Type of Institution: Vegan
Address: Coronation Shopping Plaza, 587 Bukit Timah Road, #03-01/02
Tel: +65 6467 1331
(This is an updated review of Miao Yi Vegetarian Restaurant. I previously wrote a review on 5 November 2011.)
I’ve read lots of good reviews about Miao Yi so I’ve been looking forward to having a meal here, especially since it’s so close to my school – If you do a Google search you’ll find quite a few reviewers saying it’s the “best vegetarian restaurant in Singapore” or it’s their “favourite” etc. According to one review I read, if you turn up for dinner after 7pm without a reservation you would probably not be able to get a table. Luckily for me, it has been quite empty the both times I’ve been there for lunch. I’m surprised I didn’t see more students here – what with Chinese High, Nanyang Girls, Hwa Chong, and NUS Law Faculty around – because the portions are really generous and the food is quite cheap. I suppose that’s why it’s gotten such rave reviews. Service is also fast and efficient. The menu is extensive and, like most Chinese restaurants, features a lot of mock meat. I’ve not tried its highly acclaimed $35 mock suckling pig, but according to Hungry Ang Mo, it’s not really worth the price (his review is here).
My general conclusion (below) is that the food is not very special, but I’ve been told the food is pretty spectacular if I choose the right items, so hopefully I’ll have better luck next time. But I’ve made the curious observation that the same flavouring seems to have been used in many of the dishes.
I know most people would not spend their money on sauté broccoli – “what? You want me to pay for stir-fried broccoli?” – and I didn’t want to order this either, but my friend insisted. I’m glad he did, because this was easily the best dish we had here. The broccoli was lightly flavoured and sautéed just so that it achieved the perfect level of crunchiness at the sweet spot between a raw and a cooked floret of broccoli.
The spinach was lightly flavoured and its texture was perfect for me, though my friend commented that it was just a tad too soft – I guess it’s a matter of personal preference, but my general opinion is that Miao Yi has perfected their sauté dishes.
Roast beancurd with black fungus
Again, the vegetables were done just right – not too raw/hard and not too cooked/soft, giving you a light, satisfying crunch with every bite. But otherwise, the beancurd and black fungus were mediocre.
Royal spicy frog legs
One of Miao Yi’s specialties (according to the menu). The “frog legs” were basically pan-fried mushrooms that had quite a meaty texture (but nothing like frog legs, not surprisingly). My friend and I hated the sauce, which was not spicy at all and was instead sweet and slightly cloying. I think the only thing I liked about it was the fresh, juicy capsicum.
Another one of Miao Yi’s purported specialties. I thought it was rather toxic. Each “prawn” had an amazingly artificial texture and I felt like I was biting into either a soft cushion or a hard marshmallow (oxymoron? Maybe, but not when it comes to these prawns…). These dubious prawns were covered with chilli and soy bean bits, which looked and tasted like crappy store-bought dried bacon bits.
Creamy sweet corn soup
As mentioned above, Miao Yi is very generous with their portions, especially with their soups. I had to confirm that we ordered the small portion for the soup because it was such a huge bowl (for about $6, I think). The creamy sweet corn soup was basically very simple, rather boring – don’t expect any interesting flavours, it’s just gonna be… sweet corn soup. No cream was used since this place is vegan, so no worries about it being a very heavy or non-vegan soup.
Venison with Broccoli
Again, the broccoli was perfectly sautéed and I loved its semi-cooked, crunchy texture. The “venison” turned out to be slightly sweet, crispy cornflakes. It was an interesting contrast of textures that bordered on strange.
Spicy Beancurd with Minced Meat
The silky tofu was beautiful but on a whole the dish was ordinary. The sauce was not very spicy.
Sweet and Sour Spare Ribs
I did not enjoy this dish. The sauce was more sweet than sour, and did not contain any complex flavours. The “spare ribs” were way too soft and seemed to be made from too much gluten, though I’m not sure what they were actually made from.
Conclusion: I would definitely come here again since it’s so near my school, the food ranges from so-so to satisfactory, the menu is extensive, and the cheap prices (many are less than $10) and generous portions make it very value-for-money. But I wouldn’t make a special trip to Coro just for Miao Yi.