How can we extend that care and compassion to farm animals? Go vegetarian or eat less meat? Be conscious of how that animal got onto your plate. The choice is in your hands.”

For more information on the campaign, please visit LoveUsToo.sg.

The Vegetarian Society (Singapore) is a non-profit, non-religious organisation formed in 1999. The VSS team strives to build a more humane and harmonious world for everyone on the planet as well as for our fellow creatures. For more information on VSS, please click here.

Type of Institution: Vegetarian

Address: Sunshine Plaza, 91 Bencoolen Street, #01-50, Singapore 189652
Tel: +65 6337 7050
Website: N.A.

Opening Hours: Sun – Mon 11.30 am – 3 pm (last order at 2.30 pm, restaurant closes sharp at 3 pm), 5.30 pm – 10 pm (last order at 9.30 pm, restaurant closes sharp at 10 pm)

Overall: 8.3/10

Teng is a Japanese vegetarian restaurant opened last year in Sunshine Plaza that is similar in concept to Herbivore just across the road – think vegetarian / vegan replicas of mostly common Japanese dishes (along with some Singaporean Chinese dishes) and simple, pleasant deco. No eggs, onion or garlic are used but dairy is used – in particular, vegans should watch out for mayo in the sushi. Service was efficient and helpful.

Japanese Yam

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningSlices of crunchy, subtly sweet, raw Japanese yam, served with a light shoyu-based sauce and topped with seaweed, made for a light and refreshing starter. ($5)

King Mushroom

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThe firm, chewy and meaty king oyster mushroom strips were perfectly complemented by sweet and savoury teriyaki sauce. Recommended. ($10)

Five Kind Sashimi

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningFrom top left, and moving clockwise, the Five Kind Sashimi plate is an assortment of mock tuna, salmon, shrimp, squid and abalone. The mock tuna, salmon and squid, made from mung bean powder, mostly differed in terms of their food colouring, and they were barely distinguishable in terms of taste and consistency. Like the mock shrimp, they resembled softer versions of fish cake. The mock abalone was a bit chewier and was a tad too salty. All in all, the sashimi wasn’t particularly impressive and certainly not worth the price. One could try it for the novelty but don’t expect much. ($32)

Avocado Maki

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningSushi roll with mock tuna, cucumber and mock prawn, topped with avocado. This tasted as unexceptional as it looked. It was also very disappointing that the restaurant did not bother to use sushi rice for any of its dishes. Vegans should take note that this usually comes with mayo. ($12)

Unagi Maki

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThis fared much better than the avocado maki – avocado and cucumber rice rolls were topped with soft and slightly crispy mock unagi, and topped with sweet unagi sauce. ($12)

Mix Vege Tempura

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningTempura made with fairly fresh sweet potato, eggplant, enoki and shitake mushrooms, and – best of all – crunchy lotus root. The tempura ought to have been crispier, but it was commendable effort nonetheless. ($9)

Paper Claypot

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningThe paper claypot came with mostly soy-based products (like mock squid balls, dumpling, and mock prawn) with some lettuce, cabbage, carrot and enoki mushrooms in a vegetable broth.  ($13)

Mix Vegetables with Tofu (Hot Plate)

Teng Bespoke Vegetarian DiningFirm tofu with broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, tri-colour strips of capsicum, tomatoes and shimeji and black fungus mushroom, served in a light yet flavourful sauce. ($10)

Conclusion: I found Teng Bespoke to be superior to Herbivore. Go for the dishes made with more natural, whole foods, which were far more interesting and palatable than any of the processed faux sashimi / seafood.  

Type of Institution: Vegetarian / mostly vegan

Address: The Star Vista, #B1-43, 1 Vista Green Exchange, Singapore 138617
Tel: +65 9816 4861
Website: http://www.greenzilla.com.sg; Facebook

Opening Hours: Sun – Mon 10 am – 10 pm

Greenzilla

GreenzillaOverall: 6.5/10

Greenzilla follows on the trails of VeganBurg in joining the rising trend of veg-friendly and more health conscious fast food options. The branch at Star Vista is a small outfit with only a few seats, but I was told there is communal seating in the food court. While Greenzilla promotes itself as a vegetarian joint, from what I gathered the options were mostly vegan. Processed ingredients appeared to have been minimised as well. I avoided the salad bar, with its assortment of limp and forlorn vegetables, and went for the appetizers and burgers instead.

Broccoli Soup (Soup of the Day)

GreenzillaThe Broccoli Soup doesn’t look like much, but it was rich with the taste of fresh broccoli and was probably the best dish I tried. ($2.50)

Pumpkin Pops

GreenzillaThese round pumpkin bites, while covered with a palatable and slightly crispy coating on the outside, were missing the distinctive sweetness of fresh pumpkin on the inside. The original Pumpkin Pops come with honey soy mayonnaise, so vegans would have to get other sauces –the chilli sauce was decent, but what really stood out was the tangy tartar sauce that packed a surprisingly delightful punch. ($2.90)

Royal Mushroom Burger

GreenzillaThe Royal Mushroom Burger consisted of a mushy, mildly flavoured mushroom patty and some lifeless celery, tomato slices and sprouts, sandwiched between a green pea bun that did not seem to be anything different from a regular white burger bun aside from its name. This was accompanied by a vinegar coleslaw. ($5.90)

Tofu Fusion Burger

GreenzillaThe Tofu Fusion Burger fared better. The tender, marinated tofu patty was topped with BBQ sauce while the charcoal bun had a pleasantly light taste and was topped with seeds. ($5.90)

Conclusion: Greenzilla has a good concept, it just really needs to work on quality control with its ingredients to distinguish itself.

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