O’Bean Organic Soya Store (Raffles Place)

Type of Institution: Vegetarian

Address: Far East Square, 1 Amoy Street, #01-01, Singapore 049944
Tel: +65 9118 6375
Website: ‎https://www.facebook.com/ObeanRafflesPlace, http://www.euuonline.com/beaninacup_home.htm

Overall: 6.1/10

O'bean Organic Soya StoreO’bean, Singapore’s first organic soya store selling a variety of soy-based drinks, Singaporean/Chinese vegetarian meals and desserts, recently opened another outlet in a great location in the CBD – Far East Square. I finally got the chance to pop over during lunch a while back after having to miss their opening launch. It was great that the food didn’t take long to arrive and portion sizes were satisfying. I also liked the idea of incorporating soya powder into food – it worked pretty well for the soup/porridge broths. However, what I tried was for the most part unexceptional and service was terrible at one point (as I’ll go on to explain).

Soya Ramen with Dumplings

O'bean Organic Soya StoreThe large portion of ramen came with an option of white “fish head” soup or black herbal bak kut teh soup – I opted for the latter, which turned out to be rather flavourful despite not being herbal nor approximating bak kut teh. The addition of a small amount of soya powder to the broth gave it a hint of the soy taste and made the broth a bit more substantial. The ramen noodles were well-cooked and topped with a generous serving of bean sprouts and fresh greens, but the dumplings were a tragic affair despite ostensibly being the star of the show – they were stuffed with flavourless mock meat and encased in a rather thick skin. ($7.80)

Signature Soya Porridge

This dish was unfortunately preceded by the dreadful service I alluded to earlier. Before I ordered the porridge, I checked to make sure there was no egg inside and this was confirmed. When it arrived, however, the appalling century egg staring back at me from inside the bowl compelled me to ask for a new serving. The waiter looked perplexed by my request and went to get help. The lady who had come over to assist insisted she wasn’t going to change it and she said she was going to just remove the egg from that bowl, and add some other ingredients. After making it clear that this was not an option – and getting the same ridiculously offensive response from her – I caved since the conversation wasn’t going anywhere and I would rather have my lunch than be involved in an argument.

A few minutes later the porridge came back to the table after being patched up. Aside from looking rather pathetic, and clearly showing no attempt to make it fit for serving, it still contained century egg beneath the surface. Honestly?

O'bean Organic Soya StoreI returned the dish and thankfully this time around, what appeared to be the manager was appropriately apologetic and promptly replaced it.

O'bean Organic Soya StoreThe big serving of porridge was smooth and creamy with the addition of soy milk, and it was topped with youtiao, mushrooms, braised peanuts, ginger shreds, gluten intestine, and surprisingly fresh and strongly flavoured seaweed. I could imagine it being an adequately comforting breakfast on a rainy day. ($6.00 for large portion)

Braised Beancurd

O'bean Organic Soya StoreThese semi-soft pieces of braised beancurd weren’t extraordinary but they were pleasant enough. Needless to say it would have been better if they were braised in a more exciting sauce. ($1.20)

Glutinous Rice Balls with Red Beans

O'bean Organic Soya Store

O'bean Organic Soya StoreI’m a huge fan of tang yuan – how can you ever go wrong with  cute, round, warm and sticky dumpling balls? O’bean’s glutinous rice balls oozed a peanut sesame paste when I bit into them (though the peanut generally overwhelmed the taste of sesame), and they were served in a soy milk broth that had the right level of sweetness (approx. 25% sugar, if I had to put a number on it) and a small serving of sweet red beans. I was told dessert would take longer because they have to cook it on the spot, but this one arrived pretty fast. ($3.50)

Soy Milk

O'bean Organic Soya StoreThe soy milk tasted fresh and natural, and definitely gave other soy milk stores a run for their money. Skip the grass jelly though, it didn’t add anything. ($1.30 for regular, $2.20 for large, and +$0.50 for addition of grass jelly)

Conclusion: Generally the food was of an average quality, but it would be a decent choice if you’re out to grab a quick lunch in the CBD.

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5 comments
  1. Yingchen said:

    Hey, just wanna say that I really like how you try your best not to let your poor service experience affect your judgment of the quality of the food 🙂

    It doesn’t always make sense (and can be quite infuriating) that the importance of being vegan, or at least the respectability of vegans taking that additional step to minimise their cruelty footprint, is lost on many vegetarians.

    I guess it’s because veganism, along with the idea that there are actually plenty of non-animal sources of protein, iron and calcium (besides soy) that exist, is still very new to Chinese vegetarian culture. Traditionally, eggs have always had an elevated role as a replacement of meat, making a vegan diet seem comparatively lacking.

    In that sense, it can be just as difficult for some vegetarians to accept veganism as it is for non-vegetarians to accept vegetarianism, even though as people who have already committed themselves to acknowledging and acting on the suffering of animals, this really shouldn’t be the case.

    • Thanks Yingchen!

      From my perspective it’s not really about understanding veganism. I don’t usually tell service staff that I’m vegan because sometimes it’s not well received. Eg. I didn’t tell the lady from O’bean either. For me it’s just a question of good service. If I had asked for another ingredient rather than egg to be removed and the same thing happened, that would have been terrible as well!

      As for vegetarians not understanding the vegan position (when they know you’re vegan), I agree completely with what you said. The cognitive dissonance is bizarre.

  2. William Tan said:

    Hi Ashley, I am “what appeared to be the manager”. Thank you for your review. I think you have been very fair and objective. You have taught us a good lesson to be more conscious about veganism and I won’t find excuses for my team. We are really sorry.

    I am glad you find our offering to be a decent choice for lunch. We hope to serve you again and make it a better experience.

    • Hey William, thanks for putting a name to the face and for accepting my criticisms as being constructive. 🙂 Cheers

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